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The latest news on Billionaires from Business Insider

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    bill gates

    With a net worth of approximately $78.9 billion, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is the wealthiest man in the world. 

    Gates has been a public fixture ever since he and Paul Allen started a computer revolution in the 1980s. He has all of the toys you would expect from the world's richest man, from a private jet to a 66,000-square-foot home he nicknamed Xanadu 2.0. 

    Yet as his wealth has grown, Gates has done more and more philanthropy work, donating billions of dollars to charity projects through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

    Bill Gates was born on Oct. 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. Son of a lawyer and a schoolteacher, he was an argumentative but brilliant child. As a teenager, his appetite for knowledge was so great that he read the entire "World Book Encyclopedia" series from start to finish.

    Source: Wall Street Journal



    His parents enrolled him at the Lakeside School, a rigorous Seattle private high school that future Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen also attended. Gates often credits his discovery of computers to the tools he gained at Lakeside. "The experience and insight Paul Allen and I gained here gave us the confidence to start a company based on this wild idea that nobody else agreed with — that computer chips were going to become so powerful that computers and software would become a tool that would be on every desk and in every home," he said in a 2005 speech at the school.

    Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

     



    After graduating from Lakeside in 1973, Gates headed to Harvard. Though he entered as a pre-law major, he soon changed course and quickly worked his way through the university's upper-level math and computer science classes.

    Source: NPR



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    reid hoffman linkedin

    Who does someone who's already incredibly successful call when they want to dream up new, successful ideas?

    Billionaire LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman has three go-to people he calls when he wants to be inspired: Tesla founder Elon Musk, former PayPal CTO Max Levchin, and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel.

    Levchin, Thiel, and Hoffman are all considered part of the "PayPal mafia," a group of successful people who were early employees or founders at the eBay-owned payment company.

    "For macroeconomic, financial, bold models, I'll call Peter [Thiel]," Hoffman explained to Bloomberg's Emily Chang. "The intersection of kind of interesting business models or business technology, things like big data, Max Levchin. For a willingness to just think super big [where] risk is not a variable, Elon [Musk]."

    When asked what they call him for, Hoffman laughed and said, "A view of the Valley."

    "Like, OK, I'm thinking about X, who are the right people to talk to about X, you know, and what can work on this?" Hoffman said.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    ralph lauren car 2Wealth tends to create more wealth, but a rich background is not the only way to the top. Some of the world's wealthiest people started out dirt poor.

    All from humble beginnings, these 15 people not only climbed to the top of their industries but also became some of the richest people in the world.

    Although the rich do get richer, these rags-to-riches stories remind us that through determination, grit, and a bit of luck anyone can overcome their circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.

    Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, paid his way through college by selling life insurance.

    Net worth:$1.7 billion (as of Sept. 2013)

    Troutt grew up with a bartender dad and paid for his own tuition at Southern Illinois University by selling life insurance. He made most of his money from phone company Excel Communications, which he founded in 1988 and took public in 1996. Two years later, Troutt merged his company with Teleglobe in a $3.5 billion deal.

    He's now retired and invests heavily in racehorses.



    Starbucks' Howard Schultz grew up in a housing complex for the poor.

    Net worth:$2 billion (as of Sept. 2013)

    In an interview with British tabloid Mirror, Schultz says: "Growing up I always felt like I was living on the other side of the tracks. I knew the people on the other side had more resources, more money, happier families. And for some reason, I don’t know why or how, I wanted to climb over that fence and achieve something beyond what people were saying was possible. I may have a suit and tie on now but I know where I’m from and I know what it’s like."

    Schultz ended up winning a football scholarship to the University of Northern Michigan and went to work for Xerox after graduation. Shortly after, he took over a coffee shop called Starbucks, which at the time had only 60 shops. Schultz became the company's CEO in 1987 and grew the coffee chain to more than 16,000 outlets worldwide.



    Investor Ken Langone's parents worked as a plumber and cafeteria worker.

    Net worth:$2.1 billion (as of Sept. 2013)

    To help pay for Langone's school at Bucknell University, he worked odd jobs and his parents mortgaged their home.

    In 1968, Langone worked with Ross Perot to take Electronic Data Systems (HP) public. Just two years later, he partnered with Bernard Marcus to start Home Depot, which also went public in 1981.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    elon musk talulah wedding

    Wedding season is upon us, and with it come tales of extravagant, multimillion-dollar celebrity marriages.

    Wealthy tech executives are no exception to the rule. From top-secret ceremonies on private islands to wild entrances by helicopter, these millionaires sure know how to throw a party.

    We've ranked the most over-the-top tech weddings here.

    #12 In a relatively small affair, Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg married longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan on May 19, 2012, just one day after the social network's IPO. Chan wore a $4,000 gown by designer Claire Pettibone, and guests enjoyed a dinner of sushi and Mexican food. Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong performed at the reception, which took place in the backyard of the couple's $7 million Palo Alto home.

