20. Ingvar Kamprad
Living on a farm most of his growing up years, this Swedish business magnate had always been known for being enterprising even at a young age as he bought matches in bulk and sold them individually to his neighbors. This expanded to fish, pens and Christmas decorations. He also used the cash reward that his father gave him for good grades and used this to create a mail-order business that became the retail company IKEA. Furniture became the company’s biggest seller, which made him one of the richest men in the world today having a net worth of $3 billion.
15. John D. Rockefeller
One of six children born in Richford, New York, Rockefeller might have inherited his good business sense from his father, a traveling salesman who used all the tricks to get out of decent hard work and taught his son to always get the best deal in all things. His mom struggled to raise them and though they moved a number of times, he was able to finish school and get his first job as a bookkeeper where he earned $50 in three months. He decided to put up a firm and built an oil refinery with his friend Maurice B. Clark in 1859. He later bought out the Clark brothers’ refinery firm and renamed it Rockefeller & Andrews. He also founded the Standard Oil Company to become the world’s first billionaire and the richest person in history.
10. John Paul DeJoria
Before John Paul Mitchell Systems became a success, its founder, John Paul DeJoria had a rough life. After his parents divorced when he was just 2 years old, he sold newspapers and Christmas cards to help his family until the age of 10 when he was sent to live in a foster home. An LA gang member before he joined the military, he was also employed by Redken Laboratories. He loaned $700 and founded JPM Systems to sell his company’s shampoo door-to-door while living out of his car. Today JPM Systems’ annual profit is nearly $900 million.
5. Harold Simmons
Harold Simmons grew up in a shack in the poor rural town of Golden, Texas with no plumbing or electricity. He still managed, however, to graduate with a B.A. and masters in Economics from the University of Texas. His first venture was a series of drugstores which were almost entirely funded with a loan. This became a 100-store chain which he sold to Eckerd for $50 million. He became famous as a master of the corporate buyout and currently owns 6 companies that trade on the NYSE including the world’s largest producer of titanium, Titanium Metals Corporation.