In a global economy that roars continuously forward at lightning speed, fortunes can potentially be made and lost in the span of a day. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index is a daily ranking of the world’s 500 richest individuals. While many of the names in the top ten have become as iconic in their own right as the tech companies that propelled them to wealth and fame, there is always room for a few surprises. In addition to their business acumen and accomplishments, many of the men on the list are also active philanthropists. And if the thought of all that wealth feels intimidating and out of reach, consider the fact that the ten richest people on Bloomberg’s billionaire index are all self-made, many with humble and unremarkable beginnings.
Note that the specific rankings change frequently with stock price moves.
1…Jeff Bezos (Total net worth $99.6B)
Jeff Bezos has become synonymous with his company, Amazon, the online book retailer turned global e-commerce juggernaut he founded in Seattle in 1994. Mr. Bezos still runs Amazon, ranked the world’s fourth-largest information technology company by revenue. In addition to retail and tech, Amazon has also ventured into the streaming game, with a number of original shows in development.
When Amazon’s stock price surges up, Bezos edges out Bill Gates and moves into the pole position on Bloomberg’s Index. When Amazon’s stock eases up, Bezos tends to slip into the second position.
“There are two kinds of companies, those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second.”
– Jeff Bezos
Born: January 12, 1964 (age 53) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Spouse: MacKenzie Tuttle
2…Bill Gates (Total net worth $89.9B)
It might come as a surprise that Bill Gates, who has dominated “world’s richest” lists for well over a decade and usually tops the index at number one, is currently is second place. But note that he’s neck-and-neck with Jeff Bezos, so depending on the day and the stock market, he still toggles between #1 and #2.
As co-founder of Microsoft, Mr. Gates still holds a 2.4 percent stake in the company, along with a portfolio of diversified assets through a number of publicly traded companies across multiple business sectors, including Canada’s biggest railroad operator. Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Giving Pledge, Mr. Gates has pledged a large portion of his fortune to help solve some of the world’s most pressing public health problems.
“The PC has improved the world in just about every area you can think of. Amazing developments in communications, collaboration and efficiencies. New kinds of entertainment and social media. Access to information and the ability to give a voice people who would never have been heard of.”
– Bill Gates
Born: October 28, 1955 Seattle, Washington, USA
Spouse: Melinda Gates
3…Warren Buffett (Total net worth $83.1B)
Warren “the Oracle of Omaha” Buffett’s origin story is as American as the proverbial apple pie. Known as one of the most successful and prolific investors of all time, Mr. Buffett famously began his professional career as a paperboy and rode an enviable work ethic all the way to the top of the finance world, culminating with his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway. Fun fact: Berkshire Hathaway was originally a textile manufacturer, which eventually came to be the umbrella for 60+ companies under management.
“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”
– Warren Buffett
Born: August 30, 1930 (age 87), in Omaha, NE, USA
Spouse: Astrid Menks
4…Amancio Ortega (Total net worth $76.2B)
The tech sector may account for the largest slice of the pie, but the third richest billionaire in the world and number one in Europe is the head of retail giant Inditex Ventures, most famous for the Zara fast-fashion clothing chain. A quintessential “rags-to-riches” success story, Amancio Ortega rose from a humble working class background in Spain to run a multinational retail empire, where he continues to work to this day at the age of 80.
“In the street, I only want to be recognised by my family, my friends and people I work with.”
– Amancio Ortega
Born: 28 March 1936 (age 81) in Busdongo de Arbás, León, Spain
Spouse: Flora Pérez Marcote
5…Mark Zuckerberg (Total net worth $73.1B)
Like most of the famous tech entrepreneurs on the list, Mark Zuckerberg needs no introduction. Like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg famously left Harvard early to work on the social network that would come to change the world and influence everything from politics and media to interpersonal communications. As co-founder and current Chairman and CEO of Facebook, Mr. Zuckerberg is the youngest member of the list.
“The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete.”
– Mark Zuckerberg
Born: May 14, 1984 (age 33) in White Plains, New York, USA
Spouse: Priscilla Chan
6…Carlos Slim (Total net worth $62.1B)
Best known for his stake in Latin American telecom company America Movil, Carlos Slim also has holdings in a number of international companies across various sectors in Mexico, as well as recognizable American companies like The New York Times and Philip Morris.
“The better off you are, the more responsibility you have for helping others. Just as it’s important to run companies well, with a close eye to the bottom line, you have to use your entrepreneurial experience to make corporate philanthropy effective.”
– Carlos Slim
Born: January 28, 1940 (age 77) in Mexico City, Mexico
Spouse: Soumaya Domit
7…Bernard Arnault (Total net worth $61.6B)
The other European on the list also made his fortune in the retail sector. As chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault controls the world’s biggest luxury goods house, which in addition to the beloved Louis Vuitton brand also includes high profile brands like Tag Heuer and Dom Perignon champagne.
“If you deeply appreciate and love what creative people do and how they think, which is usually in unpredictable and irrational ways, then you can start to understand them. And finally, you can see inside their minds and DNA.”
– Bernard Arnault
Born: 5 March 1949 (age 68) in Roubaix, France
Spouse: Hélène Mercier
8…Larry Ellison (Total net worth $54.4B)
Larry Ellison made his name (and fortune) as the founder of legendary database company Oracle. While his roughly 25 percent stake in Oracle may account for a large portion of his wealth, Mr. Ellison also holds a diversified portfolio with investments across a number of industries, namely real estate and professional sports (including a sailing team and the tennis tournament at Indian Wells in California).
“There’s a wonderful saying that’s dead wrong. ‘Why did you climb the mountain?’ ‘I climbed the mountain because it was there.’ That’s utter nonsense…You climbed the mountain because you were there, and you were curious if you could do it. You wondered what it would be like.”
