Oklahoma oilman T. Boone Pickens, who died Wednesday at age 91, was best known as someone willing to take business risks. Enough of them paid off to make him a very wealthy man, but his obituary included a couple of lesser stories from his childhood that are important.

Pickens, born in 1928, was a child of the Great Depression, and he said his grandmother taught him the importance of being frugal. If he left a light on in a room, she would wave her electric bill at him and tell him to pay it.

Then there was his first job — delivering newspapers. He got his route at age 12, an early age by today’s standards but probably far more common in 1940. What’s most interesting is that he quickly expanded his business, and made more money, by purchasing two adjoining routes.

The obituary for Pickens observed that this was his first venture into acquisitions. Clearly, the path of his life began to form at an early age. It makes you wonder how many children today have the opportunity to learn the lessons that Pickens did.

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