Successful Habits of the Super Rich: The World's Top Billionaires
As the top 10 wealthiest people in the world are all CEOs of huge corporations, if not multiple businesses, they often work ridiculous hours (Elon Musk typically does a 80+ hour work week). In order to combat their endless responsibilities, these business tycoons each have developed their own techniques to run at 110% efficiency and create a bit more time for themselves. In this article, let’s look at a few of the unique habits and philosophies of the top 8 wealthiest people in the world.
Table of Contents
- Age: 57
- Born: Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Place of residence: Medina, Washington - close to the Amazon HQ in Seattle (though he also has estates in Texas, New York, D.C., and Beverly Hills)
- Education: Princeton (BSE)
- Title: Founder/Executive Chairman of Amazon, Founder of Blue Origin, and Owner of The Washington Post
- Net worth: $192.9 billion (according to Forbes 2021)
He takes all important meetings before lunch - and keeps them small. Jeff Bezos tackles the top priority tasks first thing when he begins work. He has shared how he avoids making any big decisions after 5:00PM, because due to “decision-fatigue,” your brain is already worn out from the sheer number of decisions you’ll have made by then. In fact, according to Psychology Today, we make a total of 35,000 decisions everyday, and this is cognitively-taxing, so the more decisions you make as the day goes on, your decision-making abilities get progressively worse. Returning to the topic of Bezos’ morning meetings, he has a “Two-Pizza Rule,'' in which he doesn’t hold meetings with more people than can be fed with two pies. Recent research from Stanford backs this idea up, showing that the most productive meetings have around 7 people, plus or minus 2.
He never hesitates to challenge a colleague’s opinion. Jeff Bezos doesn’t agree with the rest of the group for the sake of “social cohesion.” His ideas are expressed in Amazon’s leadership principles, which reads:
Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
- Age: 50
- Born: Pretoria, South Africa
- Place of residence: Austin, Texas
- Education: University of Pennsylvania (Bachelor’s in Economics and Physics), Stanford (left halfway through to pursue a business career)
- Title: Founder/CEO/Chief Engineer of SpaceX, CEO of Tesla, Founder of The Boring Company and X.com
- Net worth: $306.5 billion (according to Forbes 2021)
Unlike a lot of straight-laced businessmen, he makes a point of fully enjoying himself wherever he is and doesn’t take life too seriously. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and The Quest for a Fantastic Future, written by Ashlee Vance from Businessweek, shared some surprising anecdotes about Musk, showing his childlike love of fun:
- He funded his college in Ontario by turning his frat house into a nightclub
- For his 30th birthday, he rented an entire English castle to play extreme hide-and-seek all night with his closest friends
- He has plans to build a roller coaster on the SpaceX campus, because why not?
Still, managing both Tesla and SpaceX simultaneously leaves him with barely any free time. But he manages to be more efficient through multitasking, wherever he is. If Musk is sitting in on a meeting, he’ll also be responding to other tasks on his phone - this two birds with one stone method is what he calls “batching.” He’s also known for abruptly walking out of meetings if he feels he doesn’t need to be there or they are a waste of his time. Moreover, he avoids time-consuming phone calls and always opts for text or email as a mode of communication. And he uses an obscure email address so not many people can spam his inbox, and he can focus on the important issues at hand.
- Age: 72
- Born: Roubaix, France
- Place of residence: Paris, France
- Education: Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau
- Title: Chairman/CEO of LMVH, Chairman of Christian Dior SE
- Net worth: $191.7 billion (according to Forbes 2021)
Arnault has a deep appreciation for art and regularly practices classical piano and is well-known as an art collector. According to Bloomberg, he has collected the works of Claude Monet, Mark Rothko, Picasso, Yves Klein, Henry Moore, Andy Warhol and Bernard Buffet.
He believes in the importance of keeping an entrepreneurial spirit, and running even a large company as if it was a startup. Because of this, rather than regular check-ins with others at the top of management, he purposefully chooses to visit the local stores every work. Arnault makes sure to frequently engage with their customers and designers when they’re at work. This way, he can confirm that his vision is understood and is being realized at all corners of his business.
