10 Well-Kept Secrets That All Billionaires Know

Do billionaires know something that normal people don't? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.

Answer by Alex Lightman, Chairman of 3 Cool Tech Companies, on Quora.

I spent a few hours with a billionaire today, who was telling me things that I never hear about in the mainstream/lamestream media.

1. Billionaires know the reality of the recent past, at least with respect to those countries and industries that had an impact on their fortune. Billionaires in oil and gas from the Middle East, for instance, understand why the wars happened.

2. Billionaires know the reality of the present, including who has the power, who can take that power away, and who only thinks they have the power and is being used as a puppet, at least in their own spheres of interest. Did Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) really have an exercise machine accident on January 1, 2015, or did he get a beat-down for not keeping a promise? Ask a billionaire. He or she probably knows. Don't bother believing the press - whatever is printed about something like that wouldn't be the truth, just on principle.

3. Billionaires know the future. Alan Kay said, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." This is a good quote to inspire Stanford and MIT grads eager to add value by creating new products. The reality is, though, that the best way to predict the future is to be a billionaire, have access to think tanks, government lobbyists, bundlers, multiple candidates who will do what you ask even in terms of what they will or won't say in their speeches, and, of course, access to people like President Obama and his top advisors/minders.

4. Billionaires know that all deals worth over $1 billion take political power to close. If you don't have political power, you don't get to do $1 billion deals.

5. Billionaires know that political power makes money, and money makes political power, and that investment in politicians gives one of the highest ROIs, as long as you're not to obvious about it and don't get a spotlight on it. The classic example is Dick Cheney. While in the military, he set up a commission to give a centralized fuel purchasing contract to one lucky company. He picked the people to make the selection, resigned, and then became CEO of Halliburton...which "won" the big fuel contract. The number floating around of how much money Cheney made his companies is $39 billion. Billionaires, at least those related to the US government, know the number is way higher.

6. Billionaires know that there is a market for secret or hidden money, just like there is a market for so many other things.

7. Billionaires know what crazy old King Canute, the Viking who founded both London and the Swedish city of Lund, and who once went into the North Atlantic and ordered the waves to stop moving, once said, "You would be amazed, my son, with how little wisdom the world is run."

Basically, billionaires are like Dorothy and Toto, after Toto pulls back the curtain and reveals the Wizard of Oz to be a small man playing tricks to look large and in charge.

8. Billionaires know more billionaires, on average, than non-billionaires. There are only about 1,700 or so billionaires, vs. about 7.5 billion people, so the average person isn't going to be meeting multiple billionaires in his or her lifetime.

9. Billionaires know that truth about billionaires that Forbes either does not know, or knows but cannot print; they know who pretends to be a billionaire (I have heard some famous names), but is not, and who is a centibillionaire (worth over a $100 billion) but pretends to be much less wealthy. They know that Bill Gates is not the richest man, for instance, and find it a subject worthy of laughing at people for believing that he or Warren Buffet or Carlos Slim are, or ever were, the richest people on earth.

10. Billionaires know that the first trillionaire, or, at least, the first trillionaire family, already exists.

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