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Billionaires: Lessons I’ve Learned

Over their lifetimes, billionaires have discovered truths about life that we can learn from.

18 October 2021

Richard Branson – US$4.9 billion, founder, Virgin Group

“I love life – and after 67 years of it I’ve worked out some of the things that help me manage my workload and have fun at the same time… I don’t really separate work and play – it’s all living. This doesn’t mean I’m always working; it means I’ve learned the art of balance.”

Elon Musk – US$136.9 billion, CEO Tesla and SpaceX

“When something is important enough you do it, even if the odds are not in your favour.”

Larry Page – US$78 billion, co-founder of Google

“What is the one sentence summary of how you change the world? Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting.”

Mark Zuckerberg – US$100.5 billion, Facebook CEO

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Larry Ellison – US$82.4 billion, co-founder Oracle

“What drives me is this constant testing of limits. Constant learning... How can you move the world just a bit, make a difference, change lives... and how much can I help [while] discovering my own limits?”

Jeff Bezos – US$113 billion, former CEO, Amazon

“When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made.”

Warren Buffett – US$85.6 billion, Super-investor, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

“There comes the time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”

Bill Gates – US$98 billion, co-founder, Microsoft

“At the end of each year, I still enjoy taking stock of my work and personal life… Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life.

“Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones?

“These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.”

Bob Jones – NZ$1 billion, property investor

“At my age, it’s not about money. I hardly need that. But it’s about the sheer joy of it.”

Graeme Hart – NZ$17 billion, owner, Rank Group

“I will hang in there as long as it takes.”

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