– Larry Ellison
Born: August 17, 1944 (age 73) in Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Spouse: NA (multiple divorces)
9…Larry Page (Total net worth $51.5B)
With his partner Sergey Brin (no. 10), Larry Page claimed his place in history and helped to change the world as the co-founder of Google. As CEO of Google’s holding company (Alphabet), Larry Page controls the world’s largest search engine operator.
“For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better”
– Larry Page
Born: March 26, 1973 (age 44) in East Lansing, Michigan, USA
Spouse: Lucinda Page
10…Ingvar Kamprad (Total net worth $50.6B)
Claim to Fame: He’s the founder of IKEA, a Swedish retail company specialising in furniture.
“Happiness is not reaching your goal. Happiness is being on the way.”
– Ingvar Kamprad
Born: March 30, 1926 Pjätteryd, Sweden
Spouse: Kerstin Wadling
11…Sergey Brin (Total net worth $50.2B)
As co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin is a member of the elite group of tech titans that got their start in a San Francisco area garage. President of Alphabet, Mr. Brin has also had a hand in Google’s innovative offshoot Google X, where the company’s many geniuses are hard at work on various “moon shots,” working to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. In addition to his role in inventions like Google Glass, Sergey Brin went a little off-brand in 2007 to executive produce the movie “Broken Arrow” with his co-founder Larry Page.
“Obviously, everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world.”
– Sergey Brin
Nationality: American (Soviet until 1979)
Born: August 21, 1973 (age 44) in Moscow, Soviet Union
Spouse: Anne Wojcicki
12…David H. Koch (Total net worth $47.8B)
Claim to Fame: He and his brother Charles are major donors to political advocacy groups and campaigns, almost entirely Republican.
“I’m basically a libertarian, and I’m a conservative on economic matters, and I’m a social liberal.”
– David Koch
Born: May 3, 1940
Spouse: Julia Flesher
13…Charles Koch (Total net worth $47.8B)
Claim to Fame: He and his brother David are major donors to political advocacy groups and campaigns, almost entirely Republican.
“The role of business in society is to help people improve their lives by providing products and services they value more highly than their alternatives, and to do so while consuming fewer resources.”
– Charles Koch
Born: November 1, 1935
Spouse: Liz Koch
Claim to Fame: Rob served as Chairman of Walmart from 1992 to 2015.
“I learned from my dad that change and experimentation are constants and important. You have to keep trying new things.”
– Rob Walton
Born: October 28, 1944
Spouse: Carolyn Funk (divorced)
15…Jack Ma (Total net worth $46.2B)
Claim to Fame: Jack is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group.
“I don’t want to be liked. I want to be respected.”
– Jack Ma
Born: September 10, 1964 (age 53) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
Spouse: Cathy Zh?ng Y?ng
16…Jim Walton (Total net worth $45.6B)
Claim to Fame: Jim is the youngest son of Sam Walton, the founder of the world’s largest retailer, Walmart.
Born: June 7, 1948 (age 69) in Newport, Arkansas.
Spouse: Lynne McNabb
17…Alice Walton (Total net worth $44.9B)
Claim to Fame: Alice is the wealthiest woman in the world! She is the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.
“One of the great responsibilities that I have is to manage my assets wisely, so that they create value.”
– Alice Walton
Born: October 7, 1949 (age 68) in Newport, Arkansas
18…Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (Total net worth $44.3B)
Claim to Fame: Francoise is a board member of L’Oréal
Born: June 7, 1948 (age 69) in Newport, Arkansas.
Spouse: Jean-Pierre Meyers
19…Pony Ma (Total net worth $40.2B)
Claim to Fame: Pony Ma is the founder, chairman and CEO of Tencent.
“The leader of the market today may not necessarily be the leader tomorrow. ”
– Pony Ma
Born: October 29, 1971 (age 46) in Chaoyang District, Shantou, Guangdong, China.
20…Mukesh Ambani (Total net worth $39.8B)
Claim to Fame: Mukesh refines petrochemicals. He also owns the Indian Premier League franchise the Mumbai Indians.
“It is important to achieve our goals, but not at any cost.”
– Mukesh Ambani
Born: April 19, 1957 (age 60) in Aden, Colony of Aden
Spouse: Nita Ambani
21…Sheldon Adelson (Total net worth $35.5B)
Claim to Fame: Sheldon is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
“Achievement is the motivation of entrepreneurs.”
– Sheldon Adelson
Born: August 4, 1933 (age 84) in Boston, Massachusetts.
Spouse: Miriam Ochsorn
22…Hui Ka Yan (Total net worth $34.5B)
Claim to Fame: Hui Ka Yan is the Founder and Chairman of the Evergrande Real Estate Group
Born: 1958 in Taikang County, Zhoukou, Henan, China.
23…Steve Balmer (Total net worth $34.2B)
Claim to Fame: Steve was the CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014, and is now the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.
“I loved every minute of my time at Microsoft, but I had always envisioned having another phase of life just because I thought that would be interesting. It had never been my plan to work until I literally didn’t want to do anything and then hang it up.”
– Steve Balmer
Born: March 24, 1956 (age 61) in Detroit, Michigan.
Spouse: Connie Snyder
24…Li Ka-Shing (Total net worth $33.7B)
Claim to Fame: He’s now one of Asia’s most generous philanthropists.
Born: July 29, 1928 (age 89) in Chaozhou, Guangdong, China.
Spouse: Chong Yuet Ming
25…Jacqueline Mars (Total net worth $33.4B)
Claim to Fame: Heiress and granddaughter of the founder of the American candy company Mars, Incorporated.
Born: October 10, 1939 (age 78)