By: Martin H.
Rags to Riches
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” ~Warren Buffet
1. Sheldon Adelson, United States
Net worth: $26.5 billion
Son of a Boston cabdriver borrowed $200 at age 12 to start selling newspapers. Later did stints as a mortgage broker, investment advisor and financial consultant. The high school drop out and Broadway enthusiast studied voice in his teens, but it was another kind of stage that called him: trade shows, where he made his first fortune. Later gambled on casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore. Took his Las Vegas Sands public in December 2004. Says Adelson, ”I loved being the outsider.”
2. Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong
Net worth: $23 billion
Fled a turbulent China in 1940; settled in Hong Kong. At age 15, after the death of his father, was forced to leave school to work at a plastics factory. Later borrowed money to manufacture plastic flowers; eventually grew his Cheung Kong Industries into a conglomerate with stakes in supermarkets, property and cell phones. Old Hong Kong joke said that for every dollar spent in Hong Kong, five cents went to Li. Dubbed ”Superman,” knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Despite enormous wealth, his secret wish is reportedly to be able to walk in the park without being recognized.
3. Roman Abramovich, Russia
Net worth: $18.7 billion
Orphan by age four; grew up with uncle and grandmother. After military stint, dropped out of college to take part in controversial Russian oil-export deals. In 1995, teamed up with fellow Russian Boris Berezovsky to take over oil giant Sibneft for a reported $100 million; sold it to Russia’s Gazprom for $13 billion a decade later. Passionate soccer fan owns U.K.’s Chelsea club; has many other toys, including jets, yachts and a home that reportedly cost $100 million. Recently made headlines for divorce from his second wife and speculation over how much of his fortune she’d get.
4. Kirk Kerkorian, United States
Net worth: $15 billion
Son of Armenian immigrants dropped out of eighth grade and took up boxing. Amateur fighter threw punches under the name ”Rifle Right Kerkorian.” Flew planes across the Atlantic during World War II. Made first bundle selling Tran International Airlines in the 1960s; invested proceeds in Las Vegas. Today his MGM Mirage owns more than half the hotel rooms on the Las Vegas Strip. Continues to jab at auto industry; after failing to orchestrate turnaround at ailing general Motors, sold off shares and later made unsuccessful bid for Chrysler arm of DaimlerChrysler.
5. François Pinault, France
Net worth: $14.5 billion
High school drop out started out as an unknown timber merchant from France’s Brittany region. Speculation in commodities and ”predator” business tactics helped him build a sprawling empire. Today he is the majority shareholder of luxury goods group PPR, whose brands includes Gucci, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney. His personal art collection is showcased in Venice in the Palazzo Grassi. Son François-Henri, who now runs the family business, recently announced that he is engaged to Mexican actress Salma Hayek, with whom he is expecting his first child.
6. Steve Jobs, United States
Net worth: $5.7 billion
Adopted into a working class family; grew up in apricot orchards that would later become Silicon Valley. Dropped out of Reed College because he couldn’t pay the tuition; co-founded Apple in his parents’ garage in 1976. Ousted from the iconic brand in 1985 after power struggle with chief John Scully. Returned to Apple in 1996, creating iPod sensation. In interim, started Pixar animation, creator of hits like Toy Story and Finding Nemo, that was later sold to Disney. Jobs now sits on Disney’s board and is its largest shareholder.
7. Ralph Lauren, United States
Net worth: $5 billion
Son of Russian immigrants was born and raised in the Bronx where he shared a bedroom with two of his brothers. By age 12, worked after school to help pay for his fancy taste in clothes. At one time worked in department stores. Eventually dropped out of City College to launch Polo Fashions with a $50,000 loan. Took group public a decade ago.
8. James Cayne, United States
Net worth: $1.3 billion
Dropped out of Purdue University; sold scrap iron. Moved to New York to play bridge full-time; spotted by Wall Street legend Alan “Ace” Greenberg for his card skills. Greenberg hired Cayne as a Bear Stearns stockbroker in 1969. Thirty-two years later, Cayne assumed the chairman’s mantle from Greenberg. Still plays bridge; the national champion is ranked as one of the world’s best.
9. Richard Desmond, United Kingdom
Net worth: $1.3 billion
After parents divorced, went to live in a garage apartment with his mother. Quit school at age 14 to become a drummer and help pay the bills. ”I wanted money and self-esteem, and I needed something to get me there quick,” he has said. Worked in coat-check room for tips. Started International Musician magazine at age 22. Dozens of titles followed suit. Now expanding his celebrity magazine OK! around the world. Still drumming; his band RD Crusaders, which includes musicians from The Who and Led Zeppelin, plays charity events.
10. J.K. Rowling, United Kingdom
Net worth: $1 billion
Born in Bristol, England into a middle class family. Hit hard by the death of her mother, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, and left for Portugal where she married and had a daughter. Returned to Edinburgh a single mom; lived on welfare while finishing her first Harry Potter tale. The seventh and last book in the series will be published this July along with the release of the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The magic will continue at a new Orlando theme park set to open in 2009.
Rags to Riches
Those who are wondering it must be great to be rich and have a lot of money, well although it is possible, it is a lot of hard work. As you can see all of these people where not so special, they were broke, middle class and some drop outs, who had a dream a vision and knew exactly what they wanted to do eventually and they went after and they became someone known. Whatever it is that you want, it may not make you as rich as these people, but I am sure that these people followed their passion and their passion grew so big they were able to make money and have a nice style of living doing it. So whatever bad habits that you may have stop doing what 90% of the population does and start paying attention to what the 10% of people do. Lose those bad habits and create new good habits, and live the life you want for yourself.