9 Billionaire Misfits Who Dropped Out Of High School

By Shaun Cooper, Director, Lighthouse International

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”  

– John Lennon

At present 1.3 million American students drop out of high school every year according to DoSomething.org. That’s outstanding for a first world country and there are many reasons for this. However, all hope is not lost and a recent article published by Entrepreneur.com lists 9 billionaires who didn’t graduate from high school.

This begs the question, what makes someone successful - and is the current education system is supporting creative thinkers?

The 9 billionaires are…

1. John D. Rockefeller - American (1839 - 1937) - One of the richest men of all time.

2. Henry Ford - American (1863 - 1947) - Legendary businessman who invented the modern day car industry.

3. Amancio Ortega - (1936 - present ) - The founder of Spanish fashion giant Zara.

4. Kirk Kerkorian - (1917 - 2015) - One of the founders of Las Vegas and built the MGM Grand hotel.

5. Francois Pinault - (1936 - present) - French billionaire owner of brands like Gucci.

6. David H. Murdock - (1923 - present) - American businessman and philanthropist owner of Dole Food Company.

7. Richard Branson - (1950 - present) - Founder and CEO of the Virgin Group.

8. Carl Lindner Jr - American (1919 - 2011) - 133rd richest man in the world in 2006 before he passed away 5 years later.

9. Joe Lewis - British (1937 - present) - Chairman of the private investment fund - The Tavistock Group based in the Bahamas.

What stands out about these nine individuals, who have achieved remarkable things, are the qualities that legends embody... such as a hunger to learn, the value they place on relationships, their willingness to make a difference, their willingness to make mistakes and their passion for adding value. These are qualities that we can't find in books but through experience and mistakes. It highlights the importance of mentorship and surrounding ourselves with inspiring people while continually investing in our character and competence.

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