Excesses of the Richest People Introduction

An introduction to a number of the world's most wealthy people and how they spent their riches.


What would you do if you had a million dollars? (After taxes.) This is a question most people have asked themselves at one time or another. But what would you do if you had $20 million, $100 million, half a billion dollars? To dispose of such large sums of money takes a kind of talent--a genius for spending. Neither mere lavishness nor eccentricity can qualify a man or a woman for the ranks of the truly excessive. Before we tell the stories of those who have achieved this distinction, we offer two pieces of advice to the aspiring reader. The first comes from John Jacob Astor I, who said, "A man who has a million dollars is as well off as if he were rich." And Dallas oilman Clint Murchison, Sr., who left his two sons a few hundred million, gave them this advice: "Money is a lot like manure. Pile it all in one place and it stinks like hell. Spread it around, and it does a lot of good."

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