The hardest part of becoming a billionaire isn’t keeping tabs on your accounts, finding friends and employees you can trust, or juggling the demands on your deep pockets.
It’s getting started.
At least, that was the hardest part for media magnate and billionaire Ted Turner.
In “Billionaires: Reflections On The Upper Crust,” Darrell M. West recalls Turner’s 1995 address to Brown University, where West was teaching political science.
West describes a key point in Turner’s presentation:
His most difficult challenge, he said, had been making the first million dollars; after that, everything was easy. Money begets money, he bluntly observed, thereby making it possible to gain even greater wealth through social and political connections.
West uses this comment as a jumping off point for a discussion of how the wealthiest citizens in the US wield undue influence on its government. “This, of course, is the crux of the controversy about the role of billionaires in society,” he writes.
Not every recollection from Turner’s visit to Brown was so heavy, however: He also talked about raising Buffalo in Montana, and joked that his favourite part of ranch life was the ability to “take a whiz” off his front porch.