Illuminating Success Quotes from 10 of The World’s Most Iconic Billionaires

Why should we look to billionaires for advice? To such an ultra exclusive club with an unimaginable combined wealth of 7.3 trillion USD? What do they have to offer mere mortals like us?

Plenty, as it happens. According to Wealth-X and UBS Census, the largest segment of “new billionaires” comprises individuals who made their own fortunes. In other words, these billionaires were not spoon-fed success - 81 percent of them made the majority of their fortunes through their own initiatives. So they will have plenty to offer us: lessons learned, wisdom and insights. Below are a number of illuminating quotes from some of the world’s billionaires to inspire you to greater success.

1. Sheryl Sandberg

“Fortune does favor the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” 

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is a self-made billionaire worth $1 bn. The mother of two has become an icon for women around the world, celebrated as an example of a woman who can make it to the top in a man’s world. Sandberg is also famous for her 2013 bestseller, entitled "Lean In", which spawned legions of Lean In Circle support groups and even a Sony Pictures record deal. The source of Sandberg’s wealth is Facebook.

2. Oprah Winfrey

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

Famous enough to be known around the world simply as "Oprah", Winfrey is a self-made billionaire worth $3billion. Adored worldwide by the millions of devotees who have tuned in to her talk-show, "Oprah," for decades, she is also a role-model for ambitious women, one who has, despite her difficult beginnings, made it to the top. She is a brand in her own right; her imprimatur on any product or service guarantees credibility and gives instant appeal. The source of her wealth is television.


3. Ingvar Kamprad

"Only those who are asleep make no mistakes."

Worth $3.4 billion, Kamprad is best known for being the founder of ’cheap chic’, much loved Swedish brand Ikea, a brand synonymous with simplicity and efficiency. The source of his wealth is Ikea.

4. Richard Branson

Richard Branson

"If you’ve got a great idea that would improve people’s lives, just do it."

Worth $4.9 billion and one of the UK’s highest profiles, self-made billionaire, Richard Branson is famous around the world for being the high-school drop-out behind the stratospherically successful Virgin brand. His name is synonymous with all things entrepreneur; a high-flier who built a hugely successful conglomerate of businesses under his Virgin brand. The source of his income is his Virgin brand.


5. Elon Musk

"Going from PayPal, I thought well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity? Not from the perspective, ’what’s the best way to make money,’ which is okay, but, it was really ’what do I think is going to most affect the future of humanity.’"

Worth $12.7 billion, South-African born, self-made billionaire Elon Musk is famous around the world for being the man with the golden locks and the golden touch: he founded online payments system PayPal, luxury electric car company Tesla Motors and is the CEO and CTO of the much-talked-about Space-X, which is valued at over $10 billion. Musk is envied by men and adored by women; he’s the one who ’has it all’: beauty, brains and money. The primary source of his wealth is Tesla Motors.

6. Li Ka-shing

"Vision is perhaps our greatest strength… it has kept us alive to the power and continuity of thought through the centuries, it makes us peer into the future and lends shape to the unknown."

Famous for being Asia’s wealthiest man, Li Ka-Shing is worth $35.5 billion. He is admired around the world for his relentless energy and entrepreneurial talent: Ka-shing, who dropped out of high school, has built a far-reaching business empire (spanning 52 countries) of diversified interests which include ports, technology and retail. The source of his wealth is from his diversified range of businesses.


7. Mark Zuckerberg

"My goal was never to just create a company. A lot of people misinterpret that, as if I don’t care about revenue or profit or any of those things. But what not being "just" a company means to me is building something that actually makes a really big change in the world."

Worth $34.7 billion, self-made billionaire Zuckerberg’s iconic status is a result of his being the co-creator of social media platform Facebook. The phenomenally successful platform has over 1.4 billion users; Instagram, also owned by Facebook, boasts over 300 million users; WhatsApp, recently acquired by Facebook, has over 700 million users. The source of Zuckerberg’s wealth is Facebook.


8. Larry Ellison

“I’ve had all the disadvantages required for success.”

Worth $53.8 billion, Ellison is the CEO and founder of database software company Oracle.  He is celebrated for his ’live fast and large’ approach to life, the maverick tech genius who lives life to the full. The primary source of his billions of dollars is Oracle, although he also has significant interests in property and reputedly owns every hotel room on the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

9. Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet

"Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1."

“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”

Worth $69.7 billion, Buffet is a self-made billionaire and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a diversified holding company. For a measure of the company’s success, its highly valued "Class A" stock exceeded $200,000 per share in 2014. Buffet’s iconic status comes from having been the most successful investor of the 20th century. He is also well-known for his philanthropy. The source of his wealth is his company, Berkshire Hathaway.

10. Carlos Slim Helu

“I don’t believe too much in luck. I believe in circumstances. I believe in work.”

"When we face our problems, they disappear. So learn from failure and let success be the silent incentive.”

Worth $72.3 billion, self-made Mexican billionaire, Slim Helu made his money primarily from telecoms, and is one of the richest three people in the world. He also has the distinction of being the richest man in Mexico and enjoys his iconic status in his country as a result of his significant philanthropy: Bill Clinton described him as "one of the world’s most important philanthropists".

I hope these quotes galvanize you to greater success. Which are your own favourite billionaire quotes? Please share them in the comments box below!

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