10 people who achieved success against all odds

Kenny Truett, USA

Successful people who have achieved everything on their own - Kenny Truett, USA
Kenny's father was an ordinary bartender, so in order to pay for his education at Southern Illinois University he was forced to get a job as an insurance agent.

He created the company Excel Communications in 1988, and in 1996 he brought its shares to the stock exchange. After 2 years, he sold it for $3.5 billion.

Net worth: $1.7 billion

Christos Lazari, Cyprus - UK

People who went from poverty to wealth - Christos Lazari, Cyprus
An Englishman, a commercial property owner, moved to England from a provincial town in Cyprus as a teenager with pennies in his pocket. The accumulated money from working as a waiter and dishwasher began to be invested in real estate in the seventy-eighth year of the last century.

Today he owns a fortune of 2.1 billion dollars .

Stephen King

Stephanie Lawton / Flickr
King's first novel was rejected 30 times by editors, and Stephen threw it in the trash, disillusioned with his abilities. Later, his wife Tabitha found the manuscript and persuaded the author to finish it and send it to the publisher.

This work was the novel “Carrie”, which subsequently brought How Carrie Happened by Bev Vincent to the writer 200 thousand dollars (2 million at the current exchange rate). To date, Stephen King has sold more than 350 million copies of Stephen King's books worldwide. And he is called the real “king of horror.”

Ken Langone, USA

Billionaires who rose from poverty - Ken Langone, USA
Ken was born into the family of a plumber and a canteen worker. His family mortgaged their house, and he was forced to take any possible part-time job to pay for his studies at Bucknell University.

In 1968, he made an IPO of Electronic Data Systems in collaboration with Ross Perot.

Net worth: $2.1 billion

Alexander Griboyedov - composer

Alexander Griboyedov.
Illustration: stapravda.ru According to the tradition of Russian noble families, little Griboyedov was taught music. Since childhood, he played the piano beautifully and knew music theory. Those around him noted the boy’s impressive performing skills. As an adult, Griboyedov continued to play music both as a soloist and as an accompanist. Thus, together with composer Alexei Verstovsky, he performed the romance “Black Shawl” for the first time.

Unfortunately, of all the musical works of the writer himself, only two have survived - Waltz in E minor and Waltz in A-flat major.

Waltz in E minor (1823)

Waltz in A-flat major (1832)

The first was created in the winter of 1823. At this time, Griboyedov was completing work on the comedy “Woe from Wit” and often attended balls, so that later in his work he could describe the life of Moscow society. He gave his melancholy musical creation to young Elizaveta, the sister of his friend Stepan Begichev, in whom he instilled a love of art, reading serious books, as well as a dislike for secular society.

The Waltz in A-flat major was given by Griboyedov to the famous Polish pianist Maria Szymanowska, whose concerts he attended several times.

John Paul DeJoria, USA

People who achieved success from scratch - John Paul DeJoria, USA
In 1980, he was homeless and slept in his car. He went from house to house and sold shampoos. Together with his partner Paul Mitchell, he used the money raised to start a company producing hair products.

Net worth: $2.8 billion

Anna Tsfasman, Doubleby

Fight stereotypes if you are confident in your product.


Tsfasman, according to her admissions, did not intend to open her own business. She was the general director of the Caffeine chain and worked for the company for more than five years. But in 2012 she left, disagreeing with the desire of investors to reduce the quality of coffee beans. The entrepreneur returned to the market with her project. Together with chef barista Olga Melik-Karakozova, they opened their own coffee shop.

Initially, the former managers of Kofein were going to open a chain of stores selling tea and coffee, and the plans were ambitious - 300 outlets in six months. But it turned out to be easier to persuade the owners of rented premises to buy coffee shops, and in the end it was decided to settle on them. Investors were found quite quickly; they invested $1 million in the business.

The Doubleby project has a “modest” goal: to offer customers some of the best coffee in the world.

Now there are more than 85 coffee shops in the network, including in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities of Russia, Dubai, Barcelona, ​​Prague, Tbilisi. Most of them are open as franchises.

