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People Who Went From Rags To Riches

Sunday, Aug 16, 2020, 5:02 pm

1.Oprah Winfrey

The lady smiling in this picture has plenty to smile about. She is probably the best known and most inspirational rags-to-riches story in the world. As a child she grew up so poor that she wore dresses made out of potato sacks. These days the TV host has a few more fashion options. Her net worth is roughly 2.7 billion dollars.

2.J.K. Rowling

Years before her name would became one recognized around the world, this author was a divorced woman with a child she struggled to support. In fact she spent a brief period of her life on welfare before deciding to pursue a novel she'd been tinkering around with called "Harry Potter." You probably know the rest of the story.

3.John Paul Dejoria

Selling shampoo may seem like an odd way to get out of poverty, but that's exactly what John Paul Dejoria did. After a brief stint in a Los Angeles gang, then the military, he formed a shampoo company called John Paul Mitchell Systems, first selling it door-to-door while living out of his car. With an estimated worth of 900 million, he probably has a place to live now.

4.Leonardo Del Vecchio

No matter how tough you had it coming up, I can assure you that Leonardo Del Vecchio had it tougher. One of five children growing up with a widowed mother, he was soon dispatched to an orphanage. He lost part of his finger working in a factory, but never lost his spirit. He later opened an eyeglass frame shop that became LensCrafters. His net worth is around ten million a year.

5.Guy Laliberte

Laliberte, the founder of the strange and beautiful acrobatic group Cirque du Soleil, used to eat fire as a young man. No, he wasn't eating fire because he was hungry. He was a street performer who later formed a troupe of acrobats that would take Las Vegas by storm. Today he is worth 2.5 billion dollars.

6.Francois Pinault

The cr0tchety looking Frenchman in the picture was a high school dropout whose reason for leaving was interesting: he was sick and tired of being teased by classmates for being poor. These days Pinault could be doing the teasing. He owns a luxury goods group and has an estimated wealth of 8.7 million dollars.

7.Howard Schultz

If you're anything like me, you've probably spent way too much of your money on the coffee at Starbucks and wondered about the man who made it all possible. That man is Howard Schultz and he grew up in the Bayview projects of Canarsie, Brooklyn. These days he's doing a lot better thanks to me and my coffee habit.


8.Ursula Burns

Growing up in the Lower East Side of New York can be a big inspiration. In Burns's case it mostly inspired her to get out of New York to avoid getting shot in the leg. Today she spends her time running the Fortune 500 company Xerox, which has proven to be a great deal more lucrative than dodging the bullets of gang members.

9.Ingvar Kamprad

Ingvar Kamprad has come a long way from the grinding poverty of growing up on a farm in Sweden to owning a company -- Ikea -- that is instantly recognized and beloved by almost everybody in the world. And even those who aren't familiar with the furniture store must recognize the six billion dollar pay day he makes every year.


10.Sheldon Adelson

The man who today owns several luxury resort hotels, grew up himself in, shall we say, less than luxurious conditions. His family lived in a tenement building in Massachusetts and, as a kid, Sheldon Adelson had to share a bedroom with his parents and three siblings. These days he owns the Sands Hotel and Casino -- and almost everything else in Las Vegas.

11.Gene Simmons

The calm, dignified gentlemen in this picture wasn't always such a man of class. Gene Simmons was born in Israel and grew up in Queens, New York. Dirt poor and scrapping by on bread and milk, the young Gene dreamed of becoming a musician after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Today he's the leader of Kiss, one of rock music's scariest but successful bands.


12.Sam Walton

Sam Walton grew up during the depression on a family a farm in Oklahoma. Milking cows and selling magazines were the only way for him to make a living until he founded Walmart which made him one of the wealthiest humans known to mankind. When he died in 1992 he left his family with one the most successful business in the world.

13.Sarah Jessica Parker

You may think of the lady behind this pretty face as just another Hollywood actress who probably grew up with rich parents. Not so. In fact, the former star of sex and the City entered the acting word partly to support her family. Fifteen million dollars later, they no doubt appreciate her support.

14.Ralph Lauren

It probably comes as no surprise to learn that the stylish looking fellow in the picture made a fortune in the world of fashion. But it is a surprise that Ralph Lauren, prior to becoming wealthy, quit high school to join the Army Reserve. These days he earns roughly five billion a year -- enough to buy his own army.

15.John D. Rockefeller

The name Rockefeller probably rings a bell in your head and makes you instantly think of a man who had lots and lots of money. But did you know that as a child he and his family had lots and lots of poverty? His first job was as an assistant bookkeeper for fifty cents a day. He later became the world's first billionaire.


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