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: $116.9 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.
Bezos took Amazon public in 1997, and has since gone on to become the first man since Bill Gates in 1999 to achieve a net worth of over $100 billion.2 Bezos’ other projects include aerospace company Blue Origin, The Washington Post (which he bought in 2013), and the 10,000-year clock, also known as the Long Now.