Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has reached record-high levels of wealth this month when his net worth increased by over $5 billion.
On Monday, Bezos' personal wealth peaked at a staggering $141.9 billion according to the Forbes World's Billionaire's list. At the time, that put him ahead of the next richest person on the list by a considerable margin. He was worth about $49 billion more than Bill Gates, who holds the number two spot, and about $60 billion more than Warren Buffet.
The list is updated at the close of every trading day, and already Bezos' personal fortune has settled back down a stratosphere or two. Still, at the time of this writing Bezos is worth $112 billion, giving him a substantial lead over those behind him. After Gates and Buffet, French businessman Bernard Arnault has a net worth of about $72 billion. After him is Mark Zuckerberg, whose wealth has hung by a string since his massive privacy scandal earlier this year.
Bezos has held the number one spot on the billionaires' list for nearly a year now. According to a report by NBC News, he was the first person ever to cross the $100 billion threshold, making him the first "centi-billionaire" on the wealth index in recorded history.
Bezos rode the rising tide of the internet's ubiquity to the heights of his wealth. His story has been told in a biography written by Brad Stone, titled The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. It explains how Bezos studied computer science and electrical engineering in college, and held numerous jobs in finance and technology after graduating.
In the 1990s, Bezos was entranced by the rapid growth of internet usage. He gave up a stable job to pursue his idea of a massive online bookstore, with the help of a considerable savings account and supportive family. Still, the 54-year-old often recalls that it was no easy decision. In 2017 he spoke at the Summit L.A. conference, where he recounted the moment he told his then-boss about the idea for Amazon.
"I think this is a good idea, but I think this would be an even better idea for somebody that didn't already have a good job," he reportedly said.
Bezos said that he realized then that he couldn't live with himself later in life if he had to wonder what could have been.
"In most cases, our biggest regrets turn out to be acts of omission. It's paths not taken and they haunt us. We wonder what would have happened," he said. "I knew that, when I'm 80, I would never regret trying this thing that I was super excited about and it failing. If it failed, fine. I would be very proud of the fact when I'm 80 that I tried. I also knew that it would always haunt me if I didn't try."
Amazon has had a meteoric rise to success since its founding, and Bezos has grown rich with it, as he still owns massive amounts of stock in his company. The same rise in value that put Bezos at the top of the billionare's list made Amazon the world's second most valuable company, according to CNBC.
However, the accumulation of such wealth comes at a cost. While Bezos luxuriates in inconceivable wealth, countless reports tell of the brutal conditions in Amazon warehouses. His employees aren't overpaid for their hustle, either -- as thousands of employees qualify for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to a report by Snopes.1comments
"The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it," the centi-billionaire said.