J.K. Rowling was a single mother on welfare when she wrote “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” the first book of the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series. Rowling received 12 rejections before Bloomsbury finally agreed to buy the manuscript for about $4,000. The rest is history. By 2011, Rowling was worth approximately $1 billion.
Sara Blakely had never worked in fashion or taken a business class when she founded Spanx. But she did have $5,000 in savings and a good idea. That was enough for Blakely to turn the slimming undergarment company into a $500 million dollar-per-year machine. Along the way, Blakely’s net worth reached $1 billion and she became Forbes’ youngest female billionaire.
Jim Koch’s passion for quality craft beer is all he needed to help turn the company into America’s second-largest brewery (along with an old family recipe, of course). Shares of Boston Beer, the name behind the famous Samuel Adams brand, have doubled in the last year, making Koch, the founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Co., the first craft beer billionaire.
When Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya left Turkey for the U.S. in 1994, he had no intention of getting into the yogurt business. But following his father’s advice, Ululaya took out a loan in 2005 to buy an old Kraft Foods manufacturing plant, and in 2007 he began selling his yogurt locally. Today, Chobani is the number one selling yogurt brand in the U.S., which has made Ulukaya worth an estimated $1.1 billion.
One day while sitting in a hotel bar in Hong Kong, Dietrich Mateschitz came up with the idea to sell an energy-boosting drink similar to a popular one being sold in Asia. Despite an initial flop, Dietrich persevered — and thanks to aggressive advertising and a killer tagline, Red Bull now sells approximately 4 billion cans per year. Dietrich, Forbes estimates, is worth $7.1 billion.
Michael and Marian Ilitch got their start with one small pizza shop in 1959. The couple soon after poured their entire life savings into the restaurant. It was a good bet. That one little pizza shop became Little Caesars Pizza, the third largest pizza chain in the U.S. They are now worth a combined $2.7 billion.
Spanish native Amancio Ortega was raised poor and never received any higher education. But one day, while working as a store manager, Ortega realized that very few people could actually afford the expensive clothing he was selling. So he began hand-stitching similar designs out of cheaper fabric. He started his first factory at the age of 27, opened the first Zara in 1975 and today is the fourth richest person in the world, with a net worth of $55.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
John Paul DeJoria was homeless not once but twice before he co-founded the multi-million dollar hair care company John Paul Mitchell Systems. In fact, DeJoria was living out of his car when he and business partner Paul Mitchell launched the company with only $700. Today DeJoria is worth more than $4 billion.
Believe it or not, Oprah Winfrey was demoted early on in her career while she was working as a co-anchor for Baltimore’s WJZ-TV in 1977. But she never lost sight of her dream to be on television. Today, Oprah is the world’s most powerful celebrity and is worth about $2.8 billion, according to Forbes.
Net Worth: $1.1 billion Dorsey made a name for himself as a cofounder and leader of 140-character microblogging company Twitter, but most of his fortune is derived from his stake in mobile payment company Square. The New York University dropout is a certified masseur known for his eclectic interests, which include, among other things, punk music and clothes. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $11.7 billion A Harvard history grad, Domingo Davila is the eldest son from his jet-setting beer magnate father’s second marriage. Now a managing director at a New York-based investment advisory firm, Alejandro sits on the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (Pictured: SABMiller beer brands. SABMiller also owns Davila’s fathers Santo Domingo Group.) See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $1.3 billion Nogotkov got his start selling computer programs while in school and later began selling cordless phones. He dropped out of college in order to have more time to focus on building his business. He later founded cell phone retailer Svyaznoy. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $1.8 billion Founder and CEO of social-network game site operator Gree, Tanaka has faced stiff competition this year from archrival DeNA and a game initiative by NTT DoCoMo, the giant cellphone carrier. To get back on track, Tanaka moved to partner with Yahoo Japan and went on a buying spree. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $2.4 billion Bauer owns 85% of her family’s publishing empire. She is the fifth generation of the family to run the Bauer Media Group, which was founded in 1875. It publishes 570 magazines in 16 countries. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $1.35 billion Hariri is the son of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He’s involved in running Saudi Oger, one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest construction companies, and the source of the Hariri family fortune. