Traits that Top Billionaires Share

Forbes.com put up a great post on Friday titled “A Recipe for Riches.” It looks at whether billionaires are born or made.

They analyzed 400 top self-made billionaires on their richest people in the world list and determined the following:

1. “A significant percentage of them had parents with a high aptitude for math. The ability to crunch numbers is crucial to becoming a billionaire, and mathematical prowess is hereditary. Some of the most common professions among the parents of Forbes 400 members (for whom we could find the information) were engineer, accountant and small-business owner.”

My dad is a math man. He was an actuary. Mom, not so much. But my dad’s side are all math brains.

2. “Consistent with the rest of the population, more American billionaires and near-billionaires were born in the fall than in any other season. However, relatively few of them were born in December, historically the month with the eighth-highest birth rate. Of the 380 self-made American tycoons who have appeared on the Forbes list of the World’s Billionaires in the past three years, 42 were born in September–more than in any other month.”

Well, I’m November. At least I got fall right. I wonder if birth month really has anything to do with ability to succeed. One could say that the fall season is when people get “back to work / back to school,” but aren’t yet overwhelmed by winter. Maybe babies born in Sept experience a certain kind of parenting and early months that help gear them towards mental growth and success later on? Just a guess.

3. “Of the 274 self-made tycoons on the Forbes 400, 14% either never started or never completed college. The number of precocious college dropouts is highest among those who forged careers as technology entrepreneurs: Bill Gates of Microsoft (MSFT), Steve Jobs of Apple (AAPL), Michael Dell of Dell (DELL), Larry Ellison of Oracle (ORCL) and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.”

That makes sense. Who has time to invent brilliant products when you’re busy studying for 4-5 final exams?

Other commonalities of the self-made richest people in the world? If they weren’t college dropouts, they had degrees – MBAs, etc – from top schools. That’s not a surprise. Roughly 70% of those with M.B.A.s obtained their master’s degrees from one of three Ivy League schools: Harvard, Columbia or the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Well, I guess I better get cracking at becoming a programming genius then. There’s now way I’m getting into any of those schools, nor do I want to devote my life to Wall Street.

Read the full article here.

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