John Steinbeck Net Worth At Death – How Did He Get Rich?

John Steinbeck Net Worth At Death

John Steinbeck had an estimated net worth of $5 Million at death. He was an American novelist who is known for works such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ as well as ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘East of Eden.’ The majority of his income came from his career as a writer and novelist.

John Steinbeck was an American novelist who won the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes for his works Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, and East of Eden. Before becoming a successful writer, Steinbeck dropped out of college and worked as a manual laborer. His works frequently addressed social and economic issues. His novel The Grapes of Wrath, about a family’s migration from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to California, won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1939. Steinbeck worked as a war correspondent during WWII and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962.

To calculate the net worth of John Steinbeck, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as student loans and credit card debt, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: John Steinbeck
Net Worth: $5 Million
Monthly Salary: $40 Thousand+
Annual Income: $500 Thousand+
Source of Wealth: Writer, Novelist

Early Life and Education

John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. was born in Salinas, California, on February 27, 1902. Steinbeck was raised on a low income. His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, worked several jobs to support his family, including owning a feed-and-grain store, managing a flour mill, and serving as Monterey County treasurer. Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, his mother, was a former teacher.

Steinbeck, who grew up with three sisters, had a happy childhood for the most part. He was shy but intelligent. He developed an early love of the land, particularly California’s Salinas Valley, which influenced his later writing. According to legend, Steinbeck decided to become a writer when he was 14 years old, frequently locking himself in his bedroom to write poems and stories.

Steinbeck enrolled at Stanford University in 1919, ostensibly to please his parents, but the budding writer would find college to be of little use.

Over the next six years, Steinbeck dipped in and out of school, eventually dropping out without a diploma in 1925.

Following his graduation from Stanford, Steinbeck attempted to make a living as a freelance writer. He briefly relocated to New York City, where he worked as a construction worker and a newspaper reporter, but then returned to California, where he began his writing career as a caretaker in Lake Tahoe.

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John Steinbeck’s Books

Over the course of his career, Steinbeck wrote 31 books. Of Mice and Men (1937), Grapes of Wrath (1939), and East of Eden (1942) are among his best-known novels (1952).

‘Of Mice and Men’ (1937)

During the Great Depression, two poor migrant workers, George and Lennie, are pursuing the American dream in California. Lennie, who has a mild mental disability, is devoted to his friend George, but he has a bad habit of getting into mischief. Their ambition is to own an acre of land as well as a shack. After they both land jobs in the fields of the Salinas Valley — Steinbeck’s hometown — their dream appears to be closer than ever. However, Lennie’s tendencies eventually get him into trouble again, resulting in a tragic ending for both men. The novel was later adapted into a Broadway play and three films.

‘The Grapes of Wrath’ (1939)

This book, widely regarded as Steinbeck’s finest and most ambitious novel, tells the story of a dispossessed Oklahoma family and their struggle to carve out a new life in California at the height of the Great Depression. The book captured the mood and angst of the nation at the time. The Grapes of Wrath sold 10,000 copies per week at its peak of popularity.

‘The Pearl’ (1947)

Based on a Mexican folktale, this story delves into human nature and the power of love. Kino, a poor diver who collects pearls from the ocean floor, lives by the sea with his wife Juana and their infant son Coyotito. Kino discovers the largest pearl he’s ever seen on one of his dives on the same day Coyotito is stung by a scorpion and is turned away by the town doctor because they can’t afford care. The pearl, which brings the possibility of great fortune, incites jealousy among the neighbors, eventually becoming a dangerous agent of evil.

‘East of Eden’ (1952)

This story, set in Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas, California, follows the intersecting stories of two farming families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, from the Civil War to World War I, as their lives reenact Adam and Eve’s fall and Cain and Abel’s rivalry. The novel was adapted into a film in 1955, directed by Elia Kazan and starring James Dean in his first major film role. Dean’s performance was later nominated for an Academy Award, which he received posthumously.

Cup of Gold (1929), The Pastures of Heaven (1932), and To a God Unknown (1933) were among Steinbeck’s other works that received mixed reviews. Tortilla Flat (1935), a humorous novel about paisano life in the Monterey region, was not published until the writer achieved real success.

In Dubious Battle (1936) and The Long Valley (1938), a collection of short stories, Steinbeck took a more serious tone. In his later years, he continued to write, with credits including Cannery Row (1945), Burning Bright (1950), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), and Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1965). (1962).


The Grapes of Wrath won Steinbeck the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. The author was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 “for his realistic and imaginative writings, which combine sympathetic humour and keen social perception.” Steinbeck accepted the award and stated that the writer’s duty is to “dredge up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement.”

Later Life

Steinbeck worked as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune during WWII.

Around the same time, he traveled to Mexico with marine biologist friend Edward F. Ricketts to collect marine life. Their collaboration resulted in the publication of the book Sea of Cortez (1941), which describes marine life in the Gulf of California.

Wives and Children

Steinbeck had three marriages and two sons. Steinbeck met and married his first wife, Carol Henning, in 1930. He poured himself into his writing over the next decade, with Carol’s support and paycheck, until the couple divorced in 1942.

From 1943 to 1948, Steinbeck was married to his second wife, Gwyndolyn Conger. Thomas (born 1944) and John (born 1946) were the couple’s two sons (born 1946). Steinbeck married his third wife, Elaine Anderson Scott, in 1950. The couple was married until his death in 1968.


On December 20, 1968, at his home in New York City, Steinbeck died of heart disease.

Further Reading

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How To Become Rich Like John Steinbeck?

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