    Source: The New York Times



    #11 Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose wed health blogger Darya Pino in a beautiful ceremony at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel on Hawaii's Big Island. Pino wore an unconventional floral gown, and former Uber CEO Ryan Graves, VC Ryan Sacca, and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk were among those in attendance.

    Source: Instagram, Path



    #10 In 2012, Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes married longtime partner Sean Eldridge in a ceremony at their home in Garrison, N.Y. Though the ceremony itself was small, the reception took place at New York City luxury venue Cipriani Wall Street, with such high-profile guests as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Arianna Huffington, and Sean Parker in attendance.

    Source: The New York Times, Page Six



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Gulfstream G650 Phil Knight

    Nike co-founder Phil Knight recently spent $7.6 million on a 29,000-square-foot private jet hangar at Hillsboro Airport near Portland, Ore. reports the Portland Business Journal

    According to the Journal, the new hangar will be for Knight's personal use and will house his new Gulfstream G650 jet (registration N1KE). While the new hangar is under construction, the $65 million jet is parked at Nike Inc.'s adjacent corporate jet hangar, where the company's executives have access to Knight's personal jet along with two other Nike-owned jets.

    In fact, the philanthropic mogul and 44th wealthiest man in the world, with an estimated fortune valued at $19.2 billion, has even been known to allow company employees to hitch rides on his private jet. 

    The Gulfstream G650, made famous by Far East Movement's chart-topping 2010 hit "Like a G6," is world's fastest private jet. With the a maximum range of over 8,000 miles and room for 18 passengers in its fully customizable cabin, the G650 is coveted by corporate executives around the world.Gulfstream G650 Phil Knight While the $7.6 million hangar and luxury jet are certainly extravagant, Knight and his family are far from showy. The self-made billionaire and his wife Penny have support various charitable and academic institutions to the tune of $1 billion. The most famous recipient of Knight's charitable giving is his beloved University of Oregon, whose signature duck feather design adorns the wings of his newest jet. 

    SEE ALSO: A Chinese Man Smashed His Brand New Model S To Protest 'Tesla's Arrogance'

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    richardmellon

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire heir to the Mellon banking and oil fortune and a newspaper publisher who funded libertarian and conservative causes and various projects to discredit President Bill Clinton, has died. He was 82.

    Scaife died early Friday at his home, his newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, reported. Scaife's death comes less than two months after he announced in a first-person, front-page story in his Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he had an untreatable form of cancer.

    "Some who dislike me may rejoice at the news," wrote Scaife, who acknowledged making political and other enemies. "Naturally, I can't share their enthusiasm."

    He was the grand-nephew of Andrew Mellon, a banker and secretary of the Treasury who was involved with some of the biggest industrial companies of the early 20th century. Forbes magazine estimated Scaife's net worth in 2013 at $1.4 billion.

    The intensely private Scaife became widely known in the 1990s when first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said her husband was being attacked by a "vast right-wing conspiracy." White House staffers and other supporters suggested Scaife was playing a central role in the attack.Several foundations controlled by Scaife gave millions of dollars to organizations run by critics of Clinton, including $1.7 million for a project at the conservative American Spectator magazine to dig up information about his role in the Whitewater real estate scandal.

    Scaife rarely gave interviews, but in a sit-down with George magazine editor John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1998, he called President Clinton "an embarrassment."

    In the interview, Scaife denied that his money helped support an effort to hurt the president, but he suggested Clinton might be linked to the deaths of dozens of administration officials and associates, including White House Deputy Counsel Vince Foster and onetime Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Foster's death was determined to be a suicide; Brown died in a plane crash.

    Scaife also accused Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel whose investigation led to Clinton's impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, to be a "mole working for the Democrats."

    Scaife's stance toward the Clintons softened years later. In an interview published in early 2008, he told Vanity Fair magazine he and the former president had a "very pleasant" lunch the previous summer, and "I never met such a charismatic man in my whole life."

    Clinton gave Scaife an autographed copy of his book, and Scaife said he later sent $100,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative. (Scaife also said philandering "is something that Bill Clinton and I have in common.")

    Scaife's newspaper also endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid for president in 2008.

    Despite funding many causes dear to conservatives, Scaife was libertarian on many social issues. He supported Planned Parenthood and abortion rights, supported legalizing same-sex marriage and marijuana, and opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Scaife bought the Tribune-Review in suburban Pittsburgh in 1969, using its editorial pages to trumpet his views.

    "I fell in love with newspapers as a boy, when my father bought me editions from around the country and abroad," Scaife told readers in the column announcing his cancer diagnosis. "The day I became a newspaper publisher, buying the Tribune-Review, remains one of the proudest, happiest moments of my life."

    Scaife was a longtime supporter of Republicans, backing presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964 and heavily funding the 1968 campaign of Richard Nixon.

    In 1972, Scaife donated $1 million to Nixon in 334 separate checks to avoid paying gift taxes. After The Associated Press wrote a story about the money, Scaife insisted the Tribune-Review get rid of its AP service.