One of the difficulties of the coffee business for Tsfasman was the fight against stereotypes: people are wary of additives like sugar, milk and syrup, and the lack of food in a coffee shop. However, the chosen format works for now. The company plans to open budget DoubleB White coffee shops and DoubleB Black coffee and alcohol bars.

Oprah Winfrey, USA

The richest people who achieved success from scratch - Oprah Winfrey, USA
The owner of a multi-billion dollar media empire lived on her grandmother's farm. As a child, she was abused by relatives. Having started her career as a school radio presenter, she gradually got a job on a morning show on Chicago television, which she developed into a world talk show.

Net worth: $3 billion

David Murdoch, USA

Billionaires who achieved everything themselves from scratch - David Murdoch, USA
A guy who suffers from a stutter worked part-time at a gas station from the age of 13, having dropped out of school. He left to serve in the army in 1943. When World War II ended, he returned to the United States and opened a diner. Today his company is the largest manufacturer of agricultural products, Dole Food.

Net worth: $3.1 billion

Evgenia Kuyda

Father: Igor Kuyda (Ekoprombank bank)

Evgeniya is known as a restaurant columnist for Afisha and the founder of numerous startups in Moscow and New York. Now she is working on the Replika application in Silicon Valley, for which $11 million has been allocated. The money was received from “very serious people” for the development of the application. The virtual interlocutor asks questions, users answer.

Responses from citizens of the United States and other countries, including intimate ones, are archived by the company Luka, founded by Kuida. It is named after the son of Evgenia’s current patron, a man from “gangster Petersburg” who was imprisoned in an American prison, a friend of the head of the Rostec state corporation and a partner of the generals of the Russian special services. Offices in San Francisco and Moscow have access to Replika logs. The latter is located within walking distance from the central building of the Russian FSB. Coincidence? Quite possible.

Shahid Khan, Pakistan - USA

People who became rich on their own - Shahid Khan, Pakistan
From Pakistan, Khan emigrated to America. At first I worked for one and a half dollars an hour as a dishwasher. This money was enough to attend the University of Illinois.

Today he is the owner of the large company Flex-N-Gate.

Net worth: $3.8 billion

Do Wang Chang, Korea - USA

Successful people who achieved everything on their own - Do Wang Chang, Korea
Chang emigrated from Korea to the United States in 1981. At first it was very difficult and he was forced to work simultaneously as a waiter in a bar, a gas station attendant and a janitor.

Already in eighty-four, together with his wife, he opened his first clothing store. Now his company Forever 21 is the largest international trading and manufacturing company.

Net worth: $5 billion

Maria Drokova

Father: Alexander Drokov, Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Tambov City Administration

Maria Drokova was involved in several striking scandals: first she appropriated the achievements of others, and then abruptly changed her political preferences (she was a Nashi member, and then received a residence permit in the United States). “The most beautiful green I’ve ever seen,” the girl wrote about the color of the green card she received. Before these events, Maria was a commissar of the Nashi movement and “dreamed of Putin’s kiss.”

Soon after the move, Masha Drokova joined the family business of immigrants from Russia who are engaged in venture investments in America. The company “First Day Investments” of 28-year-old Masha will manage an amount of approximately $50 million (or about 3 billion rubles), a source told Reuters. It turned out that Maria’s father, Alexander Drokov, is the chairman of the finance committee of the Tambov city administration. At the same time, information about his income is not published either on the website of the city administration or on the website of the administration of the Tambov region. As an official, he has the right not to advertise his family life, but for some reason there are a thousand articles on the Internet about his daughter. Probably, both Mary’s move and her popularity are all connected with the pope’s income.

Jan Koum, Ukraine - USA

People who went from poverty to wealth - Jan Kum, Ukraine
Jan emigrated at the age of 16 from Ukraine with his parents to America. Got a job as a floor cleaner in a store. Later, he began working at Yahoo as an engineer after graduating from college. In 2009 he created the famous mobile service WhatsApp, which he then sold to Facebook for $19 billion.

Net worth: $6.6 billion

Political leaders

Professional politicians and skilled statesmen have given history the largest number of famous leaders. The reason for this is the specificity of the area, where such people quite often decided the fate of the world, and their names were constantly heard. In addition, success in politics requires charisma, grit, and usually excellent public speaking skills.

