There is a lot that can be learned from studying the methods and techniques of the richest people in history. Although a few of the world's richest inherited much of their wealth, many of them got there on their own.
1. Mansa Musa I - $400 Billion
Mansa Musa I became the emperor of Mali in 1307. He is known for his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324, where his generosity in sharing the many natural resources of his land created an image of wealth and piety.
We can see that Musa created a positive image for himself. He invested the resources that he had to improve his situation, although in his case this meant acquiring the city of Timbuktu, not a better stock portfolio.
2. John D. Rockefeller - $340 Billion
John D. Rockefeller was born in 1839 as the son of a traveling salesman. Starting his entrepreneurial life early, he worked as a boy raising turkeys and selling candy. He went on to form Standard Oil, which gained a monopoly in the refinery field.
We can learn a great deal from the entrepreneurial mindset of Rockefeller. He was on the cutting edge of technology, creating products that went from unknown to being a part of daily life within a decade. He produced many of his products in-house and made use of railroad rebates to save money where he could.
3. Andrew Carnegie - $310 Billion
Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland in 1835 as the son of a handloom weaver. Moving to America in 1848, Carnegie left school and went to work. He made profitable investments spread across a variety of businesses, which gave him the funds he needed to open his first steel company in 1870.
We can see that Carnegie started with very little but ambition. Through hard work and smart investments he went on to become one of the wealthiest men in history.
4. Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov - $300 Billion
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia ruled the Russian empire from 1894 until 1917. With most of his wealth coming from the nation's coffers and the successes of his ancestors, he is one of the only examples among the world's wealthiest people who didn't get there by their own entrepreneurial abilities.
5. Mir Osman Ali Khan - $230 Billion
Mir Osman Ali Khan was the ruler of Hyderabad, which was annexed by India in 1948. While his wealth initially came from the successes of his ancestors, he continued to make improvements to the country in the form of infrastructure development and improved exports.
We can learn from Ali Khan that, regardless of the wealth and resources that we start with, there is always room for improvement.
6. William the Conqueror - $229.5 Billion
Born William the Bastard in 1028, William went on to invade England in 1066 and became the first Norman ruler of England.
While invasion isn't a currently recommended form of entrepreneurship and wealth development, we can learn from William the Conqueror's powerful personality. Not one to take 'no' for an answer, he convinced rebels who didn't think he was fit for royalty to support him.
7. Henry Ford - $199 Billion
One of the best known names in automotive history, Ford demonstrated a truly entrepreneurial mindset. Born in 1863, he walked eight miles into Detroit at the age of 16 to find work at a machine shop. He started tinkering with early combustion engines and began making automobiles in 1903.
Ford showed us that patience and persistence pay off. We can also see that he was a visionary, creating passenger vehicles and cars that were meant for families instead of just the wealthy.
8. Cornelius Vanderbilt - $185 Billion
Born in 1794 to a poor family, Vanderbilt dropped out of school at the age of 11 to help his father. In a time when America was a new nation, Vanderbilt determined that transportation was going to be a major need in the future. Investing first in the shipping industry at the age of 16, he eventually upgraded to the railway.
We can see that he got ahead mainly by undercutting the competition and offering services that fit a need that nobody else was filling at the time.
The above mentioned came from different backgrounds, lived at vastly different points in history, and yet most of them shared the common goal of improving something about the world they lived in. We can find common philosophies between these richest men, including:
• They started young
• They invested their resources
• They saw things differently
All of these are things that we can apply in our own lives and entrepreneurial businesses.