Top 14 Richest People In America
Original List by ZankRank

william gates iii
$57.0 billion - software visionary stepped down from day-to-day duties at microsoft in june to devote his talents and riches to philanthropy. the $36 billion bill & melinda gates foundation donates to causes such as fighting hunger in developing countries, improving education in america's high schools and developing vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and aids. appointed office veteran jeffrey raikes chief exec of gates foundation in september. gates remains microsoft chairman. appearing in tv commercials with comedian jerry seinfeld as part of campaign to improve windows brand- vista operating system continues to get mixed reviews. sells shares each quarter, redeploys proceeds via investment vehicle cascade (nyse: cae - news - people )- more than half of fortune is outside mic
warren buffett
$50.0 billion - iconic investor crowned the world's richest man in march as berkshire hathaway shares ran up 25% between july 2007 and february 2008. berkshire stock has fallen 15% since, erasing $12 billion from oracle of omaha's fortune in 6 months and forcing him to cede the title back to friend and bridge partner bill gates. son of nebraska politician delivered newspapers as a boy. filed first tax return at age 13, claiming $35 deduction for bicycle. studied under value investing guru benjamin graham at columbia. took over textile firm berkshire hathaway 1965. today holding company invested in insurance (geico, general re), jewelry (borsheim's), utilities (midamerican energy (other-otc: mdpwl.pk - news - people )), food (dairy queen, see's candies). also has noncontrolling stak
bill gates
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27
lawrence ellison
$27.0 billion - database titan continues to buy up would-be competition- more than 40 acquisitions in the past 4 years. bought bea systems (nasdaq: beas - news - people ) for $8.5 billion in january. revenues up 25% to $22.4 billion this year- profits up 29% to $5.5 billion. stock down 12% in past 12 months. invested $125 million in web software outfit netsuite- took public in december, stock promptly dropped 30%. his shares still worth $500 million. chicago native studied physics at u. of chicago, didn't graduate. started oracle in 1977. public 1986, a day before microsoft. owns 453-foot rising sun- built a smaller leisure boat because superyacht is hard to park. squabbling in court with swiss boating billionaire ernesto bertarelli over terms of next america's cup. recently unveiled
s robson walton
$23.3 billion - son of wal-mart pioneer sam walton (d. 1992) and siblings, sister-in-law reclaim spot in forbes 400 top 10 after falling off last year. wal-mart shares up 45% since last september, as cash-strapped consumers head to discount-driven superstores in droves. also profiting from stake in solar-paneling outfit first solar- shares up 120% in past 12 months. sam started as j.c. penney clerk in 1940- opened newport, ark. five-and-dime store benjamin franklin 5 years later. lost lease in 1950. with brother james started general-store chain in bentonville, ark., 1962. today wal-mart is world's largest retailer: 7,300 stores, 2 million employees serve 200 million customers. sales: $378 billion. rob is wal-mart chairman- helping company become eco-friendly through partnership with envi
christy walton & family
$23.2 billion - daughter-in-law of wal-mart pioneer sam walton (d. 1992) and siblings reclaim spot in forbes 400 top 10 after falling off last year. wal-mart shares up 45% since last september, as cash-strapped consumers head to discount-driven superstores in droves. also profiting from stake in solar-paneling outfit first solar- shares up 120% in past 12 months. sam started as j.c. penney clerk in 1940- opened newport, ark. five-and-dime store benjamin franklin 5 years later. lost lease in 1950. with brother james started general-store chain in bentonville, ark., 1962. today wal-mart is world's largest retailer: 7,300 stores, 2 million employees serve 200 million customers. sales: $378 billion. christy is the widow of john walton (d. 2005)- donated 7-acre san diego home to cross border p
24
charles koch
$19.0 billion - with brother david, transformed family refining business into america's largest private company. father, fred c. koch (d. 1967), invented method of turning heavy oil into gasoline. sons charles, david, frederick and william inherited koch industries after father's death. charles and david bought out william and frederick for $1.1 billion in 1983- fraternal fight over deal settled in 2001. today koch industries has stakes in pipelines, refineries, fertilizer, fibers and polymers, forest and consumer products, chemical technology. brothers each own 42%- collective fortune up $4 billion as oil and fertilizer prices soar. sales last year: $98 billion. employs 80,000 workers in 60 countries. purchased invista, maker of lycra and coolmax fabric, in 2004 for $4.2 billion. droppe
david koch
$19.0 billion - with brother charles, transformed family refining business into america's largest private company. father, fred c. koch (d. 1967), invented method of turning heavy oil into gasoline. sons charles, david, frederick and william inherited koch industries after father's death. charles and david bought out william and frederick for $1.1 billion in 1983- fraternal fight over deal settled in 2001. today koch industries has stakes in pipelines, refineries, fertilizer, fibers and polymers, forest and consumer products, chemical technology. brothers each own 42%- collective fortune up $4 billion as oil and fertilizer prices soar. david is executive vice president. sales last year: $98 billion. employs 80,000 workers in 60 countries. purchased invista, maker of lycra and coolmax fab
jim walton
$23.4 billion - son of wal-mart pioneer sam walton (d. 1992) and siblings, sister-in-law reclaim spot in forbes 400 top 10 after falling off last year. wal-mart shares up 45% since last september, as cash-strapped consumers head to discount-driven superstores in droves. also profiting from stake in solar-paneling outfit first solar- shares up 120% in past 12 months. sam started as j.c. penney (nyse: jcp - news - people ) clerk in 1940- opened newport, ark. five-and-dime store benjamin franklin 5 years later. lost lease in 1950. with brother james started general-store chain in bentonville, ark., 1962. today wal-mart is world's largest retailer: 7,300 stores, 2 million employees serve 200 million customers. sales: $378 billion. jim chairs arvest bank group, community publishers.
alice walton
$23.2 billion - daughter of wal-mart pioneer sam walton (d. 1992) and siblings, sister-in-law reclaim spot in forbes 400 top 10 after falling off last year. wal-mart shares up 45% since last september, as cash-strapped consumers head to discount-driven superstores in droves. also profiting from stake in solar-paneling outfit first solar- shares up 120% in past 12 months. sam started as j.c. penney clerk in 1940- opened newport, ark. five-and-dime store benjamin franklin 5 years later. lost lease in 1950. with brother james started general-store chain in bentonville, ark., 1962. today wal-mart is world's largest retailer: 7,300 stores, 2 million employees serve 200 million customers. sales: $378 billion. alice is building crystal bridges art museum in bentonville.
19.7
michael bloomberg
$20.0 billion - mayor mike has become america's 8th-richest citizen after a transaction put a solid valuation on bloomberg lp: he borrowed to buy a 20% stake in his company from merrill lynch (nyse: mer - news - people ) in july for $4.5 billion. today he owns 88% of the financial data and news outfit he founded in 1982. boston-born son of accountant got engineering degree from johns hopkins, m.b.a. from harvard. became a trader at salomon brothers 1970s, quit with $10 million in stock after merger. created financial information services firm innovative market systems to sell financial data, analytic tools to wall street. renamed bloomberg lp 1987- added news service, magazine, cable network, radio station. spent $74 million to become mayor of new york city in 2001 and $85 million on
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