The 10 Richest People: How They Earned Their Fortune


There are the rich. There are the one-per-centers. And then there are these people. Together, they are worth about half a trillion. Take a look at how these billionaires earned their fortunes.

Bernard Arnault: $29 billion

Arnault started his career as an engineer in his father’s company, and quickly succeeded him as president. After a flurry of savvy acquisitions and business decisions, he owned both Dior and LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy). Over the course of the last twenty years, Arnault has grown his brands into the industry leaders they are today.

Lilliane Bettencourt: $30 billion

When Bettencourt’s father (founder of L’Oreal) died, she inherited his fortune and his stocks in the company and became the world’s richest woman. In 2008, she lost over €20 million to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Her mental health has been questioned recently and she has been put into the care of her children.

Li Ka-Shing: $31 billion

Ka-Shing began his career working for a Chinese watch manufacturer. After learning how to operate a plant, started his own business of plastic flower manufacturing. From there he expanded to real estate and other businesses, eventually building a billion dollar empire based in Hong Kong.

David Koch: $34 billion

Koch went to M.I.T. to earn both a master’s and bachelor’s in chemical engineering, while setting a school record for scoring on the basketball team. He later joined Koch Industries, and subsequently became the president of its engineering branch. Koch ran for president as a libertarian in 1980, and remains politically active today.

Charles Koch: $34 billion

Like his little brother, Charles Koch studied engineering at M.I.T. He also earned his fortune at Koch industries. Today he serves as co-owner, chairman of the board, and CEO. His company is the second largest privately held company in the world.

Larry Ellison: $43 billion

Ellison dropped out of college and moved to Silicon Valley when he first discovered computer design. His first big project was designing a database for the CIA called and named it “Oracle”. A few years later founded an immensely successful computer technology company with the same name.

Warren Buffet: $53 billion

Buffet made his stock investment at age 10 and has never looked back. His largest source of wealth has been Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate holding company took control of in 1970. He has been among the top four wealthiest people since 2000.

Amancio Ortega: $57 billion

Ortega made his living selling quilted bathrobes produced by cooperations of women in western Spain. At age 40, he opened a chain of clothing stores called Zara. His immense success led him to found the gargantuan multinational clothing company Inditex, which owns over 5,000 stores worldwide.

Bill Gates: $67 billion

Gates was a computer programming prodigy and spent countless hours in his school’s new computer lab. He would later drop out of Harvard to pursue his passion and start a computer software company they would call Microsoft.

Carlos Slim Helu: $73 billion

Slim’s early career involved  investing in construction, real estate, and mining companies. His breakthrough came when bought shifted his focus to the telephone business. In 1990, he acquired Telmex from the Mexican government, and which now operates 90% of all land line calls in Mexico. He also owns a firm that controls 80% of the cellular phone market in Mexico.

Today’s post was contributed by Max Wolff, blogger for Orlando Limo SLS. Max is an avid music fan who loves discovering new sounds and attending local concerts in his spare time.

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