27 May 1947|
Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, England
|Died||22 June 2014
Dorsington, Warwickshire, England
|Residence||Dorsington and Mustique|
|Occupation||Founder of Dennis Publishing|
|Net worth||More than Â£750m|
I hear poets complaining: 'We face what our forebears did not face. We face TV. We face radio. We face this and that.'
I write about whatever turns up. Every single day, I'm sitting down for three to five hours in the evenings wrestling away and producing far too much verse.
The problem with rich lists is… it is impossible to know what someone is worth until they have died and you have sold it.
Unless you are completely retired, earning money is the best form of wealth preservation.
The planet doesn't require saving, and actually hasn't asked Greenpeace to save it.
I only buy a computer when it's two years old, after the glitches have been worked out.
There are jobs, particularly database-oriented ones, for which computers are necessary, but for everyday office life, I question whether they have brought the productivity that their enormous cost, up to £10,000 per person, demands.
I should have liked to get married, but over many decades I have lived essentially alone. I go to sleep when I'm tired, get up when I wake up, have my food prepared when I'm hungry. I can't bear the thought that I'd have to coincide, make an effort.
America is an empire. I hope you know that now. All empires, by definition, are bumbling, shambolic, bullying, bureaucratic affairs, as certain of the rightness of their cause in infancy, as they are corrupted by power in their dotage.
Good ideas are like Nike sports shoes. They may facilitate success for an athlete who possesses them, but on their own they are nothing but an overpriced pair of sneakers. Sports shoes don't win races. Athletes do.
I'm very proud of the fact that I'm one of Britain's biggest selling poets. That gives me a huge amount of pleasure.
The reason I don't carry a mobile phone is I don't want people to know where I am!
The vast majority of free verse is ghastly. Utterly ghastly. No one reads it. No one listens to it.
I've always noted with some awe the reading habits of the Australian public. Australians read more newspapers and magazines per head of population than almost any other country in the world.
I think having a great idea is vastly overrated. I know it sounds kind of crazy and counterintuitive. I don't think it matters what the idea is, almost. You need great execution.
I couldn't care less what anyone's 'perception' of me is. I'm too long in the tooth to care.
I am a born-again atheist, so there isn't going to be a funeral. I will be buried in a linen wrap in a cardboard coffin in my forest with an oak tree planted on my head.
What is negotiation but the accumulation of small lies leading to advantage?
It's a long, slow sunset for ink-on-paper magazines, but sunsets can produce vast sums of money.
I have one talent, and that's figuring out what people want about two minutes before they know it themselves.
You can collect all the plastic bottle caps you want as long as you give me the money so we can get off this death trap, find somewhere else and have tremendous fun screwing that up as well.
The rich are not a contented tribe. The demands from others to share their wealth become so tiresome, so insistent, they often decide they must insulate themselves. Insulation eventually breeds a mild form of paranoia.
The richer you are and the more financial advisers you employ, the less likelihood there is that you can ever discover what you are really worth.
Very, very few entrepreneurs who accept a 51 percent partner in a new venture will get rich if they are also expected to run it. Control is mandatory.
'Great Expectations' has been described as 'Dickens's harshest indictment of society.' Which it is. After all, it's about money. About not having enough money; about the fever of the getting of money; about having too much money; about the taint of money.
With the greatest of respect, I have watched Apple from the day it started. I was publishing magazines about the Apple II before most people had ever heard what a personal computer was.
This modern mania for interfering in other's lives, usually under the guise of health and safety concerns, is highly irritating and counterproductive. Down with the nanny state.
I'm so suspicious of our own understanding of the past. I just think that your mind plays absolute tricks on you and fools you every minute of every day. And so when you're talking about the past, you're talking about something that never happened. At least it didn't happen the way you think it happened.
No woman or girl is going to want to spend time looking at pretty dresses on the Internet. Vogue is going to be around for a long time to come.
Discourse has ended in America. It's all just shouting and ranting and demonization. Do you know how the rest of the world laughs at you guys? Have you got any idea? They're just rocking with laughter night and day.
When I was young, I wanted to be the greatest blues singer of all time. I wrecked my education and left home for it.
People think I'm just an old Luddite, but that's untrue. I buy every new gizmo as it comes out, play with it until I understand how it works, and then give it away.
