On the train from Paris to Geneva, I have just looked at the edition of Forbes Magazine on the Forbes 400. The world’s wealthiest in terms of asset wealth. There are many familiar names and some new ones added from last year.
There are many things I find interesting about the list. It is mostly men. It is mostly entrepreneurs. Many in the top 20 are in the technology business of one sort or another.
I find myself caught by the term, net-worth. It is so interesting how we value one’s value in this framework based on what is owned in their name. It is based purely on a number that directly correlates to how others have given a value to their holdings.
Also of interest is how these individuals are diverse in their politics and their mission in the world of philanthropy. They are also called to diverse interests to find happiness and diversion from their business lives.
Finally, it is quite amazing to think about how these 400 individuals and their teams of advisors and so-called troops influence us.
I am intrigued by how much power ends up in the hands of these individuals. For many, it is due to tremendous hard work, ingenuity and in some cases, simply good luck. For others, it is the good fortune of being born into a wealthy family such as the Walton clan, four of whom sit high on the list.
I think of the responsibility that sits on their shoulders. I think about the positive impact all of this financial wealth has had on them and their lives and on others. I also think about the challenges it provides them in terms of all of the individuals they need to manage, the pull on their time and privacy and all of the karma they are building in this lifetime based on how they have earned this wealth, how they invest this wealth and give it through philanthropy.
You can find information about the Forbes 400 at forbes.com or alternatively, google Forbes 400.