one red paperclip

So How Did Carlos Slim Become the World’s Richest Man?

When I’m asked how tycoons make their fortunes the One Red Paperclip story often comes to mind. If you are not familiar with it it’s the one about a man who started a chain of Craig’s List barter trades with a red paperclip and ended up with a house. It took him just 10 or 12 trades to accomplish this feat. Tycoons apply the same basic principle to building wealth although the mechanism is not quite the same. Both stories are about building wealth through incremental improvements in the value of assets over time. It’s the opposite of trying to strike it rich with just one deal. Think of the differences as those between a football team that wins because it has a strong ground game consistently moving the ball down the field instead and one that relies on the occasional “Hail Mary Pass” to win.

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