There is never a time in a company's history when cost control can be relegated to the back burner, but for a startup company, keeping costs low is a vital necessity.
When you're writing, you're in a totally different zone… I can start a difficult poem and look up at the clock and see to my astonishment that three hours have passed.
The best thing about being immensely wealthy is not having to be in any particular place at any particular time doing a particular task you don't want to do.
People really do not have time to read all the newspapers in the world and all the sites that we now commonly use on the web. There is no possibility of keeping up.
Overhead will eat you alive if not constantly viewed as a parasite to be exterminated. Never mind the bleating of those you employ. Hold out until mutiny is imminent before employing even a single additional member of staff. More startups are wrecked by overstaffing than by any other cause, bar failure to monitor cash flow.
Computers are wasteful of paper and time. Once, we'd get documents with a few errors. Now, people make hundreds of copies until each sheet is flawless and memos are duplicated endlessly. Managers get swamped with emails.
No poetry that I'm aware of, however bad or glorious, has ever left somebody a worse person than they were before they read it.
The beginnings of a forest is one of the ugliest things on the planet. It's bleak and your neighbours hate you.
There are as many forms of happiness as sorrow, though most prove fleeting.
Nobody could like Donald Trump, surely, except his mother. No one really likes The Donald. But how can you not have respect for a guy who's been down on the floor and just keeps coming back? Nothing will keep Donald Trump down until they drive a wooden stake in his heart and a silver bullet in his brain.
There are far too many people in university in Britain. If you want to make money, be a plumber.
People who get trapped in the tunnel vision of making money think that is all there is to life.
When I see something that's wrong, I just speak and act first and I'll take the consequences later.
You have to persuade yourself that you absolutely don't care what happens. If you don't care, you've won. I absolutely promise you, in every serious negotiation, the man or woman who doesn't care is going to win.
As with the onset of sudden celebrity, for the newly rich, the world often becomes a darker, narrower, less generous place; a paradox that elicits scant sympathy, but is nonetheless true.
In the end, the railroads made America and nanotech will make the 21st century, and that is the end of the story. The beginning of the story and the end of the story.
'The Week' is my favourite magazine. Everyone from presidents to CEOs of companies love it, politicians, people in the massive charity business in America, in the arts and even more especially in the media.
I have an over-attachment to precision, which is why I've sold more magazines than any man alive.
I have been portrayed by actors in three television documentaries, two plays, one musical and a film. It's no fun watching yourself being traduced and imitated by an actor.
I don't take investment advice from wealth managers. I have grown several businesses from scratch and amassed many millions from my publishing empire – why would I take advice from someone who has never experienced that?
America, ladies and gentlemen, has done more for me financially than Britain ever has, or ever could have done.
I loathe and detest movies and television and don't watch any. I do not have the time.
You shouldn't go around the world behaving ruthlessly when you don't have to. Sometimes you do have to. There is only so much pie to go around. If you're going to take more than your fair share of pie, as socialists would look at it, then someone else is not getting his. That means you've got to take it away from them.
You cannot properly bring up children when you are 69 or 70 and they are 12 and at the height of their madness. You can physically do it, but I don't think it's morally justified.
Human beings are definitely changing the planet, but how much impact they are having on climate, I don't know and I don't care.
With a poetry book I can send 100 copies out to reviewers and other people, and even do it in advance and get their response. It's difficult with iPad: how do you send it out for free, and how do you even disseminate it before it goes into their store?
It's kind of a crazy thing to decide that you're going to be worth tens and tens and tens of millions of dollars and set out to do that. It doesn't suit everybody.
I've been busy for years, buying land, often under pseudonyms, and planting trees on it. All the money is going into it when I die – and in the end I'd like to think that it will be 20 to 30,000 acres.
Poetry is one of the oldest of all art forms, and one of its powers for shamans and tribal leaders was the mnemonic.
I'm an entrepreneur, a businessman. I've got a lot of money, and that doesn't go very well with the whole 'starving artist in a garret' routine.
I never sue journalists. I employ journalists. I employ too many of them. I don't sue journalists.
I thoroughly object to getting old. If you could let me be 16 again, I'd give you everything I've got and everything I'll ever have.
I want to prove that if you write in strict meter and rhyme about subjects people care about, they will buy poetry.
For me, temptation is life and I have a gargantuan appetite for everything.