Simple Advice From The World’s Most Legendary Billionaires

The wealthiest people in the world may seem like some of the most unrelatable folk on the planet but in actuality, not all of the world’s billionaires were born with silver spoons in their mouths.

From pioneers in technology to the legends who led the industrial revolution in the 19th century, these people worked really hard to start their businesses and they undoubtedly acquired some excellent wisdom along the way. Read on to see what Mark Zuckerberg asks himself every day and find out what Andrew Carnegie found to be the most important part of building a successful business.

Warren Buffett’s Advice Is Simple And Effective

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, testifies before the Senate Finance Committee during a hearing on the Federal Estate Tax on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, 14 November 2007.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

“Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.”

Warren Buffett, named the third-richest billionaire in the world in 2019, has managed to keep growing his daily fortune which now sits at an $89.9 billion net worth. Buffett is the CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company that owns companies like Duracell, Dairy Queen, and GEICO, to name a few.

In 2010, Buffett and Bill Gates started the Giving Pledge, which asks billionaires to commit to donating half of their wealth to charity. Buffett himself has promised to donate 99-percent of his fortune and donated $3.4 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2018.

Carlos Slim Doesn’t Worry About What People Say

Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Helu, one of the world's richest men, smiles during a panel discussion about Latin America at the Clinton Global Initiative September 27, 2007 in New York.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

“When you live for others’ opinions, you are dead.”

Carlos Slim Helú is the richest man in Latin America with an estimated net worth of $63.1 billion as of 2019. Through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso, the businessman owns America Movil, Latin America’s largest mobile telecom firm, through which Slim also has a stake in Telmex, Mexico’s sole phone company.

Additionally, Slim is also the largest single shareholder of The New York Times Company, of which he owns 17 percent. Grupo Carso also includes a number of stakes in mining, real estate, Mexican construction, and more.

Ted Turner Laughs In The Face Of Doubt

Turner Enterprises CEO Ted Turner address the Newsmaker Luncheon on renewable and alternative energy at the National Press Club April 19, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“I just love it when people say I can’t do it, there’s nothing that makes me feel better because all my life, people have said that I wasn’t going to make it.”

Media mogul Ted Turner has a net worth of $2.2 billion as of 2019, despite the fact that his fortune took a blow when Time Warner, who he previously sold Turner Broadcasting to for $7.3 billion in stock in 1996, acquired AOL in 2001.

Turner Broadcasting was grown out of Turner’s father’s advertising firm, with which he founded the first 24-hour news channel Cable News Network (CNN).

J. Paul Getty Was All About His Frugality With His Fortune

Oil multi-millionaire and art collector, J. Paul Getty (1892 - 1976) with a glass of wine.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.”

During the Great Depression, J. Paul Getty acquired Pacific Western Oil Corporation and Mission Corporation, which included Tidewater Oil and Skelly Oil. In 1967, Getty merged all of his acquisitions to form Getty Oil, which made him the richest living American at the time.

Getty was considerably frugal despite his wealth, so much so that he negotiated a smaller ransom for his kidnapped grandson in 1973. At the time of his death in 1976, Getty was worth more than $6 billion and the Getty family today has a net worth over $5 billion.

Ingvar Kamprad Says Mistakes Are A Part Of Life

ngvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, is seen after being presented the Lifetime Achievment Award by Princess Victoria of Sweden at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Centenery Celebrations on May 12, 2006 in London, England.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“Only those who are asleep make no mistakes.”

Ingvar Kamprad is the founder of IKEA. He started the company in 1943 when he was just 17 and began selling replicas of his uncle’s kitchen table. Kamprad opened his first furniture store in 1947 and in the decades that followed, IKEA grew to become one of the world’s most successful retailers.

Though IKEA was later owned by a foundation in Lichtenstein, Kamprad still kept his billionaire status. At the time of his death in 2018, Kamprad had an estimated net worth of over $3 billion.

Richard Branson Values Originality And Blazing New Paths

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson attends the Conversations In A Cloud Pop-Up Business Panel at the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Bar pop-up on Wall Street on October 2, 2012 in New York City.
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

“We’re going where no one has gone before. There’s no model to follow, nothing to copy. That is what makes this so exciting.”

British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson founded the conglomerate Virgin Group, which spurred out of the chain of Virgin Records stores he started in 1972. Throughout the ’80s, the Virgin brand expanded considerably as he launched the Virgin Records music label and Virgin Atlantic airline.

With a net worth of $4 billion, Branson still plans of going where no one has gone before after founding spaceflight corporation Virgin Galactic in 2004.

