Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at


Forbes produced its first rich list in 1918. Compiled by B.C. Forbes,it estimated the wealth of the 30 richest Americans and was based uponinformed speculation by “the leading bankers in America” andinformation on income tax filings.

For those curious about how much (and how little) has changed, here isthe complete text of the very first Forbes rich list and B.C. Forbes’March 2, 1918, story in Forbes magazine.

In 1918, who was the richest person in America? It embodies not anyguess of mine, but the consensus of opinion among the foremost bankersin the country. This can be accepted, therefore, as the mostauthoritative compilation ever made on this subject.

The combined fortunes of the 30 richest total $3,680,000,000. Theaverage individual fortune is $122,666,666. Not one of the 30 has lessthan $50,000,000. The average income of these multimillionaires is$6,133,333. The smallest income is estimated at $2,500,000 a year.

The total annual income of the 30 is figured at $184,000,000, of whichJohn D. Rockefeller’s share is computed at $60,000,000, or almost halfas much as the other 29 put together.