Billionaire Pickens Reflects On Advice That Shaped Career

T. Boone Pickens Is One Of Richest People In America

Legendary Texas oilman and billionaire T. Boone Pickens sat down with 10News and revealed the childhood experiences that helped shape his life and paved the way to success.

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Pickens, who calls San Diego home for part of the year, is considered a no-nonsense businessman who managed to turn a small company into a massive fortune.

"I had some lucky breaks … no question … I did," Pickens told 10News anchor Kimberly Hunt.

Pickens describes himself as a simple man and spoke about the advice his grandmother once gave him.

"She said, 'Don't ever carry inventory. If you need one tube of toothpaste, don't buy two or you're carrying inventory for Charlie Amos.' He was the druggist," said Pickens.

That philosophy about shopping sticks with him to this day.

"You can be foolish and go spend money ... but I'm not a spender ... I go shopping for clothes about one time every three or four years," Pickens said.

When Boone had trouble collecting in the afternoons on his paper route, his grandmother suggested he change his strategy and drop by first thing in the morning.

"It makes you think ... I'm not getting this done. Is there a better way to do it, and how can I do it better than the guys I'm competing with?" said Pickens.

Doing it better than the competition has always been important to him.

"My mother, when I was 10 years old, she said, 'Sonny, you've got to get over it, you can't cry every time you lose,'" Pickens said.

So he's always worked hard to win.

Pickens said, "You can't get off the ground without a good work ethic, that's all there is to it."

But Pickens has always combined it with the ability to make decisions quickly, assess risks and learn from failures.

"Mistakes or losses are such beautiful learning lessons," said Pickens.

Pickens' passion is now getting America to stop making the mistake of relying on oil from the Middle East. He said Canada's pipeline is there for the taking, as well as natural gas in the U.S., wind and solar.

"I don't want to go out and have history say America was the dumbest crowd that ever came to town, that we had the resources and we bought oil from the enemy. Please don't let any of us go out that way," said Pickens.

Pickens is a renowned philanthropist who has given away almost $1 billion during his career.

He credits his grandmother, who always gave to the Red Cross and told him "never forget where you came from."

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