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Top 10 Richest American Men 2020: Elon Musk #7

According to Forbes, America’s 400 richest are worth a record $3.2 trillion, up $240 billion from a year ago, aided by a stock market that has defied the virus. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, worth $179 billion, is number one for the third year in a row, followed by Bill Gates at number two. It still takes at least $2.1 billion, unchanged for the past three years, to make the cut. Even in these trying times mega-fortunes are still being minted.


Top 10 Richest American Men 2020


  • Jeff Bezos
  • Bill Gates
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Warren Buffett
  • Larry Ellison
  • Steve Ballmer
  • Elon Musk
  • Larry Page
  • Sergey Brin
  • Jim Walton

1. Jeff Bezos - $186.9 Billion

Born: 12 January 1964

Education: Princeton University

Source of wealth: Amazon

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos founded e-commerce colossus Amazon in 1994 out of his garage in Seattle. He runs it as CEO and owns an 11.1% stake. The first centi-billionaire on the Forbes wealth index, Bezos has been the world's richest person since 2017 and was named the "richest man in modern history" after his net worth increased to $150 billion in July 2018. According to Forbes, Bezos is the first person in history to have a net worth exceeding $200 billion.

Bezos founded the aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company Blue Origin in 2000. A Blue Origin test flight successfully first reached space in 2015, and the company has upcoming plans to begin commercial suborbital human spaceflight. He also purchased the major American newspaper The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million, and manages many other investments through his Bezos Expeditions venture capital firm.

“What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you – what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind – you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.” – Jeff Bezos


2. Bill Gates - $115.6 Billion

Born: 28 October 1955

Education: Harvard College (1973–1975), Lakeside School (1967–1973)

Source of wealth: Microsoft

Bill Gates

With his wife Melinda, Bill Gates chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private charitable foundation. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), president and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. He is one of the best-known entrepreneurs and pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.

"Don't make the same decision twice. Spend time and thought to make a solid decision the first time so that you don't revisit the issue unnecessarily. If you're too willing to reopen issues, it interferes not only with your execution but also with your motivation to make a decision in the first place. After all, why bother deciding an issue if it isn't really decided?" - Bill Gates


3. Mark Zuckerberg - $97.8 Billion

Born: 14 May 1984

Education: Harvard University (2002–2004)

Source of wealth: Facebook

Facebook, the social network Zuckerberg runs, has become a go-to communications tool during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Born in White Plains, New York, Zuckerberg attended Harvard University, where he launched the Facebook social networking service from his dormitory room on February 4, 2004, with college roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. Originally launched to select college campuses, the site expanded rapidly and eventually beyond colleges, reaching one billion users by 2012. Zuckerberg took the company public in May 2012 with majority shares. In 2007, at age 23, he became the world's youngest self-made billionaire. As of September 2020, Zuckerberg's net worth is $111 billion, making him the 4th-richest person in the world. He is the only person under 40-years-old in Forbes' list of the 20 richest people.

Mark Zuckerberg

Since 2010, Time magazine has named Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world as a part of its Person of the Year award. In December 2016, Zuckerberg was ranked 10th on Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People.


4. Warren Buffett - $83 Billion

Born: 30 August 1930

Education: Columbia Business School (1950–1951)

Source of wealth: Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett

Known as the "Oracle of Omaha," Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time. Buffett has been the chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway since 1970. He has been referred to as the "Oracle" or "Sage" of Omaha by global media. He is noted for his adherence to value investing, and his personal frugality despite his immense wealth. Research published at the University of Oxford characterizes Buffett's investment methodology as falling within "founder centrism" – defined by a deference to managers with a founder's mindset, an ethical disposition towards the shareholder collective, and an intense focus on exponential value creation. Essentially, Buffett's concentrated investments shelter managers from the short-term pressures of the market.

"Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be a more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks." - Warren Buffett


5. Larry Ellison - $78.3 Billion

Born: 17 August 1944

Education: The University of Chicago (1964–1966)

Source of wealth: Software

Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison is chairman, chief technology officer and co-founder of software giant Oracle, of which he owns about 35.4%. As of September 2020, he was listed by Forbes magazine as the fifth-wealthiest person in the United States and as the sixth-wealthiest in the world, with a fortune of $78.3 billion, increased from $54.5 billion in 2018.