    "He ordered us to come in and take out the wire machines that night," Pat Minarcin, then AP's Pittsburgh bureau chief, told The Wall Street Journal for a 1995 story.

    Scaife also made headlines in recent years during a bitter divorce battle with Margaret Ritchie Battle Scaife, his second wife. The divorce was finalized in 2012. His first marriage, to Frances Gilmore Scaife, also ended in divorce.

    A Pittsburgh native, Richard Mellon Scaife was born in 1932, the son of Sarah Cordelia Mellon and Alan Magee Scaife. His mother was an alcoholic, and his upbringing has been described as cold and unhappy. He and his sister were raised by nannies.

    He went to Yale but was expelled during his freshman year after a he rolled a beer keg down a flight of stairs, breaking the legs of a classmate, according to a 1999 story in The Washington Post.

    Scaife admitted to becoming an alcoholic, and he had a reputation for having a fiery temper. He reportedly quit drinking in 1990 after going to the Betty Ford Clinic.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    mark zuckerberg priscilla chan

    How do you set your kids up to be the next Mark Zuckerbergs or Larry Pages?

    Serial entrepreneur Charles Tips has the most popular Quora answer on this topic with more than 5,200 upvotes from people like the co-founders of Zynga-owned Farmville and Google-owned Wavii.

    Tips has a couple kids and says he has numerous friends who are self-made billionaires.

    Step 1: "Make them aware of the full range of life options."

    "The world abounds with opportunity to lead whatever life you want, but you have to demystify, demystify, demystify for them to be able to see what makes go businesses go," says Tips.



    Step 2: "Do NOT send them to public school NOR to the prep schools that are just our public schools on steroids."

    This isn't the recipe for every billionaire. Mark Zuckerberg attended a prepschool for high school. Other billionaires never graduated 12th grade.

    But in Tips' opinion, someone as atypical as a billionaire is going to need an atypical education. He says his kids began working an assortment of jobs when they were pre-teens and traveled a lot doing things like filming documentaries and driving boats.

    "If you want conventional minds, get them a conventional education," Tips says.

     



    Step 3: "Teach a love of work."

    In other words, don't let them be lazy. Because, as Tips says, "getting rich takes work" for which you need "stamina."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    ABBASwedish pop group ABBA is responsible for hit songs like "Dancing Queen,""Mamma Mia," and "Money, Money, Money."

    Made up of two sets of then couples — Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad — ABBA has sold over 380 million albums and singles worldwide and is the third-best-selling group of all time, behind the Beatles and Queen and ahead of the Rolling Stones.

    But in 1979, at the height of their success, Fältskog and Ulvaeus divorced while Lyngstad and Andersson called it quits soon after in 1981. By 1982, the group was broken up.

    AbbaIn 2000, amid a revival of several of their hits, an American-British consortium offered the group $1 billion to reunite for 100 shows, but they declined the offer, according to E! Online.

    To put that into perspective, the group was offered more than the value of 25 different Major League Baseball teams and the GDPs of some countries. That's potentially $250 million that each member of the group refused.

    "It's a hell of a lot of money to say no to, but we decided it wasn't for us," Andersson told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet in 2000.

    ABBA

    Andersson and bandmate Bjorn Ulvaeus both argue that popular reincarnations of their songs (many by teen group S Club 7) have been successful because the group never reunited.

    "We have never made a comeback," Ulvaeus told the paper. "Almost everyone else has. I think there's a message in that."

    Fältskog explained to Radio Times last year: "We said no because they wanted 250 shows or something, it was incredible. No chance. We had done it.

    Lyngstad also confirmed this year to Ireland's RTE that "no amount of money would change our minds. Maybe we sometimes say it would be good to do a song together again, just a recording and nothing else, but I don’t know if that will happen  so don’t say that we will!"

    Despite the fact that the foursome recently reunited — the "chemistry was still there"— all members said they were not tempted to reunite.

    The four founding members are doing just fine since the group's break-up 32 years ago.

    Last March, "Mamma Mia," a stage musical based on ABBA's music, became the ninth-longest-running show in Broadway historyOver the show's 13-year run, it has been seen by 50 million people worldwide and raked in over $2 billion.

    A star-studded film based on the musical was released in 2008 and went on to be a $609 million hit at the box office.

    In 2010, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    SEE ALSO: Here's Why 'Jersey Boys' Bombed At Theaters

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    michael dell hawaii

    With an estimated net worth of $18.6 billion, Michael Dell is one of the wealthiest people in the world.

    Dell dropped out of school at the University of Texas at Austin to found Dell Computer Corp., which soon became one of the fastest growing companies in the country. He was only 23 when his company had its IPO in 1988, and soon, he was a billionaire. 

    Dell lives the extravagant life of a successful businessman as well, complete with all of the private planes, summer homes, and sweet rides you'd expect from a billionaire. 

