Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review of As I See It: The Autobiography of J. Paul Getty

As a business autobiography, I was disappointed by As I See It: The Autobiography of J. Paul Getty.

Getty inherited a small oil business from his father in 1930. The book gives you really no feel for Getty's path to success but based on the timing you can guess that the story is similar to The Big Rich: the Great Depression caused the major oil companies to slash their budget for capital expenditures like exploration, and this retreat left a vacuum for new entrants to fill.

It's more of a name-dropping anthology, i.e. "celebrities I have known". Getty apparently knew or met every celebrity during the 20th century. Of course, he was uniformly impressed and delighted with all of them - including every president except Johnson. [Get this: he was appalled by creeping socialism but loved FDR!]

The one redeeming bit was the history of the Malibu villa art museum. Truly, the two Getty museums are some of the best things to see in the L.A. area. And, unlike the rich today, Getty had pretty good taste.

This was a 2/5. Maybe some of his other, earlier books could be worth taking a chance on: The history of the bigger oil business of George F.S. F. and J. Paul Getty from 1903 to 1939, or How to Be Rich.

No comments: