Net Worth: $33.3 bln
Asia’s wealthiest man quit school when he was 12 and worked at a watch-strap factory to support his family.
Net Worth: $20.4 bln
Leonardo Del Vecchio
At seven, his mother sent him to a Milan orphanage. At 14, he began an apprenticeship in an eyeglass factory. Eleven years later, he founded Luxottica.
Net Worth: $9.1 bln
The oil oligarch was orphaned by the age of four and raised by relatives. After dropping out of college, he served with the Soviet army before selling plastic toys from his apartment.US
Net Worth: $6.6 bln
WhatsApp’s co-founder emigrated from Ukraine at the age of 16 with his mother and swept floors in a grocery store to help pay the bills.India
Net Worth: $5.2 bln
He dropped out of accounting school, cleaned hotel rooms and drove a cab in London before running a Dubai-based retail empire.US
Net Worth: $3.1 bln
When he returned from WWII, he slept on a Detroit park bench before borrowing $1,800 to open a diner and eventually becoming the chairman of Dole Food.
Net Worth: $3 bln
The media mogul was born to a teenage mom and raised by her grandmother on a Mississippi farm.US
Net Worth: $2.8 bln
John Paul DeJoria
After selling shampoo Door-to-door—and sleeping in his car—he co-founded hair care giant John Paul Mitchell Systems.UK
Net Worth: $2.1 bln
The London real estate investor moved to the UK from Cyprus when he was 16 and worked as a dishwasher.Images: LI KA-SHING: BOBBY YIP / REUTERS; JAN KOUM: DAVID RAMOS / REUTERS; ROMAN ABRAMOVICH: OLIVIA HARRIS / REUTERS; JOHN PAUL DEJORIA: SAMANTHA SAIS / REUTERS
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(This story appears in the 17 April, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)