Winston Spencer Leonard Churchill (1874-1965) - British statesman, political and military leader, Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1940-1945 and 1951-1955. Journalist, writer, scientist. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. The greatest Briton in history, according to a BBC poll in 2002.

W. Churchill is a man of extraordinary energy and erudition. He worked in many ministries and had direct influence on the development of military action plans during the two world wars. Reading his “The Second World War,” you never cease to be amazed at the detail with which the author describes the diplomatic vicissitudes of the late 30s, and on the next page he gives a full technical description of the magnetic mine. As a leader, Churchill took an active part in everything and was interested in everything that directly or indirectly related to government. He was an excellent speaker - his radio speeches during the war (for example, the famous "It was their best time") attracted huge audiences, instilling optimism and pride in Britain. Many of the British politician’s speeches remain examples of oratory, and some phrases have become catchphrases.

“Success cannot be guaranteed, it can only be earned”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) - American statesman and politician, 32nd President of the United States, the only president in the history of the country to be elected to the highest government position 4 times in a row. The author of the New Deal economic program, which helped the United States emerge from the Great Depression, as well as one of the consistent inspirers of the idea of ​​​​creating the UN.

F. Roosevelt is an example of a leader capable of uniting a variety of people in difficult times to achieve a common goal. Confined to a wheelchair due to an illness, this politician managed to assemble a team of many specialists and achieved support in Congress for reforms aimed at improving the economy. The Roosevelt administration gave refuge to many Jewish refugees from Germany after the Nazis came to power there. Possessing extraordinary courage, determination and strong character, this figure had a huge influence on international politics in the 30s - the first half of the 40s. XX century.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achieving a goal and the thrill of creative effort.”

Nelson Rolilahla Mandela (1918-2013) - 8th president and first black president of South Africa, a famous fighter for human rights and against apartheid. He was convicted for his activities and spent 27 years in prison, from 1962 to 1990. Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1993, honorary member of more than 50 international universities.

N. Mandela is a great example of transactional leadership. Having devoted his life to the idea of ​​achieving equal rights for the black population of South Africa with whites, he advocated peaceful transformations, but did not hesitate to prove himself right by carrying out acts of sabotage through the efforts of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). After winning the presidential election in 1994, N. Mandela appointed his main political opponent from the National Party, F. de Klerk, as first deputy, wanting to complete the settlement process that began in the 90s. Today this politician is one of the most authoritative fighters against HIV-AIDS.

“If you have a dream, nothing will stop you from making it come true as long as you don’t give up.”

Margaret Hilda Thatcher (1925-2013) - Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1979-1990. The only woman to hold this position, as well as the first female prime minister of a European state. Author of tough economic measures to improve the economy, called “Tet-cherism”. She received the nickname “Iron Lady” for the tenacity with which she pursued her policy and for her constant criticism of the Soviet leadership.

M. Thatcher's leadership style, which best characterizes her leadership qualities, was close to authoritarian. She is a typical businesswoman: reasonable, logical, cold to emotions, but at the same time having a feminine perspective on the problem. The determination with which the Falklands War was fought marks her out as a confident politician, and the letters she herself signed for the family of each victim mark her as a mother. The conflict with the IRA, casualties, attempts on the lives of the prime minister and her husband, difficult relations with the USSR - this is an incomplete list of what M. Thatcher had to face. How she dealt with these challenges, history will judge. Only one fact is interesting - the Iron Lady was indifferent to feminism, trying with her whole life to show that there is no discrimination, and in order to achieve something it is enough to be better than everyone else.

“If you want something to be said, ask a man about it; if you want something done, ask a woman."

Roman Abramovich, Russia

People who became rich on their own - Roman Abramovich, Russia
Roman's mother died when he was 1 year old. And at the age of 4, his father died in an accident. His uncle raised him. Without completing his studies at the institute, he served in the ranks of the Soviet Army. Later he opened a toy store in his apartment. In the dashing 90s, he teamed up with Boris Berezovsky and acquired the Sibneft company.

