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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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2. From Croesus to Crassus to Cornfeld

The men in this gallery are all living. They are contemporaries of ours. They made their colossal fortunes in our own economic era or in recently phased-out eras that were not grossly different from our own. Each took the economic environment as it existed in his day and instead of letting it walk on him as most of us do, he grabbed it by the neck and beat it into submission.

The supremely wealthy have always done that and always will. No matter what the environment was like, some men have figured out how to beat it. There is, it turns out, always a way.

This optimistic statement seems worth enlarging. In every era, including our own, people have tended to believe that the days of great wealth-gathering ...

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