The world’s wealthiest people all have certain things in common: legendary work ethics, breakthrough ideas, and absolute commitment to their companies. At the time of updating this article, all of the top five wealthiest people founded their own companies, and continue to take an active role in the management of their exorbitant wealth.
1. Jeff Bezos
- Net Worth: $108.6 billion1
- Founder: Amazon (AMZN)
In 1994, Bezos founded Amazon.com in a garage in Seattle, shortly after he resigned from the hedge fund giant D.E. Shaw. In fact, he had originally pitched the idea of an online bookstore to his former boss David E. Shaw (a rumor that Shaw himself has confirmed), who wasn’t interested.
Though Amazon.com originally started out selling books, it has since morphed into a one-stop-shop for everything under the sun, and is arguably the world’s most important retailer. At any rate, it is hard to dispute its self-description as the “earth’s most customer-centric company.” Its pattern of constant diversification is evident in some of its unexpected recent expansions, which include its acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017 and its launching of its own branded over-the-counter drugs in Feb. 2018.
2. Bill Gates
- Net Worth: $106.7 billion3
- Co-Founder: Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
The only Harvard dropout in the Top Five, Bill Gates’ knack for increasing wealth is staggering, even for an already wealthy guy. The Microsoft co-founder’s net worth has more than doubled since 2009.4
3. Bernard Arnault
- Owner of LVMH
- Net Worth: $105.7 billion6
French national Bernard Arnault is the chairman and CEO of LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods company. The company owns some of the biggest brands on earth including Louis Vuitton, Hennessey, Bulgari, Marc Jacobs, Dior, Sephora, and many more.
4. Warren Buffett
- Net Worth: $85.5 billion7
- Best Investor of the 20th Century
5. Mark Zuckerberg
- Co-founder of Facebook
- Net Worth: $72.9 billion10
CEO of Facebook, Zuckerberg is the second Harvard dropout in the Top Five. He invented Facebook in his Harvard dorm room in 2004, along with Harvard classmate Eduardo Saverin, following his creation of an earlier successful program called Facemash. Fellow Harvardians Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss claimed that it was they who first approached Zuckerberg with the idea, leading to a notorious lawsuit that finally settled in 2008. In the settlement, the Winklevoss twins were awarded $20 million and what at the time was $45 million worth of stock.