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Rise Early, Work Hard, Strike Oil

These are the 6 words uttered by J. Paul Getty in reply to a question about his formula for success. Getty, who made his huge fortune from the oil industry, was a complex character. One of his most endearing traits was his commitment to advancing the understanding and preservation of the visual arts around the world, through the legacy of his Getty Foundation. Somewhat less endearing was his reputation as a miser. He famously had a payphone installed in his Surrey mansion insisting it be used by all visitors, should they wish to make a call. Perhaps more notorious was the approach he used to settle a ransom demand following the kidnap of his grandson by an Italian gang in 1973. After a period of negotiation, he finally agreed to pay the US$3m on the basis the first US$2.2m was tax deductible and the remaining US$800,000 was paid via a loan to his son at 4% interest!

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