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $2 billion Parker is revamping his much hyped start-up, Airtime, with the hopes that the video chat site will have the impact of his other Web companies. At 19, Parker skipped college to disrupt the recording industry with music swapping site Napster. He served as Facebook’s first president at age 24. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $1.5 billion Marie, along with siblings Emmanuel, 42, and Jean-Michel, 45, inherited French dairy giant Lactalis, producers of popular Président brie among hundreds of other cheese, milk and yogurt brands. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $1.35 billion Hariri is the youngest son of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He graduated from the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture de Paris in 2004. While still a student, he ran an interior design studio on the outskirts of the city, and sold furniture to clients in Saudi Arabia. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $5.7 billion Yang, the daughter of the founder of real estate developer Country Garden Holdings, is once again China’s richest woman. Her father transferred his stake to the Ohio State grad before the company’s IPO in 2007. (Pictured: Building owned by Country Garden Holdings in Xinhui, China.) See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $2.2 billion Facebook co-founder Saverin renounced his United States citizenship in 2011, news of which broke days before the company’s IPO and drew accusations of tax evasion. Saverin, immortalized in The Social Network as Mark Zuckerberg’s onetime best friend, settled a lengthy legal battle with Facebook, apparently receiving a 5% stake. A Brazilian citizen, he now resides in Singapore and invests in startups. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $5.1 billion Duncan is the youngest of the four children who inherited the massive fortune of late energy pipeline entrepreneur Dan Duncan, founder of Enterprise Products Partners. Today the company owns more than 50,000 miles of natural gas, oil, and petrochemical pipelines. (Petrochemical plant pictured, not necessarily affiliated with Enterprise Products Partners.) See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $1.5 billion Albert von Thurn und Taxis first appeared in Forbes’ billionaire rankings at age 8 but officially inherited his fortune in 2001 on his 18th birthday. The eligible bachelor is also a race car driver and tours with a German auto-racing league. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $13.3 billion Few CEOs of any age are under more media scrutiny than Zuckerberg (who’s only 8 days older than Moskovitz). Since taking Facebook public in May 2012, and getting married days later, the hoodie-wearing founder has seen his net worth rise and fall with every fluctuation of the stock price. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Net Worth: $3.8 billion Moskovitz, Mark Zuckerberg‘s former roommate, no longer works at Facebook, the social networking giant that he co-founded. A signee of Bill Gates‘ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, Moskovitz bikes to work, flies commercial, and pitches his own tent at Burning Man. See more of The World’s Youngest Billionaires at Forbes
Number of billionaires in 2013: 45 In 2023: 48 (up 9%) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
Number of billionaires in 2013: 40 In 2023: 55 (up 38%) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
Number of billionaires in 2013: 23 In 2023: 56 (up 143%) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
Number of billionaires in 2013: 41 In 2023: 57 (up 39 per cent) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
Number of billionaires in 2013: 81 In 2023: 96 (up 19%) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
Number of billionaires in 2013: 94 In 2023: 111 (up 18%) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
Number of billionaires in 2013: 60 In 2023: 119 (up 98%) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
Number of billionaires in 2013: 92 In 2023: 128 (up 39%) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
Number of billionaires in 2013: 179 In 2023: 322 (up 80%) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
Number of billionaires in 2013: 417 In 2023: 503 (up 21%) Source: Knight Frank Wealth Report, 2014
NEXT: RICHEST CANADIANS, ACCORDING TO FORBES
Owns the Edmonton Oilers. Katz Group owns Rexall pharmacies. Net worth: $3.3 billion Global ranking: 483 Source: Forbes billionaires list, 2014
The co-founder of Alibaba makes his debut on the Forbes list thanks to “the soaring value of the Chinese e-commerce leader ahead of a long-awaited IPO,” Forbes says. Net worth: $3.7 billion Global ranking: 408 Source: Forbes billionaires ranking, 2014
Founded pharmaceutical firm Apotex. Net worth: $3.9 billion Global ranking: 388 Source: Forbes billionaires ranking, 2014
Of Saputo dairy fame. Net worth: $4.3 billion Global ranking: 345 Pictured: Lino Saputo Source: Forbes billionaire list, 2014
Following the death of Paul Desmarais, Sr., last fall, Jacqueline controls the fortune made from Power Corporation of Canada. Net worth: $5.1 billion Global ranking: 278 Pictured: Governor General David Johnston promotes Jacqueline Desmarais within the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall Friday November 22, 2013 in Ottawa.
