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The Very, Very Rich and How They Got That Way: The spectacular success stories of 15 men who made it to the very, very top by Max Gunther

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17. Real Estate: Building Small

Conrad Hilton made his name known by decorating the world with huge buildings, great dazzling structures whose gloss and glitter made them stark monuments to money. Merely strolling into a Hilton hotel for a humble glass of beer somehow makes one feel richer, as though the effluvium of wealth exuding from the walls is somehow absorbed into one’s wallet by osmosis. Now we’ll look at a family group that achieved similar fame and similar wealth by an entirely different route.

The Levitts – a father and two sons – erected buildings that were precisely the opposite of Hilton’s. The Levitts specialized in small, single-family houses that were deliberately designed to be as inexpensive as possible. They invented ways ...

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