Net worth: $9.1 billion

The oil tycoon rounds out the TOP 10 former poor with a net worth of up to $10 billion. Next come the real mastodons with a capital of more than 10 billion! And these are also people who achieved everything from scratch on their own. They managed to escape from the clutches of poverty and achieve wealth and success.

Story No. 1. How to get into the Forbes ranking in one of the most intellectual fields at 29 years old

Ilya Sachkov, Group-IB

29 years. Started his own business at age 17

Graduate of MSTU named after. Bauman, Department of Information Security, Faculty of Informatics

30 Under 30 is a ranking of the world's most promising entrepreneurs under 30 according to Forbes magazine. Russian businessman Ilya Sachkov, CEO of the detective cyber agency Group-IB, achieved one of his goals and was included in this list in 2021 at the age of 29 years. The value of the company's share owned by Sachkov at the end of 2015 was estimated at approximately $12 million.

Group-IB is an anti-hacker company. Its mission is to prevent and investigate cybercrimes. In fact, these are any high-tech crimes that are committed through computer systems: major thefts, cyber terrorism, unfair competition, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and even murder. When several million rubles are stolen from a large bank’s account, Group-IB handles the case. When competitors launch a DDoS attack on the website of a leading company so that it cannot accept orders, Group-IB handles this matter.

Sachkov is an intellectual entrepreneur. However, he himself does not consider himself smart. In his opinion, he is only smart, unlike, for example, his father, a physicist, or his mother, who works as an analyst at a bank. It is pleasantly surprising that Ilya always weighs every word he says and even during an interview he is in no hurry to give a quick answer to a question that seems important to him. “I need to think,” he tells the journalist, taking a minute or two to think.

Sachkov began working in the 9th grade, and began creating his own business in 2003 at the age of 17. But Ilya’s success has nothing to do with stories about how fortune’s favorites without work experience or education, barely leaving school, become owners of a whole fortune. The factors that determined his success were serious professional training, specialized higher education, great interest in the chosen field, gigabytes of books and many, many, many repetitions. This is what the entrepreneur himself says about his success: “According to the theory of probability, if, after going through a certain number of repetitions, you do not give up, sooner or later you will come to what you were striving for.” Inspiring mathematical approach!

Sachkov came up with the idea for a business after reading a book. As a first-year student, Ilya was hospitalized and friends brought him a book about cybercrime written by former FBI employees. The future businessman was interested in the topic, and he decided to take up cyber forensics. The starting capital of the future Group-IB amounted to 150 thousand rubles - Ilya borrowed it from his older brother.

It was difficult to build a business at such a young age, without entrepreneurial experience, and even in one of the most highly intellectual fields. As Ilya himself says, he “read a lot of uplifting management books” and the carefree nature of youth helped him. One of the most difficult periods in the company’s history began in 2008, but it was by no means associated with the economic crisis. Group-IB began to grow, and some employees unexpectedly left the team and there was no one to replace them.

Having survived a painful stage of structural changes in the company, Sachkov reconsidered his approach to team formation. Finding people is still difficult: Russia graduates only a few hundred information security specialists per year. But now the company has no employees who could be called irreplaceable and whose departure would undermine the functioning of the entire organization.

Today, Ilya Sachkov has the ambition to build an empire that is capable of changing the state of things in cyber forensics on a global scale. Group-IB is already one of the top 7 companies influencing global cybersecurity, has offices in several countries around the world, is constantly expanding its geographic presence, and the company’s client list includes the largest Russian banks, government agencies, law enforcement agencies and world-famous technology companies.

Francois Pinault, France

Billionaires who achieved everything from scratch - Francois Pinault, France
Francois's family was very poor as a child. Because of this, he was an outcast at school. He was often bullied by his classmates and dropped out of school because of this.

By buying up small companies during economic crises, he developed his company PRP. Under his management there are many world famous brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

Net worth: $15 billion

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb and the phonograph, was known for his persistence. As a child, he was a frail and sickly child, and his teachers considered him narrow-minded. He did not finish school - his mother educated him at home.

Edison's first inventions - a device for counting votes in parliament and a device for automatically recording stock exchange rates - turned out to be of no interest to anyone. But later his system for telegraphing stock exchange bulletins about the price of gold and stocks was bought by a New York company for 40 thousand dollars. As a result, Edison became the owner of almost four thousand patents around the world.