Owns Irving Oil. Net worth: $5.5 billion Global ranking: 256 Source: Forbes billionaire list, 2014 Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, chats with New Brunswick Premier David Alward and Arthur Irving, right, chairman of Irving Oil as he visits the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, N.B. on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013.
Owns J.D. Irving, a conglomerate with holdings in food, transportation and forestry. Net worth: $6 billion Global ranking: 234 Pictured: Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, left, and Jim Irving, J.D. Irving CEO, attend a news conference in Halifax on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013.
Jim Pattison Group owns numerous businesses including Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Net worth: $7.3 billion Global ranking: 184 Source: Forbes billionaire list, 2014
Of Loblaws/WonderBread fame. Net worth: $8.5 billion Global ranking: 153 Source: Forbes billionaire list, 2014 Pictured: Galen Weston Sr.
Of the Thomson-Reuters media empire. Net worth: $22.6 billion Global ranking: 27 Source: Forbes billionaire list, 2014
NEXT: THE FORBES GLOBAL TOP 10
Net Worth: $34.7 B
Source of wealth: Wal-Mart
Net Worth: $36.7 B
Source of wealth: Wal-Mart
Net Worth: $38 B
Source of wealth: Casinos
Net Worth: $40 B
Source of wealth: Diversified
Net Worth: $40 B
Source of wealth: Diversified
Net Worth: $48 B
Source of wealth: Oracle
Net Worth: $58.2 B
Source of wealth: Berkshire Hathaway
Net Worth: $64 B
Source of wealth: Retail
Net Worth: $72 B
Source of wealth: Telecom
Net Worth: $76 B
Source of wealth: Microsoft
Don’t just get your friend a copy of Top Gun on DVD, buy him his own jet – for just £50m. The ‘Sky Yacht One’ is on offer, a custom private jet created by Embraer and designer Eddie Sotto.
For nearly £1 million, you could get this Galpin Ford (GTR1), a top of the line super car based on the Ford GT sports car and Ford GT40.
The 20,000 square-foot residence boasts ‘zip lines, a pool, a lazy river, a helipad and a water-operated elevator’. The proposed design, by Master Wishmakers, would have five pods linked by glass walkways, with each potentially housing a gym, spa, sleeping quarters, a vivarium, a greenhouse and a library with moving bookshelves.
This 100-seat “backyard stadium”, costing £18 million, would be made by Populous, the designers of the Yankee Stadium.
For nearly £800,000, you can get some samurai-style swords. With woodwork by Salter Fine Cutlery, the blades are made from tamahagene steel and engraved by the Japanese swordsmith Shigemitsu.
You could get all this Hervé Van der Straeten furniture for the bargain basement price of £280,000.
Designed by Brown Safe Manufacturing, this swish security room can store your billionaire pal’s cash, jewelry, watches – you name it.
It’s got a 2,300 square foot sundeck, a glass bottom pool and could accommodate 12 guests and 15 crew. Designed by Bannenberg & Rowell Design, the yacht boasts a garage with port, starboard fold-down doors and a water-level beach club with large hull windows.
Just a small cost for a Triton Submarine three-person 36000/3 submersible, which can reach depths of 36,000 feet.
It’d only cost £670,000 for a unique triple-complication wristwatch from De Bethune. At least it comes in a “travel gift pack”.