One of the most commonly asked questions in the world of business and finance is, How did these successful people become so rich? In order to truly understand what it takes to become a billionaire, you have to take into account every aspect of their lives, from their childhood experiences to their thoughts on wealth and social responsibility. One thing that’s almost certain, though, is that none of them got rich easily—it took years of hard work and sacrifice in order to find success. Here are ten men who made their mark in the business world and became some of the richest people in the world along the way.
1) Elon Musk
He is a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor. He is currently CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, co-founder and chairman of SolarCity, co-chairman of OpenAI. An Internet business pioneer as a co-founder of PayPal, he has also envisioned a conceptual high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop and has proposed a VTOL supersonic jet aircraft with electric fan propulsion.
2) Jeff Bezos
As of January 2018, Bezos’ net worth was $112 billion. Amazon has been a wonderful business for Bezos, and he reportedly owns about 17% of its shares. Forbes reports that $66 billion of his wealth comes from his 23% stake in Amazon. He also owns other businesses through his venture capital firm, Bezos Expeditions, including Whole Foods (Amazon purchased it in 2017). He owns space travel company Blue Origin and The Washington Post.
3) Bernard Arnault
Bernard Arnault is a French business magnate and art collector, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, France’s leading luxury goods company. Arnault took control of LVMH in 1989, by building a stake in one firm after another: Dom Perignon (wines), Christian Dior (designer clothing), Givenchy (fashion) etc. This year Forbes ranks him as world’s second richest man with $71 billion.
4) Bill Gates
Bill Gates, Sr. (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer and inventor. Gates is currently chairman of Microsoft, and was previously chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Microsoft. He is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people and was once the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009—excluding 2008, when he was ranked third—and richest since 2013.
5) Warren Buffett
Buffett has amassed a fortune as one of history’s greatest investors. He began buying stock in American Express when he was just 11 years old, and by his teens had built up a sizable personal portfolio of shares. When he was 15, Buffett purchased a used pinball machine with $200 that he’d saved from his newspaper route earnings. He placed it in a barbershop where it earned him $25 per week in profit.
6) Larry Page
Larry Page is an American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur who co-founded Google with Sergey Brin. He is currently CEO of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company. Although Page is no longer actively involved in Google, he remains non-executive chairman of its board, a position he has held since 2001. As of June 2017, his personal wealth was estimated to be US$36.9 billion, making him one of the world’s richest people.
7) Sergey Brin
Born August 21, 1973 in Moscow to a Russian Jewish family. He came to America with his family when he was six years old and earned money by doing computer work for local companies while at high school. After dropping out of Stanford University, Brin co-founded Google with Larry Page in 1998. From 2002 to 2011, Brin was president of technology at Google. In 2011, Brin became director of special projects at Google.
8) Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer is a former Microsoft CEO and current owner of NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. As of August 2017, he has an estimated net worth of $38.1 billion. (Source: Steve Ballmer Net Worth, Celebrity Net Worth , 2017.) He joined Microsoft in 1980 as employee number 30 and served on a variety of teams within product development and marketing before being promoted to COO in 1998 and then CEO in 2000.
9) Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison co-founded Oracle Corporation in 1977. He stepped down as CEO in 2014, but remains chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle. Ellison, who is now 70 years old, has a net worth of $58.4 billion.
10) Gautam Adani
Gautam Adani has an estimated net worth of $8.1 billion as of April 2015, according to Forbes. The chairman and founder of Adani Group has been in business for more than 30 years and expanded his father’s business into a $10 billion conglomerate that trades in commodities such as coal, iron ore, oil and gas. He is also interested in solar energy and cricket, having built a world-class stadium in Ahmedabad.