“Being first is more important to me [than earning money]. I have so much money. Whatever money is, it’s just a method of keeping score now. I mean, I certainly don’t need more money.” - Larry Ellison

“All you can do is every day, try to solve a problem and make your company better. You can’t worry about it, you can’t panic when you look at the stock market’s decline. You get frozen like a deer in the headlights. All you can do is all you can do.” - Larry Ellison


6. Steve Ballmer - $71.4 Billion

Born: 24 March 1956

Education: Harvard University (1977)

Source of wealth: Microsoft

Steve Ballmer

Ballmer is the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). As of July 2020, Forbes estimates his personal wealth at US$71.4 billion, ranking him the 11th richest person in the world. Steve Ballmer is the high-wattage former CEO of Microsoft, who led the company from 2000 to 2014. Ballmer was hired by Bill Gates at Microsoft in 1980 and subsequently left the MBA program at Stanford University. He eventually became president in 1998, and replaced Gates as CEO on January 13, 2000. On February 4, 2014, Ballmer retired as CEO and resigned from the Board of Directors on August 19, 2014 to prepare for teaching a new class.

On May 29, 2014, Ballmer placed a bid of $2 billion to purchase the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers after NBA commissioner Adam Silver forced Donald Sterling to sell the team. He became the Los Angeles Clippers owner on August 12, 2014; Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen was a fellow owner in the NBA, having owned the Portland Trail Blazers since 1988.

We can believe that we know where the world should go. But unless we're in touch with our customers, our model of the world can diverge from reality. There's no substitute for innovation, of course, but innovation is no substitute for being in touch, either. - Steve Ballmer


7. Elon Musk - $68 Billion

Born: 28 June 1971

Education: Queen's University (no degree), University of Pennsylvania (BS and BA, 1997)

Source of wealth: Tesla, SpaceX

Elon Musk is working to revolutionize transportation both on Earth, through electric car maker Tesla - and in space, via rocket producer SpaceX. He is the founder, CEO, CTO and chief designer of SpaceX; early investor, CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink; and co-founder and initial co-chairman of OpenAI. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2018. In 2018, he was ranked 25th on the Forbes list of The World's Most Powerful People, and was ranked joint-first on the Forbes list of the Most Innovative Leaders of 2019. As of September 2, 2020, his net worth was estimated by Forbes to be US$68 billion, making him the 7th richest person in the United States. He is the longest tenured CEO of any automotive manufacturer globally.

"There have to be reasons that you get up in the morning and you want to live. Why do you want to live? What's the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future? If the future does not include being out there among the stars and being a multi-planet species, I find that incredibly depressing." - Elon Musk



8. Larry Page - $67.5 Billion

Born: 26 March 1973

Education: East Lansing High School (1987–1991)

Source of wealth: Google

Larry Page

Larry Page stepped down as CEO of Alphabet, the parent of Google, in December 2019 but remains a board member and a controlling shareholder. He is best known as one of the co-founders of Google along with Sergey Brin. Creating Google built a large amount of wealth. Forbes placed him 10th in the list "Billionaires 2019," and as of July 2020, Page was the 13th-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $69.4 billion, according to Forbes.

“For a lot of companies, it’s useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that. I personally believe it’s better to shoot higher. You don’t want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what’s possible and how to make the world better” Larry Page


9. Sergey Brin - $65.7 Billion

Born: 21 August 1973

Education: Stanford University (1993–1995)

Source of wealth: Google

Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin stepped down as president of Alphabet, parent company of Google, in December 2019 but remains a controller shareholder and a board member. Together with Larry Page he founded Google. Brin and Page remain at Alphabet as co-founders, controlling shareholders, board members, and employees. As of July 2020, Brin is the 9th-richest person in the U.S., with an estimated net worth of US$65.5 billion.

Brin immigrated to the United States with his family from the Soviet Union at the age of six. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, College Park, following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps by studying mathematics, as well as computer science. After graduation, he enrolled in Stanford University to acquire a PhD in computer science. There he met Page, with whom he built a web search engine. The program became popular at Stanford, and they suspended their PhD studies to start up Google in Susan Wojcicki's garage in Menlo Park.

“If I were seriously interested in something important to me, I wouldn’t just click on the first search result, read it and take it as God’s word” — Sergey Brin


10. Jim Walton - $64.5 Billion

Born: 7 June 1948

Education: University of Arkansas (1971), Bentonville High School

Source of wealth: Walmart

Jim Walton

Jim Walton is the youngest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. On September 28, 2005, Walton replaced his deceased brother, John, on the Wal-Mart Board of Directors. He is currently on the Strategic Planning and Finance committees. He was CEO of his family owned Arvest Bank, until becoming Chairman of Arvest Bank, and Chairman of newspaper firm Community Publishers Inc. (CPI) owned by Jim Walton himself (but founded by his father Sam Walton after acquiring the local newspaper the Benton County Daily Record, both operating in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

CNN was one of the first news organizations in the world to train and equip its journalists before deploying them to dangerous areas. Jim Walton


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