    Michael Dell was born on Feb. 23, 1965 in Houston, Texas. He was fascinated with gadgets from a young age — when he was 15, he bought one of the first Apple computers and disassembled it to see if he could put it back together.

    Source: Academy of Achievement



    When he was in high school, he got a job selling newspaper subscriptions. After figuring out how to target an untapped customer base, he made $18,000 in just one year.

    Source: Academy of Achievement



    Though he was really only interested in computers, Dell entered the University of Texas at Austin as a pre-med student in 1983. He spent his spare time upgrading PCs and selling them from his dorm room, making $180,000 in his first month of business. Though he never came back for his sophomore year of classes, he returned to his dorm for a photo opp in 1999.

    Source: Entrepreneur



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Marcel Telles 9

    The owner of the largest beer company in the world has bought a luxurious apartment in Central Park West, according to NY Daily News

    Brazilian billionaire Marcel Telles, owner of Anheuser-Busch InBev, spent a whopping $31 million on his new condo. With a net worth of $11.6 billion, Telles is one of the richest men in Brazil.

    With three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a library, the apartment is over 3,000-square-feet big. The building includes a fitness center with a 75-foot pool, a screening room, private wine cellars, a walnut-paneled library, and a private dining room for its residents.

    The apartment previously belonged to Tyler Ellis, daughter of fashion designer Perry Ellis. Ellis spent $11 million on the place in 2008.

    Located at 15 Central Park West, the famous building is composed of two limestone towers, with a courtyard and private motor entrance.



    The apartment includes a spacious kitchen adjoined to a dining room, a living room, and a personal library.



    The windows stretch as high as the 11-foot ceilings.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Pierre Omidyar

    Some entrepreneurs who have made billions off of their tech ventures like to spend them in some pretty extravagant ways, whether it be on private planes, summer homes, or even an entire island. 

    Others turn to more-philanthropic efforts, choosing to donate their wealth to different causes through foundations and trusts. 

    We've rounded up some of the most generous people in tech, all of which have decided to donate large portions of their wealth to charity rather than pass it down to their children. 

    Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates

    Gates has been open about his decision not to leave his $78 billion fortune to his three children. They will reportedly inherit just a small slice, about $10 million each.

    "I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favor to them,"he said in a Reddit AMA in February. 

    He founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 1994, and it currently has more than $36 billion in assets. Gates also teamed up with longtime friend Warren Buffett to start a campaign called "The Giving Pledge," which encourages other billionaires to donate at least half of their fortune to charity. 



    AOL cofounder Steve Case

    Case helped millions of Americans get online, and now he's donating much of his wealth to developing other technologies.

    He founded the Case Foundation in 1997, which focuses on using technology to make philanthropy more effective. He also started an investment firm called Revolution, which invests in startups outside of Silicon Valley, and signed the Giving Pledge.

    "We share the view that those to whom much is given, much is expected. We realize we have been given a unique platform and opportunity, and we are committed to doing the best we can with it," he and wife Jean wrote."We do not believe our assets are 'ours' but rather we try to be the responsible stewards of these resources."



    Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

    Benioff recently launched a campaign called SF Gives, which challenged tech companies to raise $10 million for San Francisco-based nonprofit programs in just 60 days. 

    He's encouraged other corporations to follow his 1/1/1 model, which says that a company should donate 1% of its equity, 1% of its employees' time, and 1% of its resources to philanthropic efforts.

    He and wife Lynne have also personally given a total of $200 million to the children's hospital at UCSF. 

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    mark cuban jet

    When you're worth several billion dollars, you're bound to want to spend that wealth on some extravagant toys. 

    Wealthy tech executives are no exception to the rule.

    From sports franchises to private planes, we've rounded up some of the most interesting toys tech billionaires have splurged on recently. 

    Google chairman Eric Schmidt has a $72-million yacht called the "Oasis," which he charters out for $400,000 a week. The yacht has plenty of amenities, including a pool, jet skis, and a gym that can be converted into a disco.



    Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is known for her taste in high-end designer goods. In 2006, she had some 400 pieces of glass art by Dale Chihuly installed in the ceiling of her penthouse apartment at San Francisco's Four Seasons hotel. Chihuly's work typically sells for an average of $15,000 each, and the delivery reportedly caused significant traffic problems in the city.

    Source: Gawker, Business Insider



    Though he has a net worth of at least $200 million, Tumblr founder David Karp isn't a showy person. He does have a Vespa that he likes to ride to work each morning.

    Source: New York Magazine

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Hasso Plattner SAP

    Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Jeff Bezos are among some of the wealthiest tech tycoons here in the U.S. 

    But there are plenty of extremely wealthy tech executives across the globe who are making major contributions to their country's tech scenes.

    With the help of Forbes' Billionaires List, we've rounded up the wealthiest tech tycoon in 14 countries across the globe. They've each played a major role in technological advances around the world, and they've raked in billions doing it.

