Jeff Bezos is back to being the richest person aliveAs Amazon became the second U.S. firm to hit a trillion-dollar value on the stock market, founder Jeff Bezos regained the crown as the richest person on the planet.
Amazon’s share price has climbed during the year, lifting the personal wealth of the company’s 54-year-old founder with it. Forbes estimated his net worth about $166 billion.
He has gone on record with a formula for success that includes taking bold bets, riding change and rebounding from setbacks.
“You need to be nimble and robust so you need to be able to take a punch and you also need to be quick and innovative and do new things at a higher speed, that’s the best defense against the future,” Bezos said in an interview published in Vanity Fair magazine last year. “You have to always be leaning into the future. If you’re leaning away from the future, the future is gonna win, every time.”
Jeffrey Preston Bezos’ penchant for experimenting reportedly dates to a young age - with one widely-recounted story telling that he tried to dismantle his own crib as a toddler.
His mother was a teenager when she gave birth to Bezos in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Jan. 12, 1964.
“You shaped us, you protected us, you let us fall, you picked us up, and you loved us, always and unconditionally,” Bezos said in a Twitter message thanking his mom “for everything” on Mother’s Day in May. She remarried when her son was about four years old, and he was legally adopted by his Cuban immigrant stepfather who worked as an engineer at a major petrochemical company.
“My dad came here from Cuba all by himself without speaking English when he was 16 years old, and has been kicking ass ever since,” Bezos said in a Father’s Day tweet in June.
“Thank you for all the love and heart, Dad!”
His mother’s family were settlers in Texas, where Bezos spent many a summer working at a ranch owned by a grandfather retired from a job as a regional director at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Bezos was enchanted by computer science when the IT industry was in its infancy and he studied engineering at Princeton University.
After graduating, he put his skills to work on Wall Street, where by 1990 he had risen to be a senior vice president at investment firm D.E. Shaw. He surprised peers by leaving his high-paid position about four years later to open an online bookseller called Amazon.com, which according to legend, was started in a garage in a Seattle suburb.
Bezos went from being a boy with a love for how things work to being the man who built Amazon.com into an internet powerhouse. Amazon grew to dominate commerce and become a formidable contender in cloud computing, streaming television, and artificial intelligence with its digital assistant Alexa.
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