Worlds Richest Man? Not Gates or Buffet

Just cruising around Fortune and came across this article that says Carlos Slim, a Mexican entrepreneur, is the world’s richest man. I love his name. If you are an entrepreneur or thinking of becoming one, you must learn about how others have done it.

By our calculations, the 67-year-old Slim has amassed a $59 billion fortune, based on the value of his public holdings at the end of July. This number puts him just ahead of perennial No. 1, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose net worth is estimated to be at least $58 billion. But Gates is selling off his single greatest source of wealth, Microsoft stock, to fund his foundation, while Slim’s fortune is growing at a stunning clip. His net worth jumped $12 billion this year alone. His family’s holdings represent more than 5% of Mexico’s 2006 gross domestic product, and Slim-controlled companies make up one-third of the $422 billion Mexican Bolsa, or stock exchange.

Portly and often puffing a cigar, Slim could pass for a latter-day Latin American J.P. Morgan. But with his dominant stakes in everything from phones to finance, his business profile more closely resembles that of John D. Rockefeller, who likewise thrived in a loosely regulated environment. (For the record, though, even in current dollars Rockefeller’s wealth pales in comparison to Slim’s: At his death in 1937, Rockefeller was worth $20.3 billion, representing one fifty-second of 1937 U.S. GDP.)


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