    Brazil: Eduardo Saverin

    Net worth: $4.3 billion

    Forbes ranking: 375

    Background: Eduardo Saverin became a billionaire after cofounding Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg. He was born in Brazil but attended school in the U.S. before renouncing his American citizenship and moving to Singapore in 2012. He still owns about 53 million shares of Facebook stock and spends his time as an angel investor.



    Canada: David Cheriton

    Net worth: $3.1 billion

    Forbes ranking: 578

    Background: Vancouver native David Cheriton, a professor in Stanford's computer science department, became one of the first investors in Google after Larry Page and Sergey Brin did a demo of their project on his front porch in 1998. That early investment has obviously paid off, but Cheriton doesn't like to flaunt his wealth. He also cofounded Arista Networks with Andy Bechtolsheim. 



    China: Ma Huateng

    Net worth: $14.4 billion

    Forbes ranking: 78 

    Background: Ma Huateng is the founder and CEO of Tencent, China's largest publicly traded Internet company. Tencent created the mobile messaging app WeChat, which now has more than 270 million users. Ma is now the second-wealthiest person in China. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    warren buffett

    It’s recently emerged that America’s two richest men share not only a fondness for bridge, but identical taste in literature.

    Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet—according to an essay this week from Gates—count John Brooks’ Business Adventures as their single favorite book about business.

    Why is this compendium of 1960s New Yorker articles catnip for billionaires?

    1) The Prose Is Superb

    Reading Brooks is a supreme pleasure. His writing turns potentially eye-glazing topics (e.g., price-fixing scandals in the industrial electronics market) into rollicking narratives. He’s also funny. In a piece about the spectacular failure of the Ford Edsel, Brooks describes the doomed car’s elaborate, gilded grille as “the charwoman trying on the duchess’ necklace.” Noting the fact that an Edsel was stolen in North Philadelphia three days after the model’s debut, he writes, “It can reasonably be argued that the crime marked the high-water mark of public acceptance of the Edsel; only a few months later, any but the least fastidious of car thieves might not have bothered.”

    Brooks is the direct literary ancestor of Michael Lewis (who has publicly professed his admiration for his forebear). Much like Lewis, Brooks wields a sharp dagger from a detached, chuckling remove—as when he writes that Clarence Saunders, the founder of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain, had “a gift, of which he may or may not have been aware, for comedy,” or when ne notes that Saunders “in his teens was employed by the local grocer at the pittance that is orthodox for future tycoons taking on their first jobs.” Brooks’ piece about Saunders also employs Lewis’ go-to trope: an eccentric underdog pitted against a hidebound establishment. Clarence Saunders could be Billy Beane, or The Big Short’s one-eyed investor Michael Burry.

    You know who else sounds like Brooks? Warren Buffett. Classic homespun Buffett-isms like “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out” and “I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will” would fit right in alongside Brooks’ wry turns of phrase. It comes as no shock that Buffet loves this book, and it would likewise be no surprise if he’d consciously modeled his writing on Brooks’ example.

    (As for Bill Gates, the evidence of his impeccable taste in nonfiction is at this very moment glowing before your eyes. Slate was launched at Microsoft under Gates’ watch, and Gates was reportedly  “a huge fan and supporter.” Dude appreciates sharp journalism.)

    2) The Reporting Is Nuanced

    As Gates notes in his essay about Business Adventures, Brooks eschews “listicles” and doesn’t “boil his work down into pat how-to lessons or simplistic explanations for success.” Instead, he tells entertaining stories replete with richly drawn characters, setting them during heightened moments within the world of commerce. Brooks invites the reader to draw her own conclusions about best practices. But after reading a bunch of these pieces, you can’t help but see that businesses don’t rise or plummet based on trendy strategies, or advanced research metrics, or silly employee perks. Their fortunes are determined by small groups of humans—full of flaws and foibles—who come together, make decisions under pressure, and either fail or succeed to create something larger than the sum of their parts.

    bookFor example: Conventional wisdom at one time held that the flame out of the Edsel stemmed from Ford’s over reliance on consumer poll testing, which led the company astray.

    But Brooks reveals that this is far too reductive a conclusion. It’s what we might call a just-so story(or describe—with a nod to a certain current-day business writer who tends toward the reductive—as “Gladwellian”).

    In fact, there were all sorts of intertwined reasons that the Edsel didn’t sell. The car’s advertising hype grossly over promised, while its mediocre design under delivered.

    The secular trend in 1957 was toward smaller cars, while the Edsel was a throwback to, as Brooks describes it, “fat, tail-finny 1955.”

    The appearance that fall of the sleek Russian Sputnik satellite convinced Americans that our technology was clunky, inferior, and encrusted with useless gewgaws, and somehow the Edsel became the embodiment of this shame.

