Forbes Magazine celebrates its 100th birthday with a look at the world’s top thinkers in business
Forbes has just released a list of “100 Greatest Living Business Minds,” and it’s a mixed bag of the usual suspects and some more eye-catching personalities.
Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Shonda Rhimes, President Donald Trump and Hewlett-Packard’s Meg Whitman are all amongst the favored few that Forbes named to its roundup, but there are some surprising names, too: Russell Simmons, Paul McCartney and Miuccia Prada, among them.
The financial publication amassed the list “[to] celebrate Forbes’ centennial,” in honor of its 100th birthday this year. The list, its editors say, is “the greatest ever collection of business essayists and greatest ever portrait portfolio in business history.”
Fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg is among those Forbes singled out, and she shared some thoughts on her journey to the top with the magazine’s readers.”With the help of a salesman, I took a showroom. Soon after, I designed the first wrap dress,” von Furstenberg writes of her early days in New York. “Overnight that dress became a huge commercial success and a symbol of women’s liberation. Soon we were making 25,000 dresses a week. I was living the American Dream and established my brand.”
“After that I had many ups and downs, but what allowed me to survive is that I was always honest and I truly believed in what I did,” she concluded.
There are others with interesting stories to share, too.
Ratan Tata, former Chairman of several companies within the Indian conglomerate Tata Group — which owns brands including Land Rover, Taj Hotels, and Tetley Teas — shared succinct advice with Forbes readers: “Be passionate in areas relevant to you, and be a voice that is respected and abreast of developments,” Tata said.
Musician Bono, of U2 and founder of the philanthropic group RED, challenged the traditional assumption that businesspeople are only out for themselves: “Some of the most selfish people I’ve met are artists — I’m one of them — and some of the most selfless people I’ve ever met are in business, people like Warren Buffett…” he reflected. “I’ve always seen what I do as an activist, as an artist, as an investor, as coming from the same place.”
Spanx founder Sara Blakely had some common-sense advice for those just starting out in business. “In the early days of Spanx, I didn’t vet the manufacturer helping me make our first product, footless pantyhose. They went out of business and gave me one week’s notice. It almost put Spanx under,” Blakely recalled. “Had I done any kind of financial due diligence on them, I would have been able to prevent that. Early-stage entrepreneurs shouldn’t forget about that layer. It almost stopped everything for me.”
In spite of the diversity on the list — both in terms of industries represented, but also of genders and backgrounds — there are many traditional heavyweights on the list too like Charles Koch, Richard Branson, and Howard Schultz.
As for Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States opened up about the importance of persistence, and of courage.
“The greatest business lesson I’ve learned in life is the same message I have for young people across America: Never give up,” Trump said. “America is a land of dreams, and if we chase those dreams with all of our hearts, then our country will be greater than ever before.”
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