Felix Dennis

I wouldn't have stayed in the magazine business, I'd have moved into TV, radio and movies.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I wouldn't have stayed in the magazine business, I'd have moved into TV, radio and movies. My problem is that I'm quite a big fish in a small pond. I should have jumped ponds 27 years ago when I was 30, but I was too busy fishing in the original pond. That's a judgment based on cold logic - that's the Mr Spock part of me talking, but I couldn't regret being in magazines; it made me millions. Regrets are worthless detritus.

When I was growing up, I was going to be an R&B musician because it was the only way in Ruislip you could get laid. I always wanted money but I didn't how I'd do it. One time, I thought I'd achieve it through crime, but I ended up in prison (following the 1971 Oz trial), and I didn't like the working conditions. In retrospect, the Oz schoolkids issue was a lucky break - it was when I decided to start my magazine company with only £50.

It was a reckless and foolish decision, and it changed the whole course of my life. Being in business has taught me that cash - not necessarily your own - is king. I've lost lots of money and earned it back; you need to be able to accept risk and loss. I hate owing money, and some people say it's my Achilles heel, but I'm not interested in saluting a bank every morning, it's a bit tedious. The advice I'd give to a younger self would be to make sure you don't stay stuck in a single business. Don't just expand your business, but make sure it leads into another business. And never stay at the same bank for too many years. I was with Barclays for 23 years after Kung Fu Monthly, by which time it was turning over £100 million, though they still thought of me as Mr Kung Fu Monthly. It was a trick taught to me by Richard Branson.

Felix Dennis is chairman of Dennis Publishing, which he founded in 1973.

His second volume of poetry, Lone Wolf, was published in October

HOW HE MADE HIS PILE - RUPERT MURDOCH

MEDIA MAGNATE

Who is he? The 73-year-old chairman and CEO of News Corporation, worth an estimated $7.8 billion.

How did he earn his billions? Murdoch's media empire stretches to most corners of the world. In the UK, he owns the Times newspapers and the Sun, and he majority owns BSkyB, run by younger son James. Murdoch was born into newspapers, inheriting two Australian rags from his father Sir Keith in 1952, which he turned around before buying Britain's News of the World in 1968. By the end of the '70s, Murdoch had successfully entered the American market, and by the 1990s had global TV and movie concerns, including the Fox Entertainment Group and Star TV in Asia.

The secret of his success? Former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil called Murdoch 'probably the bravest dealmaker the world has ever known'. Murdoch's ruthlessness makes him a ferocious predator, and he usually gets what he wants.

US AND THEM

SLOVAKIA

Rugged and mountainous, Slovakia is unable to exploit its good location for international trade because transport across the country is difficult.

Its biggest trading partner remains its neighbour, the Czech Republic.

Since emerging peacefully in 1993 from Czechoslovakia, Slovakia has taken huge economic strides, and recently joined the EU and Nato. Its biggest economic problems are high unemployment and widespread corruption.

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