    But most of all, the Edsel failed because a group of men, sometimes working in concert and sometimes at odds, made a series of decisions that didn’t pan out. As Mitt Romney once put it, in a slightly different context: Corporations are people, my friend. Brooks introduces us, for example, to a pipe-smoking, professorial Ford executive who consults a poetess for potential model names. Her suggestions (including “Utopian Turtletop” and “Mongoose Civique”) are perhaps wisely rejected, but the eventual and uninspiring winner (“Edsel,” after a Ford family patriarch) is declared by fiat when a second executive decides he’s had juuuuust about enough of these creative shenanigans. The pipe smoker subsequently flees to academia, where he obtains a Ph.D. in sociology.

    3) The Lessons Still Apply

    When Brooks writes about the Edsel, he could easily be reporting on a disastrous consumer product launch that happened last week, with the attendant finger-pointing at marketing mishaps and engineering snafus. When he recounts an inexplicable three-day panic that occurred on Wall Street in 1962, he might as well be talking about the mysterious “Flash Crash” of 2010. When he opines on the flaws of the federal income tax, he could be filing a dispatch from any moment in the last century. (He suggests that the tax is “a serpent in the American Garden of Eden, offering such tempting opportunities for petty evasion that it induces a national fall from grace every April,” and chronicles “the seasonal appearance of special provisions to save people in the upper brackets from the inconvenience of having to pay those rates.”)

    Perhaps the eeriest and most edifying piece to read from a modern-day perspective is Brooks’ look inside Xerox during a moment of transition. Here was a firm that experienced massive success at whiplash speeds, rising so far, so fast, that it wasn’t quite sure where to go next. Consider: In the mid-1950s, Americans made about 20 million copies annually, using bad technology that produced worse results. By 1964, after Xerox introduced xerography—a vastly superior, proprietary process that at last let copies be made on regular paper and with great velocity—that figure climbed to 9.5 billion. Two years later, we were making 14 billion copies a year.

    Xerography was a technological revolution that some observers at the time put on par with the invention of the wheel. Brooks describes a burgeoning “mania” for copying—“a feeling that nothing can be of importance unless it is copied, or is a copy itself.” Marshall McLuhan fretted that xerography would “bring a reign of terror into the world of publishing,” and warned, “there is no possible protection from technology except by technology.”

    In short, the arrival of xerography spurred hopes and fears not unlike those stirred up in the early days of the World Wide Web. It was a piece of tech that we might now call “disruptive.” It turned office culture on its head, changed the nature of text propagation more than anything since the days of Gutenberg, and coined a new dual noun/verb: I’ll Xerox it; let me make a Xerox. As for Xerox the company, it was generating so much profit that it seemed as though its copier drums were spitting out U.S. currency. When Brooks pays a visit to the corporate campus in Rochester, New York, he finds the executives’ biggest concerns revolve around Xerox’s charitable support for the United Nations—a cause the company championed but one that bore little relation to its core business.

    At the height of its success, Xerox neglected to foresee its own demise. Then as now, disruption begat adaptation. Copying grew commonplace. Xerox plowed its revenue into R&D in a search for the next hit, but never managed to translate its breakthroughs into best-selling products.

    Bill Gates calls the Xerox piece one of Brooks’ “most instructive stories.” It’s easy to see why the former Microsoft CEO might consider this the most poignant of tales among the many poignant tales that populate Business Adventures. In Xerox, we see a corporate behemoth with a single, killer product; a desperate but mostly ineffective effort to find something else that gets traction in the marketplace; and an embarrassment of riches that are nobly redirected toward global betterment.

    As reports emerged that Microsoft will lay off up to 18,000 employees, and meanwhile the Gates Foundation continued its quest to craft a better female condom, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was Gates dipping into his dog-eared copy ofBusiness Adventures yet one more time? And if he did, would it be for wisdom or for succor? 

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    Cornell University Arts Quad Campus

    News flash — billionaires are smarter than you or I.

    That's the takeaway from a new study released by Duke University analyzing the ultra-wealthy and connected attendees of the Davos World Economic Forum.

    The research flies in the face of the popular image of whiz-kids dropping out of college and building a billion-dollar business from the back of their garage.

    "The U.S. media has used billionaires Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg as examples illustrating why completing college is not necessary for success, when in fact they are the exception to the rule," study author Jonathan Wai writes.

    The study shows "the importance of education and cognitive ability in being able to attain a position in the global elite." About a third of billionaires went to elite schools around the world, with a large number attaining degrees in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The study also suggests that the modern uber-wealthy work hard to get and stay there.

    "As (former WSJ reporter Robert) Frank puts it: 'The idle rich are being replaced by the workaholic wealthy,'" Wai writes.

    "I think we should deeply consider the implications when a select group of scary smart people also tend to hold a disproportionate share of global wealth and power,"Wai told CNBC. "We depend on these people to make wise decisions for all of us. "

    The results mirror a study published last year by Wealth-X that maps out which of the world's universities produce the most billionaires and "ultra high net wealth" individuals — that is, those with $30 million or more in assets. The vast majority of the fortunes made by these wealthy alumni had been self-made.

