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Forbes quotes 1,426 billionaires on this planet and there are approximately 63,000 ultra-rich people worldwide, with $100 Million or more in assets. Many famous actors and Hollywood directors, like James Cameron, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio are at least ultra-rich, with others, like Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise, well into the billionaire group. Of course I do not mean to offend anyone I did not quote, or inadvertently misplaced, but I cannot count pennies in everyone’s pockets! The Secret of being Rich, Mastering Wealth: a Risk Manager Approach.
Media and movies are not the highest billionaire producing industry as shown by Forbes Billionaires Worldwide statistics:
1. Investing/investments: 148
2. Fashion and Retail: 146
3. Real Estate: 129
4. Diversified: 125
5. Food and Beverage: 100
6. Technology: 95
7. Manufacturing 89
8. Energy 83
9. Finance 78
As the world population exceeds 7 Billion, the resulting rate of ultra-rich is 9 in 1 Million and the rate of billionaires is 2 in 10 Million. To focus on the meaning of these rates, keep in mind there seems to be a consensus in the technical community world-wide in placing the limit of the likelihood of what is “credible” at approximately 1 in 1 Million. Thus being ultra-rich is within the realm of “credible”, bordering to the “incredible”, whereas being a billionaire is clearly in the realm of “beyond incredible”, at least from a technical-statistical point of view.
If we stop a minute, we wonder if those “numbers” are meaningful at all. After all, we have no idea of the initial population of wanna-be-billionaire per industry, so we do not know what the rate of success is among those who would like to reach a higher level.
Facing such riches we are generally in awe, as witnessed by the fact that magazines, media, etc. are filled with requests of opinions addressed to these “shining stars” of our society. Some of them have even turned the story of their success into best-selling books (hence further increasing their revenues). We read biographies and books containing advice from successful people on how-they-did-it, we devour self-help books written by “role models” and motivational speakers with the most singular stories, we try to mimic business models of highly successful companies.
By doing so, however, we learn about a strongly biased and enormously incomplete view of the world. We would be stronger if we investigated instead what not to do; if we looked at risks and how to systematically avoid the catastrophic/intolerable ones. This last statement may seems fairly negative, may be one of the reasons why risk management is not that popular after all. That way of doing, however, enhances the chances of success; it may be not lead to crowd pleasing striking “extreme success”, but certainly increases the chances of “steady success”.