- Age: 66
- Born: Seattle, Washington
- Place of residence: Medina, Washington
- Education: Harvard (dropped out)
- Title: Co-founder of Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, chairman/founder of Branded Entertainment Network, chairman/founder of Cascade Investment, founder of Breakthrough Energy
- Net worth: $138 billion (according to Forbes 2021)
Bill Gates checks the headlines first thing every morning and voices his opinions online. He generally browses The New York Times, The Wallstreet Journal, and The Economist, and then responds to these events or topics on Twitter or his personal blog.
Gates breaks his day down into 5-minute chunks. As a very busy person, every moment of every day is carefully planned. This scheduling method is actually used by Elon Musk as well, who works an average of 80+ hours per week. Anyway, unless your schedule looks the same, it’s a bit extreme to schedule your to-dos this precisely. However, you could get more done in less time if you set a more specific time limit for each task - like 15 minutes to clean the house, 30 minutes to go for a run, 40 minutes to cook and eat dinner, and so on.
- Age: 37
- Born: White Plains, New York
- Place of residence: Palo Alto, California
- Education: Harvard (dropped out his sophomore year to focus on Facebook)
- Title: Co-founder and CEO of Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), co-founder and co-CEO of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
- Net worth: $117.4 billion (according to Forbes 2021)
Mark Zuckerberg’s “work uniform” consists of the same outfit everyday: jeans, sneakers, and a gray t-shirt. Similar to the late Steve Jobs’ philosophy, he doesn’t want to waste energy on small decisions. So in the morning, he throws on the same exact outfit everyday to go into the office. Zuckerberg isn’t picky about what he has for breakfast either, he’ll just dig into whatever is around, rather than thinking too much about it.
He lives in an AI-powered house that he programmed himself, called Jarvis. Zuckerberg created an original IoT-type home, that perfectly fits his family needs, from notifying him when their baby wakes up to setting up his office for a virtual meeting. It even appears to be voiced by Morgan Freeman. Check out this video to see Jarvis in action.
- Age: 91
- Born: Omaha, Nebraska
- Place of residence: Omaha, Nebraska
- Education: University of Pennsylvania, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (BS), Columbia (MS)
- Title: CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
- Net worth: $104.7 billion (according to Forbes 2021)
“I read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge builds up, like compound interest.All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” Warren Buffet, like many successful businessmen, values continuous learning. He devotes 80% of his day to reading (be it the news, financial reports, or books), and in the early days of his investment career he used to read 600-1000 pages per day. That’s what you call a voracious reader - even at age 91, he still wants to keep learning and bettering himself from it.
- Age: 77
- Born: South Africa
- Place of residence: Lanai, Hawaii
- Education: University of Illinois, The University of Chicago
- Title: Co-founder and CTO of Oracle Corporation
- Net worth: $130 billion (according to Forbes 2021)
His self-prescribed addiction to winning is what drives him - not cheap efficiency hacks that many other billionaires follow. Larry Ellison will stop at nothing to be the best at what he does, and has even hired spies to look through Bill Gates’s garbage to find some dirt on him, as his rival. We’re definitely not saying this is role-model behavior, but his winner’s attitude has certainly brought him far. It’s essential for a leader to build confidence in his/herself, and this can be done through a series of small experiences of success. Ellison competes in both business conferences and yacht races, and these repeated experiences of winning give him the self-assuredness he needs to lead a multinational corporation.
- Age: 48
- Born: Lansing, Michigan
- Place of residence: Palo Alto, California
- Education: University of Michigan (BS), Stanford (MS)
- Title: Co-founder of Google and Alphabet Inc. (with Sergey Brin)
- Net worth: $124.2 billion (according to Forbes 2021)
Larry Page avoids delegating tasks - anything he is capable of quickly finishing on his own, he doesn’t ask anyone for help. Though this is a controversial management style for sure, Page believes that it is a more effective use of everyone’s time if he completes all tasks in his area of specialty on his own, rather than teaching someone else how to do it.
He tries to make decisions as swiftly as possible. When Page became the CEO of Google in 2011 (until 2015), he sent out a company-wide email with the subject line “how to run meetings effectively.” In this email, he attested that there should always be one final decision maker at every meeting. But first, in many cases there needn’t even be a meeting. With decisions you can make immediately without scheduling a meeting, Page says to just get them finished with without the fuss.