    Here are the universities ranked by the most billionaire alumni, according to Wealth-X. But a billionaire count does not a university make. Those merely boasting alumni with "ultra high net wealth," or UHNW, of $30 million or more are also noted, along with the percentage of self-made wealth:

    1. Harvard University

    Number of billionaire alumni: 52

    Total billionaire wealth: $205 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 2,964

    Total UHNW wealth: $622 billion

    Self-made wealth: 74%

    2. University of Pennsylvania

    Number of billionaire alumni: 28

    Total billionaire wealth: $112 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 1,502

    Total UHNW wealth: $242 billion

    Self-made wealth: 69%

    3. Stanford University

    Number of billionaire alumni: 27

    Total billionaire wealth: $76 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 1,174

    Total UHNW wealth: $171 billion

    Self-made wealth: 71%

    4. New York University

    Number of billionaire alumni: 17

    Total billionaire wealth: $68 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 828

    Total UHNW wealth: $110 billion

    Self-made wealth: 74%

    5. Columbia University

    Number of billionaire alumni: 15

    Total billionaire wealth: $96 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 889

    Total UHNW wealth: $116 billion

    Self-made wealth: 66%

    6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Number of billionaire alumni: 15

    Total billionaire wealth: $114 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 581

    Total UHNW wealth: $172 billion

    Self-made wealth: 65%

    7. Cornell University

    Number of billionaire alumni: 14

    Total billionaire wealth: $35 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 528

    Total UHNW wealth: $60 billion

    Self-made wealth: 66%

    8. University of Southern California

    Number of billionaire alumni: 14

    Total billionaire wealth: $32 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 374

    Total UHNW wealth: $66 billion

    Self-made wealth: 55%

    9. Yale University

    Number of billionaire alumni: 13

    Total billionaire wealth: $77 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 568

    Total UHNW wealth: $125 billion

    Self-made wealth: 63%

    10. University of Cambridge

    Number of billionaire alumni: 11

    Total billionaire wealth: $48 billion

    Number of UHNW alumni: 361

    Total UHNW wealth: $93 billion

    Self-made wealth: 70%

    These schools might be great for your net worth, but what are the best business schools in the world? Please vote in our survey on business schools below.

    SEE ALSO: I Made $15 Million Before I Was 30, And It Wasn't As Awesome As You'd Think

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    Alisher Usmanov

    Russia’s wealthiest have lost billions of dollars since the beginning of the year, as Western sanctions against the country over its involvement in Ukraine continue tightening their grip over the weak economy.

    Russia’s 19 billionaires have lost $14.5 billion since January, data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows. America’s 64 billionaires have gained $56.5 billion over the same time period.

    Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s richest man who amassed his fortune through steel and iron ore mining, has lost $2.5 billion so far this year, dragging his net worth down nearly 13 percent to $17.7 billion.

    Russian steel tycoon Vladimir Lisin has lost $2.4 billion, nearly 17 percent of his net worth, and businessman Andrey Melnichenko has lost $2.1 billion, about 14 percent of the value of his assets. The highest gain of any Russian billionaire is $1 billion.

    Bill Gates, the former chief executive of Microsoft Corp., has already upped his net worth by $6 billion this year, though other Americans have lost billions. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com has lost $3.4 billion so far this year.

    Russian billionaires speaking anonymously told Bloomberg that their country’s most elite circle of businessmen are increasingly frantic that President Vladimir Putin’s policies in Ukraine will lead to more crippling sanctions.

    Vladimir Putin G-8

    “But even if sanctions are not tightened further, the Russian economy is likely to be hit hard by fresh weakness in financial markets and by the growing reluctance of Western companies and banks to do business with what risks becoming a pariah state,” Julian Jessop, chief global economist of London-based Capital Economics, told IBTimes. “Russia will try and look East instead, but then risks being left dependent on China's demand for commodities. China will have all the power here.”

    Russian stocks fell 1.4 percent on Monday, continuing the past week’s 5 percent slide to one-month lows and a 12 percent drop since January.

    SEE ALSO: Russia's Military Tells A Very Different Story About What Happened To MH17

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    Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg

    Earlier this week, Facebook reported its Q2 earnings, and it was a huge result on all fronts.

    The earnings call solidifies Zuckerberg's net worth at about $31.5 billion, given the 422,954,082 shares the 30-year-old owns. 

    So, there it is – Mark Zuckerberg is one of three people who currently has more billions under his belt than years he has lived.

    According to Forbes, Carlos Slim touched over it once in 2011 when he was valued at $74 billion at the age of 71. He matched it in 2013 with $73 billion at 73, and despite the fact that as you get older, the bar gets a little harder to leap over, Slim is actually bucking the trend. Bill Gates is worth $80.1 billion at age 58.

    Zuckerberg has proved himself anything but an idle CEO, and the results of what some have called outrageous spending are paying off in a big way.

