Generally speaking, when entering the worlds of business, finance, investments, etc., many people strive to reach that elite stratosphere known as the one percent. Yachts, mansions, extravagant parties, it’s all romanticized in television and cinema. But what is typically left out by Hollywood is the hard work, determination and smart thinking that becoming successful and wealthy requires. That being said, I rounded up some of the best pieces of advice that the world’s wealthiest could offer.
It may seem like the obvious choice—possibly even cliché—to start off with Bill Gates, but when you’ve been the richest man in the world for a combined total of 17 years, it makes sense to choose him. And as the world’s current richest person, it also makes sense to heed his advice. In a recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit (in which Bill Gates answers questions asked by the platform’s users), one user posed the question, “If you could give 19-year-old Bill Gates some advice, what would it be?” And Bill gave a tremendous answer, saying:
“I would explain that smartness is not single dimensional and not quite as important as I thought it was back then. I would say you might explore the developing world before you get into your forties. I wasn’t very good socially back then but I am not sure there is advice that would fix that – maybe I had to be awkward and just grow up….”
The second richest man in the world, valued at $75.6 billion, is also one of the most intriguing. With the massive amount of wealth that he has accrued, one would assume that Buffett lives a life of extravagance; he does not. According to multiple reports, Buffett still lives in the same house he purchased in 1958, has a simple diet of fast food, and distances himself from luxurious objects. And yet, his advice to live a simple life is not his most inspiring. Buffett’s recent documentary, “Becoming Warren Buffett,” in which the self-made billionaire sits in front of a high school class and gives advice on life, gave much more of an insightful look at his character. In the documentary, Buffett discusses the importance of being a good, decent person, and how treating others with respect leads to far more success in business. He also mentions that honesty is far better than being dishonest. Great advice, from a great man.
The Founder and CEO of the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos is certainly a savvy businessman. He is also one of the richest people in the world, with an estimated net worth of $72.8 billion. He is also one of the most prolific advisors in the world, having written a letter to his company’s shareholders every year since 1997, according to a report from Business Insider. While I won’t go through each and every piece of advice that he gave, I will point out a few of the most helpful tips. Regarding failure, Bezos believes that you need to take risks every now and then. He claims that, “swinging for the fences,” leads to failure, but it can also lead to tremendous success. He also stresses that “working backwards” is imperative to creating a successful business. He believes that by focusing on customer needs and desires, you must then focus on developing new skills and competencies, which allows you to stay fresh and relevant; and by sticking with your core skills and never developing them or adding new ones, you can quickly become “outmoded.”