Monthly Archives: April 2012

Five Billionaires Who Live Below Their Means

by Katie Adams
Thursday, April 1, 2010

At least once in your life – maybe even once a week or once a day for that matter – you have fantasized about coming into a lot of money. What would you do if you were worth millions or even billions? Believe it or not there are millionaires and billionaires among us who masquerade as relatively normal, run-of-the-mill people. Take a peek at some of the most frugal wealthy people in the world.

Warren Buffett
Millions of people read Buffett’s books and follow his firm, Berkshire Hathaway’s, every move. But the real secret to Buffett’s personal fortune may be his penchant for frugality. Buffett, who is worth an estimated $47 billion, eschews opulent homes and luxury items. He and his wife still live in their modest home in Omaha, Nebraska which they purchased for just $31,500 more than 50 years ago.

Although he’s dined in the best restaurants around the globe, given the choice he would opt for a good burger and fries accompanied by a cold cherry Coke. When asked why he doesn’t own a yacht he responded “Most toys are just a pain in the neck.” (Find out how he went from selling soft drinks to buying up companies and making billions of dollars.

Carlos Slim
While most of the world is very familiar with Bill Gates, the name Carlos Slim rarely rings a bell. But it’s a name worth knowing. Slim, who is a native of Mexico, was just named the world’s richest billionaire – that’s right, richer than the uber-famous Microsoft founder. Slim is worth more than $53 billion and while he could afford the world’s most extravagant luxuries he rarely indulges. He, like Buffett, doesn’t own a yacht or plane and he has lived in the same home for over 40 years.

Ingvar Kamprad
The founder of the Swedish furniture phenomenon Ikea struck success with affordable, assemble-it-yourself furniture. For Kamprad, figuring out how to save money isn’t just for his customers, it’s a high personal value. He’s been quoted as saying “Ikea people do not drive flashy cars or stay at luxury hotels.” That goes for the founder as well. He flies coach for business and when he needs to get around town locally he either takes the bus or will head out in his 15-year-old Volvo 240 GL.

Chuck Feeney
Growing up in the wake of The Depression as an Irish-American probably has something to do with Feeney’s frugality. With a personal motto of “I set out to work hard, not get rich,” the cofounder of Duty Free Shoppers has quietly become a billionaire but even more secretively given almost all of it away through his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. In addition to giving more than $600 million to his alma mater Cornell University, he has given billions to schools, research departments and hospitals.

Loath to spend if he doesn’t have to, Feeney beats both Buffett and Kamprad in the donation category, giving out less grants than only Ford and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations. A frequent user of public transportation, Mr. Feeney flies economy class, buys clothes from retail stores, and does not wast money on an extensive shoes closet, stating “you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time”. He raised his children in the same way; making them work the same normal summer jobs as most teens.

Frederik Meijer
If you live in the Midwest chances are good that you shop at Meijer’s chain of grocery stores. Meijer is worth more than $5 billion and nearly half of that was amassed when everyone else was watching their net worth drop in 2009. Like Buffett he buys reasonably-priced cars and drives them until they die, and like Kamprad he chooses affordable motels when on travel for work. Also, like Chuck Feeney, rather than carelessly spending his wealth Mr. Meijer is focused on the good that it can provide to the community.

The Bottom Line
The dirty little secret of some of the world’s wealthiest people is that they rarely act like it. Instead of over-the-top spending, they’re busy figuring out how to save and invest to have that much more in the future. It’s a habit you might want to consider in order to build up your own little storehouse of cash.

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Filed under Billionaires, business

Gedicht Voor Toots Thielmans

 

 

 

 

 

TOOTS THIELEMANS

er zijn
maar weinig mensen
die alleen door
uit te ademen in
een stuk metaal
voorgoed je leven veranderen
ik noem er een paar
chet baker
john coltrane
charlie parker
en
toots thielemans
als toots de lippen
op het metaal zet
de ogen sluit
en zijn ziel
door de houten schotjes blaast
dartelen er
zwermen vogels door je
borstkast
en rijdt rutger hauer
toen hij godzijdank nog geen verstand had van acteren
weer door de binnenstad van amsterdam
nooit kijk je meer
naar verliefde meisjes
achter op fietsen
hun hoofd tegen de rug
van hun grote liefde
zonder dat toots
met een kracht
van 8.8 op de schaal van ontroerend
je hart openbreekt
toots
maakt
alles
mooier
laat een stukje zien
van een in
een b-film acterende
beau van erven dorens
laat toots iets blazen
en verdomd
het lijkt opeens wat
zet toots zijn muziek
onder de zojuist schaamteloos ingesproken
commercial door patrick lodiers
en je hebt opeens zin
om naar zijn programma te gaan kijken

zojuist
vlak voor de uitzending
zat toots thielemans
vlak achter mij in een stoel
het was stil
en opeens hoorde ik
hem blazen
we zaten daar niet meer alleen
de ruimte vulde zich
met het geluid van 100-en
langspeelplaten
miles davis poetste
in een hoek van de kamer
zijn trompet
en buiten
in de tuin
terwijl toots blies
tikte jan wolkers tegen het raam
hij liet ons een insect zien
hij lachte
toots stopte even met spelen
en zwaaide
dag jan
zo ervaar je het leven na toots
je leeft je leven in een film
waar toots al lang
de soundtrack bij heeft geschreven

Nico Dijkshoorn DWDD 21-04-2010

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Filed under Entertainment, Mensen, Music, People

If Steve Jobs Had Applied His Talents To Energy And Climate Change

FC Expert Blog

By Boyd Cohen

Steve Jobs created innovative products that change the world of technology. Imagine the other industries he could have disrupted.
The anecdotes and stories of Steve Jobs’ career continue to pour in, with the sad news of a life cut too short by cancer. Like many Fast Company readers, I have been a fan of what Steve Jobs and Apple have managed to do over the past decade or so. I also own an iPad 2, an iPhone 4, and a MacBook Air. As has been written many times, Jobs’s genius helped Apple to reinvent at least three different industries (computing, mobile phones, and music).