The inventor tried thousands of prototypes before creating a functioning light bulb. “I didn’t fail,” he said But They Did Not Give Up, “I just created 10,000 options that don’t work. All that’s left is to find one that works.”

George Soros, UK

The richest people who achieved success from scratch - George Soros, UK
Almost died as a child at the hands of the Nazis. He was saved thanks to family friends who married him off as their godson. He fled from Hungary to England to live with distant relatives in 1947. He made his living as a conductor and waiter. Also, after graduating from university, he worked as a souvenir seller. In 1992, due to speculation in the foreign exchange market, he became a dollar billionaire.

Net worth: $21 billion


Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player. Almost everyone who is interested in this sport knows his name. However, not everyone knows that in his youth this man was not even accepted into the school team.

Over the entire period of his career, the basketball player was defeated in 300 matches. Sometimes Michael faced failure at a point in the game when success depended only on him. However, Jordan does not regret failures and considers them an important component of a brilliant career.

Leonardo del Vecchio, Italy

Billionaires who rose from poverty - Leonardo del Vecchio, Italy
Leonardo's family lived very hard as a child, his mother could not feed him and at the age of 7 she was forced to send him to an orphanage. As a teenager, he got a job as an apprentice making eyeglass frames. At the age of 25, he created the company Luxottica, which produces glasses for global brands, including Armani, Prada and D&G.

Net worth: $22 billion

Joanne Rowling

Before gaining widespread recognition, Jo was a divorced single mother living on welfare and suffering from clinical depression. She told Mugglemarch that she was as poor as it was possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless.

When the first Harry novel was completed, Rowling could not publish it for a year - the manuscript was rejected by 12 publishing houses. However, today Harry Potter is a real phenomenon, and JK Rowling is one of the richest writers on the planet.

Sheldon Adelson, USA

People who went from poverty to wealth - Sheldon Adelson, USA
At the age of 12, Sheldon sold newspapers and slept on the floor. I was a fish seller, a courier, and a digger. He then became a mortgage broker, investment expert and financial advisor. Now he is the owner of the Las Vegas Sands casino chain.

Net worth: $31 billion

Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong

People who achieved success from scratch - Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong
Li abandoned his studies at the age of 12. To help his family, he got a job in a factory producing watch bracelets. Then he sold plastic toys. With the money he earned, he bought a small factory for the production of plastic products. One of the richest people in the world today owns ports, real estate and construction companies.

Total wealth: $33.3 billion.

Watch also the video about the richest people on the planet who escaped poverty.

As the stories of these famous people who achieved success from scratch showed, everything in our world is possible. And there are actually many more such examples. This list only includes dollar billionaires, but don't forget about the many unnamed millionaires. The main thing is to set the right goals for yourself and systematically, step by step, move towards your success and wealth. Don't be afraid of difficulties. Unfortunately, hard work is not a guarantee of your success. But! What is guaranteed is that if you don’t try, you probably won’t achieve anything.

Mikhail Peregudov, “Food Party”

Show people that you can be trusted.


A businessman from St. Petersburg makes money from people’s desire to make their lives easier. “Food Party” is a delivery service for boxes of prepackaged foods and recipes for them. Peregudov got the idea from the New York-based company Plated. The foreign project was actively growing, and the service looked convenient and in demand.

“Food Party” launched just in time: it became only the third company on the market that delivered food for preparing dinners. Subsequently, many clones were discovered, but few managed to gain the same fame.

Peregudov himself sees the difficulty of developing such a business in people’s distrust.

The main objections are that it is too expensive, the portions are small, and the products are of poor quality. They work with them quite actively. For example, the company’s YouTube channel has videos that provide answers to common questions. In one of them, Peregudov buys products from the “Food Lot” menu in a regular supermarket and compares the final cost with the price of the box.

The project started in 2014 almost at the same time when the first economic sanctions were introduced. Peregudov admitted in an interview that the situation was stressful. Now “Party of Food” offers six different menus, as well as fruit and vegetable sets and additional products for preparing desserts. The recipes were created by chef Mikhail Stepanov.

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