Steve Jobs Was A Visionary As This Famous Quote Reveals

Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds a new mini iPod at Macworld January 6, 2004 in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

After dropping out of college, Steve Jobs co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976. Eight years later, they hit a breakthrough with the advent of the Macintosh, the first mass-produced computer with a graphical user interface. The following year, Jobs was ousted out of the company but returned in 1996 and continuously introduced a cycle of coveted Apple computers, music players, and phones.

At the time of his death in 2011, Jobs had a net worth of $7 billion.

Oprah Winfrey Believes In A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Oprah Winfrey speaks onstage during Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations at PlayStation Theater on February 05, 2019 in New York City.
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for THR
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for THR

“You become what you believe. You are where you are today in your life based on everything you have believed.”

Oprah Winfrey knows a thing or two about self-worth. Born into poverty in 1954, Winfrey would later go on to become America’s first black multi-billionaire and perhaps the most influential woman in the world. Landing a job in radio while in high school, Winfrey became a co-anchor for her local evening news at 19.

Her anchor job led to her own talk show which aired for 25 years, after which she expanded it into a media and business empire.

Sam Walton Was A Strong Believer In Teamwork Above Everything

Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, US retail chain, shown in a photo dated 05 April 1992 taken in Little Rock.

“We’re all working together; that’s the secret.”

Sam Walton founded the very first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962 and after going public eight years later, Wal-Mart would go on to become the largest retailer in the world with nearly $500 billion in sales today.

Indeed, everyone in Walton’s family works together to uphold Wal-Mart stores. After his death in 1992, Walton left his company to his wife and their children. Today, the Walton family is considered the richest family in America with a net worth of $130 billion as of 2016.

Aristotle Onassis Was Big On Understanding The Yet To Be Understood

Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Socrates Onassis (1906 - 1975) in his Monte Carlo office.
Slim Aarons/Getty Images
Slim Aarons/Getty Images

“The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.”

Starting out as a lowly telephone engineer in 1923, Aristotle Onassis began eavesdropping on business calls and used that information to set up his own deals. Instead of taking over his family’s cigarette business, Onassis started his own and soon realized that shipping magnates made more money hauling tobacco than cigarette manufacturers did.

Investing in his shipping business for cheap prices during the Great Depression, Onassis soon had the world’s largest privately-owned shipping fleet. Later in life, the billionaire was known for marrying the widowed Jacqueline Kennedy in 1968.

Andrew Carnegie’s Advice Is A People Watcher’s Dream Come True

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) American industrialist and humanitarian philanthropist, 1913.
APIC/Getty Images
APIC/Getty Images

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie became one of the richest Americans in history through his vast expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He learned about business while working in the railroad industry, during which time he made many investments that helped him start the Carnegie Steel Company.

He built steel plants across the nation, owning every single component of the business from raw materials, ships, railroads, and coal for fuel. Later in life, he became a philanthropist, writing an 1889 article titled “Wealth” which stated that those with great wealth should use their assets to help others.

Jeff Bezos Believes In Contradiction As A Tool For Success

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, founder of space venture Blue Origin and owner of The Washington Post, participates in an event hosted by the Air Force Association September 19, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

“It’s perfectly healthy—encouraged, even—to have an idea tomorrow that contradicted your idea today.”

Jeff Bezos is officially the richest man in the world in 2019 and the first centi-billionaire on the Forbes wealth index with a net worth of $156.5 billion. Bezos acquired his wealth after he founded Amazon out of his garage in 1994 after quitting his job as senior vice-president of D.E. Shaw & Co.

Amazon is a pioneer in the e-commerce sector, offering a vast array of products and services. In 2013, Bezos added to his immense wealth after purchasing The Washington Post for $250 million cash.

Bill Gates Believes Success Can Be A Dangerous Crutch That Leads To Failure

Co-chairman and co-founder of the The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates speaks to the media after his meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace on April 16, 2018 in Paris, France.
Chesnot/Getty Images
Chesnot/Getty Images

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

With a net worth of $96.5 billion in 2019, Bill Gates is the second richest man in the world. He is the principal founder of the world’s largest PC software company, Microsoft Corporation. Gates was the chairman, CEO, and chief software architect of Microsoft until May 2014.

At that point, he stepped down from his post at Microsoft to focus full time on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation. So far, Gates has donated $38.5 billion worth of Microsoft stock to his foundation.