I began to reflect today on what Steve Jobs meant to those industries he reinvented. Even competitors like Bill Gates have praised Steve for how he has innovated and changed the face of so many industries. He set a high bar inside Apple and forced his competitors to “innovate or die.” Given that my focus is on profitable innovations for the low-carbon economy, I thought it would be interesting to consider what the U.S. would look like if Steve Jobs had applied his passions to reinventing the energy industry and related systems.

Passion and Commitment to Change the World
The first thing we know is that Jobs would have been relentless in his pursuit to reinvent the ways that we interact with, consume and produce energy. Steve Jobs only spent mental energy on big ideas that could change the world that he was truly passionate about: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking,” he said. And: “Try to make a difference in this world and contribute to the higher good. You’ll find it gives more meaning to your life and it’s a great antidote to boredom.”

Telling the Right Story–It’s Not About Climate Change, Stupid
One of the biggest failures of the environmental and climate change movement has been its lack of proper storytelling. One of the best attempts to tell the story about climate change was Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth book and movie project. I have to give him props for raising awareness of climate change by trying to explain, sometimes with some technological wizadry, why the climate is changing and why humans are partially to blame.
However, if Steve Jobs were Al Gore, he would have done this completely differently. He would not try to scare people with the doom and gloom of climate change. If Steve Jobs wanted to change the dialogue and collective consciousness about this challenge, he would have done it in a way that inspires optimism and excitement about the convenient solutions that will make our lives better. My friend Peter Byck has tried to do this through his documentary, Carbon Nation, and my co-author Hunter Lovins and I tried to do the same with Climate Capitalism. But imagine if Steve Jobs were telling the story about how much better his new GPS and smart grid-linked EV mass transit system would allow us to get anywhere we wanted to go, faster and smarter than we ever have before.

He Would Make Public Transit Exciting
North Americans generally think that public transit sucks. And to be honest, most of our public transit systems are pretty bad–we often see long waits for buses that are frequently late at stops that are exposed to the elements, and are usually still stuck using the same roads that all the other vehicles use (meaning they aren’t very fast, either). I am convinced that if Steve Jobs had been in the role of, say , Mayor of Los Angeles, he would have introduced some radical innovation to the public transit system, making it cooler than using your own car.
Trying to channel Steve Jobs is impossible, but whatever his solution, I bet it would be faster than single occupancy vehicles, make more use of smart technology, be powered by renewables, generate more energy than it consumed, and send excess energy back to a brilliant grid.
And what would a discussion about Steve Jobs’ talents be without considering how he might bring his design aesthetic to any innovation? Transit would be cool because he would design it to be so. It would be sleek and sophisticated, yet simple. Touch screens would allow passengers to know exactly when their transit vehicle was arriving and when they would arrive at their destination, thanks to GPS and other tools we haven’t thought of yet.
A Brilliant (Not Just Smart) Grid
I recently wrote about the challenges of smart grid adoption in the U.S.–something that poses the potential to revolutionize how we produce, distribute and consume energy. If Steve Jobs were the CEO of an energy company, even a mainstream oil and gas company like Shell, I think he would have seen the writing on the wall a long time ago and made a major shift into renewables as well as the convergence of IT and energy. He would convert a company focused on outdated paradigms into the next big thing, turning the potential smart grid into a brilliant grid.
In his words: “Innovation has no limits. The only limit is your imagination. It’s time for you to begin thinking out of the box. If you are involved in a growing industry, think of ways to become more efficient; customer friendly; and easier to do business with. If you are involved in a shrinking industry-get out of it quick and change before you become obsolete; out of work or out of business. And remember that procrastination is not an option here. Start innovating now.”
And of course there would be large scale adoption of the brilliant grid technology because again, it would be easy and maybe even fun to use. The design of the systems used by consumers (i.e. smart meters and appliances) would be so intuitive and elegant that no one would even think about complaining about low-level radiation from smart meters technology. Smart meters would become the thing everyone needs to have in their home.
I know that Steve Jobs had his critics. But more often then not he proved them wrong. He was a once-in-a-generation genius at reinventing industries. Through his storytelling and innovation skills, he easily could have reinvented the dialogue about climate change, changed public perception and use of public transit, and accelerated the adoption of a super smart grid. Maybe there is someone else on the horizon who will be the next generation’s Steve Jobs, prepared to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems– water and food shortage, climate change and energy. If there is, they probably wouldn’t use focus groups either.

Boyd Cohen, Ph.D., LEED AP, is a climate strategist helping to lead communities, cities and companies on the journey towards the low carbon economy. Dr. Cohen is the co-author of Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change.

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Filed under business, Challengers, Change, climate, Creative, Development, Leadership