    He bought Instagram for $1bn just before Facebook’s IPO. Crazy, some said.

    He laid out a staggering $16bn for the messaging app WhatsApp. “Insane.”

    His most recent big buy – $2bn for VR headset company Oculus Rift – has been widely labeled an extravagant boy’s toy purchase.

    He doesn’t own a music streaming site yet, although he does have a pretty solid partnership with Spotify that could easily turn into an acquisition, and he hasn’t yet made any noise about a move into video streaming, so there’s still huge growth potential.


    NOW WATCH: The Full Story Of Elon Musk Is More Awesome Than You Realize

     

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    Ken Griffin

    Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin has filed for divorce from his wife, Anne Dias-Griffin. 

    His wife's attorney told the Chicago Tribune in a statement that Griffin filed while she was on summer vacation with the kids. 

    "Ken Griffin unilaterally filed a divorce petition today with no notice to either me or my client, knowing full well that she had just left for summer vacation with their three young children and would therefore be unable to respond. Anne's highest priority remains her family, especially the well-being of her children. She is hopeful that this personal matter can be resolved privately and in the best interests of her children. We have no further comment at this time."

    Ken Griffin is the founder of Chicago-based hedge fund giant Citadel LLC. The 45-year-old hedge fund manager has an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion, according to Forbes. 

    Dias-Griffin, who was born in France, is the founder of hedge fund firm Aragon Global Management

    The pair of hedge funders were married in Versailles in 2003. 

    This is the second divorce for Griffin. He divorced his first wife in 1994.

    Here's an image of Dias-Griffin. 

    Anne Dias Griffin

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    HP_garage_front.JPG

    All of these renowned companies have proven that success truly depends on determination, faith, and hard work. No matter where you start your business or how much money you originally put into it, passion, commitment, and courage are often all you need to make your company a success.

    But in case you need some objective proof or further convincing, here are some of the biggest companies in the world, all of which were started in their founders' garages.

    Google

    Yes, the world's most famous search engine, "Google" was actually started in a garage. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, graduates from Stanford University, rented a garage from a friend, Susan Wojcicki, in September of 1998. They worked day and night for a number of months and developed what would be known as Google. Their main goal while creating the website was to organize and maintain all kinds of information on a single platform that would be accessible to common people all over the world. Today, Google is the most commonly used search engine in the world and has also launched other useful websites and applications for their customers like Gmail, Google+, and Google Drive.

    Apple

    Apple is another insanely popular international brand, but few people actually realize that it was also originated in a garage in California by three young men. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne developed the first Apple in computer in 1976 in the garage of Steve Jobs' parents house.

    The Apple I computer was sold as a motherboard to a local store for $500 and shortly thereafter, the team continued on to created the Apple II computer. Their products and company became famous when they got a break from their Macintosh line of products, from which they earned millions of dollars. Now, Apple is leading a technological revolution with their various devices including cutting edge Mac computers, iPhone, iPod, and iPad.

    Microsoft

    Every computer user knows the Microsoft brand. It's the remarkable and famous software that was once created in a small Albuquerque garage by Bill Gates and his friend Paul Allen. Both of them gave more importance to programming language and software operations and worked in collaboration with IBM. They got their first operating system licensed for $80,000. They kept working hard and some years later they developed their most impressive and exceptional operating system called "Windows." Today, Windows is the most widely used software all over the world and about 80% of computers, worldwide, are running this operating system.

    Amazon

    Amazon.com is a well known website for online shopping that was created in 1994 as an online bookstore by Jeff Bezos. He created the website in his garage in Washington, originally investing nearly $40,000 to enable him to order, sell, and deliver books to 48 different countries. He succeeded in selling his first book in July 1995, and since then he has grown the Amazon empire into the largest online shopping store in world.

    Disney

    Walt and Roy Disney created their first films in their uncle's garage in 1923. They started their career by creating "Alice Comedies," which was actually a part of the original Alice in Wonderland animation series. Disney faced a lot of hardships in the journey towards success and was only accepted by investors after enduring plenty of struggle and strife. Now, Disney one of the most popular and highest earning media houses and franchises in the world and is the leading name in producing cartoons, children movies, and animated movies.

    Hewlett-Packard (HP):

    Two friends, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, founded HP in Packard's garage in 1939 with an initial investment of only $538. The product that eventually boosted their career was an audio oscillator (HP200A), which was sold to Walt Disney to improve their sound system for the movie, Fantasia. Walt Disney bought eight oscillators and gave them the biggest break of their life. Today, the Packard's garage in Palo Alto is famous as the birthplace of HP and Silicon Valley. Since its inception, HP has developed into a powerful and active company that is developing various computers, laptops, and other computer-centric accessories with advanced technologies.

    All of these companies started with little investment capital and a small workspace, but their hard work and unwavering dedication lead them to huge success. With same type of passion and determination, you too could be the founder of the next $25b+ enterprise.

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