Sunday, February 12, 2012

Does Easy Success Mean Early Death?

Whitney Houston

Michael Jackson

Karen Carpenter

Elvis Presley

It must not be easy when at an early age everyone thinks you are The One.

Contrast this with 80-year old billionaires from George Soros to Sheldon Adeslon to Rupert Murdoch. For these guys, they had to claw for every penny they acquired. No drugs, no overdoses with these kinds of characters. They seem to fight for every breath, even as their bodies get old.

There's something to be said for struggling for what you have, you know you have in some way earned it. When it is just handed to you, it has to be pretty scary. If it's just handed to you, can it just as easily be taken away?

You may not think so at the time, but struggling and overcoming builds something very important, confidence that you know how to survive.


  1. Perhaps part of it also has to do with having a reason to live. If you were successful from a young age, you may feel like your life's work is done, versus someone whose goal was one that never could be completely accomplished.

    Reminds me of a quote I once heard but can't remember at the moment, but perhaps someone else could fill that in for me. (A quote about hoping your goal is one that isn't accomplished by the end of your lifetime)

  2. Marie Osmond is still alive, but point taken.

    1. Thanks, corrected.

      I was thinking Karen Carpenter.

    2. But Karen Carpenter has been dead for nearly 30 years.

  3. I'm pretty sure Marie Osmond is alive and well (and at 52, still pretty cute!).

    1. Yes. Headlining at the well-over-the-hill Flamingo in Las Vegas. On top of the world...right up there at Michael Jackson status.

  4. Echo the above ....Marie Osmond?????

  5. I am no fan of Hollywood, but I would guess that there was nothing 'easy' about the work schedules of Elvis, Michael Jackson, and others.

    I think you may be confounding 'Entertainment industry' with 'Easy.' The 'Entertainment industry,' whether music, sports, or movies, seems to chew up a disproportionate number of its success stories. Easy has nothing to do with the success of an NFL football player. But, his early bankruptcy has everything to do with immoral agents and hangers-on who take advantage of his lack of financial sophistication. Probably the same thing happens to singers.

    And, I think you are confounding '80 year old billionaires' with 'Men who have the chutzpah to bully and bribe legislators and corporate insiders into giving them inside information (Soros), minimizing their competition (Sheldon), or acting as an agent of the Money Mafia (Murdoch).'

    I would think that Sam Walton was more of a true self-made billionaire, providing something useful (low prices and wide distribution), worthy of emulation, unlike your three examples.

    1. THANK YOU. I was thinking pretty much all of that myself. (As misguided as it would still be, one would have assumed names like "Gates" or "Jobs" or "Buffett" would have been listed. I honestly would think Wenzel would be the last guy to be talking up Murdoch, Adeslon, and Soros?)

      I actually was looking for the punchline in all that. I really thought there was no way this blog would be claiming characters such as those got to where they are through honest "hard work".

      Is it just that those are the most recognizable names that fit the description of "old and really rich?"

      You couldn't think of anyone else? I'm pretty sure Hugh Hefner had to borrow $1000 from his mother to get his magazine started. I'm pretty sure Warren Buffett spent his childhood selling chewing gum door to door. Or how about the original John D. Rockefeller...who also developed business acumen selling candy as a child and built an empire through an obsessive attention to detail and efficiency.

      Adeslon, Murdoch, and Soros?

  6. The dead people noted were entertainers...artists. These types of people - by their nature - are easily exploited by opportunists who worked them to death. It's sad...and too bad these decent enough people couldn't surround themselves with better human beings.

    And I'm baffled as to why Robert would showcase Soros or any other rapist as an example of wealth achieved through hard work. I'm sure it was also 'hard work' for Jeffrey Dahmer to chop up his victims.