The minds of the world's wealthiest

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

While enjoying champagne and caviar in Barcelona's Sofia Hyatt Hotel, with fellow professors currently conducting an academic colloquium for Europe's top 100 students, we talked about the relationship between academic achievements and financial wealth. Our conclusion is a great bafflement: High academic achievers aren’t doing well in business and financial performance.

Most of the wealthy guys weren’t really summa cum laudes, many of them were college dropouts like Bill Gates. Top of the line is Elon Musk, 51, net worth $224 billion and residing in Texas. He obtained his BS in the University of Pennsylvania but he dropped out from Stanford and founded SpaceX. His wealth includes 16% ownership of Tesla, and he invested a lot in space exploration, and other high-tech companies like Boeing and Twitter. Second is Jeff Bezos, 58, net worth $144 billion, residing in Washington. He owns 10% of Amazon worth $120 billion. He also owns the Washington Post, worth $250 million. Bezos got his college degree from Princeton University. Bezos and two others completed a space flight on July 20, 2021, reaching 66 miles altitude in a spacecraft manufactured by Blue Origin, his own aerospace company.

Third is Bernard Arnault, 73, net worth $136 billion living in Paris, France. He owns Christian Dior worth $110 billion and shares in Hermes worth $11.1 billion. He is also chairman and CEO of LVMH that owns Louis Vuitton, Hennessey, Marc Jacobs, and Sephora. He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and Lycee Faidherbe. The fourth placer used to be the world's richest before he gave away the bulk of his wealth. Bill Gates, 66, is worth $123 billion who only owns 1.3% of Microsoft, the company he built with his classmate Paul Allen. He lives alone in Seattle, Washington, where he washes his own dishes and drives his own car. He reportedly paid his former wife Melinda $60 billion as a divorce settlement. They remain friends and partners in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, their NGO used in giving away their wealth to the world's neediest.

Fifth place Warren Buffet, 91, the biggest contributor to the Gates Foundation, and a friend of both Bill and Melinda. He is worth $114 billion and owns 16% of Berkshire Hathaway worth $113 billion. He lives in Nebraska. He started investing in stocks at 14 and never stopped since. He graduated from three universities: University of Pennsylvania, University of Nebraska, and Columbia University. Sixth is Larry Page, 49, net worth $103 billion, residing in California, co-founder of Alphabet, of which he owns 6% worth $88 billion. He is an alumnus of both the University of Michigan and Stanford University. Seventh is Sergey Brin, 48, net worth $99.1 billion and residing in California. He was the co-founder of Alphabet and a graduate of both the University of Maryland and Stanford University.

Eighth is the newest guy in the block, Gautam Adani, 59, net worth $98.1 billion and living in Gurgaon, India. He made his wealth in port management, energy, and other businesses. He dropped out of Gujarat University and made himself a multi-billionaire using investments. Ninth is Mukesh Ambani, 65, worth $96 billion and residing in Mumbai, India. He dropped out of Stanford and engaged in the textile business, chemicals, gas and related businesses. Tenth is Steve Ballmer, 66, net worth $95.9 billion. He owns 4% of Microsoft worth $86.8 billion. He dropped out of Stanford. He oversaw Microsoft's purchase of Skype for 8.5 billion

Thus, we conclude that the most brilliant are not the wealthiest, and the wealthiest aren’t necessarily the most academically accomplished. There is no essential correlation between wealth and high intelligence and high academic credentials. The formula for wealth is much more complicated. That is why we, professors, are among the poorest in the world. But our self-actualization is never anchored on wealth. We have a different hierarchy of values.


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