Profit In Studying The Superstars of Prosperity
Over thirty years ago, I started suggesting that a very useful practice in prosperity consciousness was to start studying the words and thoughts and feelings of millionaires and multimillionaires. Fifty years before that, these prosperity superstars were mostly unknown, or, at the very least inaccessible to the average person. But in the age of television, more and more millionaires were becoming very visible, mostly as guests on talk shows. For the first time, we could actually tap into the wisdom of wealth. Now, of course, with the Internet, this is even more true. You can even Google the various significant quotes of such people as Bill Gates and John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie.
I used to give homework assignments at my Moneylove Seminars to get an issue of Forbes magazine devoted to the profiles of the richest people in the world, and just study what they did and had to say. What better way to find out what works in increasing one’s financial success than to find out what worked for those who have done it already?
And one of the very wealthy people I suggested was worth studying was John W. Kluge. He also inspired my whole concept of Playing Your Luck, which can be found on page 24 of my Moneylove Manifesto, along with one of my favorite quotes by him:
If you want your kid to succeed in business, maybe you shouldn’t send him or her to business school. Teach him to play cards, instead. Card playing teaches you that luck is important, but how you play your luck is even more important.
Kluge died last week at the age of 95, after making a major impact on the communications industry through his company, Metromedia, as well as impacting several institutions with huge philanthropic grants, including Columbia University, the University of Virginia, and the Library of Congress. When he was alternating with Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, as The Richest Man In The World, with a fortune estimated in the 1980s as $6.5 billion, he often expounded on his theories about luck and the importance of playing it well, good or bad.
I actually worked for the man briefly in 1971, when I was a newsman at his New York radio station, WNEW. Though I never met him and he surely never heard of me. I didn’t do nearly as well as another former employee of his, his third and much younger wife, Patricia. When they had a very amiable divorce, still remaining close friends, she got what was the largest financial settlement in history. Instead of having to carve up his major communications empire, John gave Patricia the interest on a billion dollars as her annual income. Of course, interest rates were a lot higher then, so I’m not sure if they might have adjusted that arrangement in the interim.
I also had a very slight and indirect connection with Patricia, a sort of six degrees association. One of her closest friends in the horse country near Charlottesville, Virginia, where Patricia now runs Kluge Estates Winery and just lowered the sale price on her home to $52 million, is Rita Mae Brown, the gifted author, who was a friend and very big fan of Moneylove. In fact, as a result of reading my book, Rita Mae went out and bought a Rolls Royce with her first big TV movie script paycheck. Rita Mae, who first became famous as the author of that iconic coming-of-age-as-a-Lesbian novel, Rubyfruit Jungle, first bought her farm near Charlottesville to share with her then live-in lover, Martina Navratilova of tennis fame. Isn’t this an interesting world we live in?
The Wisdom of John Kluge
I think John W. Kluge had a lot of valuable insight into being successful, even though he had his ups and downs in business. Although I can’t say I feel too terribly sad about the fact that he slipped from number 1 or 2 in the world, to number 109 in the list of billionaires put out by Forbes in 2008. Another of my favorite Kluge quotes:
My whole thrust has always been going into a business that I would like.