Bernard Arnault Doesn’t Want Business People To Pay Attention To Profitability

LVMH luxury group CEO Bernard Arnault attends the Viva Technology show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 25, 2018 in Paris, France.174
Chesnot/Getty Images
Chesnot/Getty Images

“Money is just a consequence. I always say to my team, ‘Don’t worry too much about profitability. If you do your job well, the profitability will come.'”

Bernard Arnault is the chairman and Chief Executive of the world’s largest luxury-goods company, LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE. As a result, Arnault is not only the fourth wealthiest man in the world but also the wealthiest man in all of Europe with a net worth of $76 billion.

Arnault pledged $220 million to help repair Paris’s historic Notre Dame cathedral after the accidental fire that broke out in April 2019.

John D. Rockefeller Was A Strong Believer In Perseverance More Than Anything Else

John Davidson Rockefeller (1839-1937), the American oil magnate and philanthropist sits writing at his desk.
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”

Considered the wealthiest American of all time, John D. Rockefeller made his immense fortune during the late 19th century by founding the Standard Oil Company in 1870. Ten years later, Rockefeller controlled 90-percent of all oil in the United States.

The government broke up Standard Oil in 1911 amid price-fixing allegations but by then, Rockefeller was the country’s first billionaire. Today, his wealth would be worth $253 billion.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Was All About Proving His Point

American shipping magnate and financier Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794 - 1877).
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“I don’t care half so much about making money as I do about making my point, and coming out ahead.”

In the early 19th century, Cornelius Vanderbilt quit school at age 11 to work on his father’s ferry in New York Harbor, before eventually starting his own business doing the same thing. Vanderbilt ferried passengers and freight across the harbor, undercutting the competition so hard that they paid him to stay out of the market.

By then, he began investing in the budding railroad industry, eventually owning the New York Central Railroad. Vanderbilt was known as “The Commodore” and his wealth by today’s standards would equate to $205 billion.

Henry Ford Says There’s Only One Kind Of Mistake

A smiling Henry Ford as he rode away from the White House after having had lunch with President Roosevelt, Washington DC, April 27, 1938.
Underwood Archives/Getty Images
Underwood Archives/Getty Images

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company, which manufactured the first affordable automobile for middle-class Americans. His Model T car revolutionized transportation as well as industry, as he is attributed to the concept of “Fordism,” which was to mass produce inexpensive goods while paying workers high wages.

Ford combined assembly lines with interchangeable parts to produce cars at a fraction of the cost, all while paying his employees a generous five-dollar wage, by the standards of the early 1900s. His wealth today would be worth $67.2 billion.

Michael Bloomberg Says Entrepreneurship Isn’t What Everyone Thinks

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, at a press conference, in front of a portrait of Britain
Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images
Jeff Overs/BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images

“Being an entrepreneur isn’t really about starting a business. It’s a way of looking at the world: seeing opportunity where others see obstacles, taking risks when others take refuge.”

American businessman Michael Bloomberg is the ninth wealthiest person in the world in 2019 with a net worth of $55.5 billion. Much of his wealth was acquired as the founder, CEO, and owner of the financial, data, software, and media company Bloomberg L.P. He was also the mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013.

Bloomberg is a part of The Giving Pledge, vowing to give away at least half of his wealth to philanthropic causes.

Mark Zuckerberg Asks Himself One Question Every Morning

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaves the Elysee Presidential Palace after the
Chesnot/Getty Images
Chesnot/Getty Images

“The question I ask myself like almost every day is, ‘Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing?'”

Mark Zuckerberg is the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Facebook. He launched the site with the help of colleagues while attending Harvard University in 2004 and reached one billion users by 2012. The eighth wealthiest person in the world, Zuckerberg has a net worth of $62.3 billion but his status as the leader of Facebook lately has been controversial at best.

Facebook is constantly blamed for the proliferation of fake news and abuse, leading Zuckerberg to announce that tackling social issues is his priority in 2019.

Amancio Ortega Doesn’t Like To Remain Stagnant In Life

Amancio Ortega attends during CSI Casas Novas Horse Jumping Competition on July 29, 2017 in A Coruna, Spain.
fotopress/Getty Images
fotopress/Getty Images

“We cannot limit ourselves to continuing on the path we have already opened.”

Spanish businessman Amancio Ortega is the sixth wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $62.7 billion. Ortega reportedly earns annual dividends of more than $400 million as the founder and former chairman of Inditex fashion group, which is primarily known for its fashion chain Zara.

Ortega is considered a pioneer in the fast fashion market, having founded Zara with his ex-wife Rosalia Mera. He now owns around 60-percent of Inditex, which houses eight fashion brands and owns 7,500 stores globally.