OIL: The Greatest Gamblers

Oil is the greatest single source of wealth in America for individual fortunes. At the same time, exploring for it is the greatest source of business failure, a fact to which wildcatters deliberately blind themselves. They disregard the unfulfilled dreams and broken lives that lie buried at the bottom of the staggering total of 300,000 dry holes drilled in America and think only of those who, despite every difficulty, persevered to success.

Thus writes Ruth Sheldon Knowles, 44, longtime (since 1937) U.S. oil consultant and wildcatter, in The Greatest Gamblers (McGraw-Hill; $6),...

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