How T. Boone Pickens Lost the Bet of His Life

A few months ago, Tim pointed us to an item about T. Boone Pickens losing a $33 million “death bet.” Now Businessweek has a feature story about how the old oil man’s life insurance plans went awry. The idea was called “The Gift a Lifetime” and involved Pickens himself convincing dozens of elderly people to let Oklahoma State University take out life insurance policies on them. The fact that none of those people have died yet is really only part of the problem.

The story was written by Caleb Hannan, who I met at this year’s Mayborn Conference. (Incidentally, I also saw a Pulitzer Prize finalist rip some sheets and blankets off of Caleb as he slept and insist that he was wearing shoes in bed. He was not.) Not to spoil it for you, but the Businessweek piece includes at least three of these things:

a) A reference to T. Boone Pickens taking off his shirt.

b) A group of businessmen referring to their plan as “the matrix.”

c) Explicit details on how Pickens, as a young man, personally killed a giraffe with his bare hands…because it’s totally possible.

d) A university administrator suggesting he might soon be sharing a cave with Osama Bin Laden.


  • Bed shoes!

  • …and pants-length basketball shorts!

  • Bob

    I wonder what his (soon-to-be-divorced) wife thinks about his bet.