Born Into Poverty And Built An Empire, Energy Pioneer Harold Hamm's Journey To Success

Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm calls himself unconventional, even a contrarian. Continental Resources founder has been at the forefront of America's energy journey.

Thursday, December 28th 2023, 8:05 pm

By: News 9, Robin Marsh


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Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm calls himself unconventional, even a contrarian. Continental Resources founder has been at the forefront of America's energy journey.

Hamm says it has been a vision filled with determination, ingenuity, and true grit and that the oil giants of the past helped pave his destiny.

Hamm says when he was young, he had a dream.

“Perhaps I could be like Jay Paul Getty, Frank Phelps [...] all of those men, those wonderful people that I have read about," said Hamm.

Hamm's life story is now featured in his new book recently released "Game Changer."

The continental resources founder gave News 9 exclusive access into what he calls his war room, where he wrote his book.

Harold Hamm chronicles his life and his 50-plus-year mission to make America energy independent. He is a man who has made headlines around the world.

He has advised presidents, heads of states, and energy policymakers. Pioneering horizontal drilling. Leading the way to America's energy independence.

Harold Hamm's Background:

Pumping gas and attending Enid High School, 17-year-old Harold saw the excitement of the oil business.

“I had all these oil people around and they were perhaps larger than life from what I had seen… you know, charismatic generous folks," Hamm said.

Hamm said the dream began when he was a junior in high school, and that is when he figured out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. It came in the form of his school assignment. He wrote a thesis called “Oil.”

"I had about everything. Connected with it, and so anyway, I wrote the thesis, and by the time I was finished with it, I was a believer. That's what I want to do, and I've never looked back," said Hamm.

Hamm started with a single mud truck on borrowed money and turned it into a billion-dollar energy business. Continental Resources daily produces close to 500 thousand barrels of oil. But a very humble beginning of life for a young Harold Hamm. Born into poverty in Lexington, Oklahoma, Harold was the 13th child born to sharecroppers. He picked cotton to help the family and remembers wondering if he would have shoes to start school.

News 9’s Robin Marsh took Harold back to his home, to the street he lived in Lexington.

“A lot of memories," Hamm said. "A lot of good memories, some were not so good. But for the most part, they were good. We were a struggling family, that's for sure. We didn't have a lot. Those are the struggles taught me hard work and what it means to be responsible."

Hamm’s influence has been felt around the world through The Harold Hamm Institute, The Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, and through philanthropy and education. The now 77-year-old says it’s the relationships from home that mean so much.

Harold Hamm was just honored as a hometown hero in Lexington. At Lexington High School, family friends, and students gathered to hear Hamm share his book. Hamm says he hopes he inspires the next generation to dream big in life.

“You know, I hope this book will inspire the next barefooted country boy that has a dream that wants to do something bigger," Hamm said. "Perhaps change the world in some way or the other.”

Hamm's book 'Game Changer" is on Amazon’s Bestsellers list and has sold more than 50,000 copies.

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