11 Most Unusual Billionaires
“Money, money, money Must be Funny In a rich man’s world” – ABBA
ABBA got it right. All of us have a list of things we would love to do or buy if we had the moolah. The richer you get, the more expensive your list becomes. As you become a millionaire or a billionaire, your taste goes weirder. Don’t get me wrong. If you have money, of course you can spend it in any way you like.
Each one of us has our own hobbies and interests and if we can afford them, why should we not pursue them? But some of them are a wee bit left of centre. They say all geniuses are eccentric in nature. Some billionaires can give the most eccentric people a run for their money (pun intended) when it comes to unusual behaviour or actions. Here is a list of 11 unusual billionaires.
1. Howard Hughes
One of the first eccentric billionaires of this world was Howard Hughes. He had it all going for himself. With many successful businesses, he was most prominently a film producer and an aviator. A Hollywood playboy, his films got financial and critical success. But things took a bad turn when he crashed a new experimental plane in Beverly Hills. The chronic pain he suffered because of the accident and his inherent OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), caused him to turn into a recluse.
During his bouts of isolation, he would lock himself in his personal theatre, hotel room or screening rooms. He would eat only chicken and candy during these periods which went on for months at a time. He would not even use the washroom and instead use bottles to relieve himself. His condition kept deteriorating over the years and in 1976, he was eventually found dead. The police needed to identify the body using fingerprints as he was completely unrecognizable.
2. Richard Branson
Starting his own company at the age of 16, Richard Branson is one of the most respectable business minds in today’s world. The founder of Virgin group owns over 360 various companies. Be it airlines, record companies, amusement parks, cell phone manufacturer, condoms or even soda pops, he has a piece of everything. Living life to the fullest, Branson have set up a quirky business of shooting people into the space for a mere $200,000.
His Virgin Galactic venture would let the keen travellers to travel to space. Hold on! It does not end with just travel. His plans are to build hotels and create a space resort in space for people who would like to take a family trip during their children’s vacation IN SPACE! The fun part of his plan is that his eccentricity would cater to the eccentricity of other rich people.
3. Jeff Bezos
Another billionaire with interest in space travel is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos. He is an expert in electrical engineering, technology and computer science and had created a company that focuses on developing human spaceflight- Blue Origin. His passion had also seen him recover the Apollo 11’s engines from the Atlantic Ocean’s bottom. He had also given $42million to Long Now Foundation to help them build a clock that can keep time for 10,000 years- “Clock of the Long Now”.
4. Mark Zuckerberg
The youngest billionaire in America, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, had not let fame get into his head. He lives a simple, normal, quiet and reserved life. He wears nerdy, college freshman- like clothes and lives in a modest house. What is unusual about this oh-so-normal guy is his eating habits.
He is supposedly a “vegetarian”- unless he himself kills the animal he is eating. On May 2011, he posted on Facebook “I just killed a pig and a goat”. He had supposedly given this up since 2012.
5. Ingvar Kampard
For IKEA founder Ingvar Kampard, saving money comes easy. It is understandable as you just don’t become a billionaire if you are a spendthrift. But once you are a billionaire, do you need to carry on? Frugality or extreme cheapness is what brings him to this list. Being down to earth is one thing but what Ingvar Kampard does is recycle teabags, steal salt/ sugar/ pepper packets from restaurants, lives in a modest house, flies economy class, uses public transportation and drives a 1993 Volvo. Begs the question- what is he saving for?
6. Peter Thiel
Have you seen the movie “Waterworld”? That is one of the interests of technologically philanthropic Peter Thiel, the Co-founder of PayPal and investor in Facebook. He invests in his Thiel Foundation which works on developing floating cities on oceans (to eradicate the problem of over-population), artificial intelligence and immortality (who does not want that?).
7. David Rockfeller
David Rockfeller is a fine entomologist but he had taken his love for bugs to a whole new level. He spends millions of dollars to increase his collection of Coleoptera (beetle- and no we are not talking about the car). He is also an art lover and donates to museums around the world. His house, thus, is a home to one of the largest beetles collection alongside the finest art collections.
8. Clive Palmer
The book and movie “Jurassic Park” had inspired many. But Australian businessman Clive Palmer, owner of Minerology, had taken his interest to the next level. He had invested millions into research on dinosaur cloning and when that failed, he had installed animatronics dinosaurs in his golfing resorts and hotels. His obsession with movies does not end there. His next big project is a replica of the Titanic, set to sail in 2016.
9. Robert Klark Graham
He became a millionaire for inventing shatter-proof plastic eyeglass lenses and went on to invest his big bucks to create a master race of human beings. He simply opened a sperm bank for geniuses which would only accept donations from Nobel Prize laureates. Besides potential dilemmas, the issue with his brilliant plan was that most Noble laureates were old and their donations were not viable enough. However, 217 children were born out of this project. His ambitious dream was closed right after his death.
10. Nicolas Berggruen
Nicolas Berggruen is one of the most philanthropic billionaires you would ever get the chance to know about. He sold all his material possessions (including his home) just because he lost interest in them. He then donated all earnings from his sale to charities. He stays in hotels as he travels around the world and has earned the nickname of “Homeless Billionaire”.
11. Graham Pendrill
Another generous philanthropist that makes to this list is Graham Pendrill. A 57 year old antiques dealer, Graham donated all his money to charity. The story does not end there. He moved to Kenya to help the Masai Mara tribe to solve inter tribal issues. He lives in a mud hat and wears sandals and tribal robes and is the only white man to have been initiated into the tribe. He had received the title of the “Brave One” in the tribe.