10 inspirational rags to riches stories of all time you should know

Rome is not built in a day. Most of the successful people you hear about aren’t always famous and rich. Their hard work, consistency, and determination made it possible to achieve what they are today. No matter how ambitious, driven, or disciplined you are, we all have days when we need a little extra kick to get up and make it happen. There are also days which gives you this constant reminder that other people out there possibly working harder than you and maybe even getting more out of their work. But, every insanely successful people struggled through uncertain times before reaching their massive success. They are the living example of rags to riches stories which can inspire a lot of people around the world to stay grounded and focused in their work.

Below are 10 rags to riches stories of all time that can inspire you to push yourself to its limit.


  1. Steve Jobs

This Apple founder is now a household name for almost all people. Jobs was adopted by his biological parents and he found his interest in electronics after his foster dad showed him the technical tinkering in their garage. He had to drop out of college because his education was costing his foster parents a lot. He used to return Coke bottles for money and live on free meals at the Hare Krishna temple. A hippie who used to trip on LSD, Jobs went from a technician in Atari, Inc. to become the CEO of Apple Inc.


  1. J.K. Rowling

Joanne Rowling was from a poor family. She grew up with her two parents who struggled financially. She went to college with the dream of becoming a novelist, but her parents always told her that it was her fantasy that would never come true.

Rowling had to flee from an abusive relationship as a single mom. She was very nearly homeless, relying on government assistance to survive. Highly imaginative as a kid who thrived on stories, she dived into her passion of writing stories. She focused on finishing her idea of Harry Potter, which had been brewing in her mind for a long time. Multiple publishers rejected her manuscript. Finally, when she was 32, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in the United Kingdom. Today, she is the most successful novelist in the world. The Harry Potter franchise has grossed at least $7.7 billion, and she is personally worth $650 million.

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  1. Walt Disney

The story behind Walt Disney’s fame is also another addition to the list of rags to riches stories. Our childhood would have been dreary without this genius of a man. Walt Disney was brought up on a farm who used to draw pictures for his neighbors for money. He used to be the cartoonist for the school newspaper. Disney also went through the jobless phase where no one hired him, and his brother had to help him out with his job search. He went from rags to riches by starting out with advertisements and going on to animating his own cartoons.


  1. Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison was born in New York City to an unwed Jewish mother. His father was an Italian American US Air Force pilot. When he was nine months old, Ellison contracted pneumonia and his mother gave him to her aunt and uncle for adoption. His adoptive mother was warm and loving, while his adoptive father was unsupportive and distant. He left the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after his second year because his adoptive mother had just died. Later, he attended the University of Chicago for one term, where he first encountered computer design.

In 1977, he founded Software Development Laboratories (SDL) with two partners and an investment of $2,000. In 1982, the company became Oracle Systems Corporation after its flagship product, the Oracle database. Currently, Ellison owns stakes in Salesforce.com, NetSuite, Quark Biotechnology Inc., and Astex Pharmaceuticals. In 2018, Ellison was listed on the Forbes List of Billionaires as the tenth richest man in the world.


  1. Elon Musk

On the heels of his history-making SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch, all eyes are on the Tesla car-creating entrepreneur. Musk wasn’t born into a rich family. His mom was a dietician and his father was an electromechanical engineer. His childhood wasn’t that ideal, as he often talks about how much adversity he faced his life. But, he was obviously able to rise above it and, with the help of clear, creative visions and his incredible intellect, invested and invented his way into becoming one of the wealthiest and most exciting entrepreneurs in the world.

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  1. Eminem

Marshall Bruce Mathers III who is professionally known as Eminem had a rough childhood. Formerly studying at Lincoln High School in Warren from 1986 to 1989, Marshall often switched schools in every two or three months. He was also a target of violent bullying, both in the schoolyard and in the local streets that surrounded him. By ninth grade, he dropped out of high school and decided to pursue music full time. It took performing and local rap battles, working dead-end jobs and creating a crazy alter ego, the famous “Slim Shady,” to get noticed by the likes of Dr. Dre.


  1. Dhirubhai Ambani

India too has its share of rags to riches stories. Founder of Reliance Industries, Dhirubhai Ambani was one of the three sons of Hirachandbhai, a school teacher, and Jamanaben. He also had two sisters. An anecdote from his childhood is that he once bought a tin of groundnut oil on credit from a local wholesaler and sold the oil in retail on the roadside. He earned a few rupees as profit from this transaction. Apparently, during weekends when his school was closed, he used to set up bhajia stalls at village fairs to make ends meet at home.

According to R-ADAG, when he was 17, he went to Aden (now Yemen) in search of opportunity and worked as a dispatch clerk for A. Besse in 1949. A couple of years later, the company became a distributor for Shell products and Dhirubhai was promoted to manage the company’s oil-filling station at the port of Aden. It was here that he dreamed of setting up and owning a refinery, which he later realized with his petrochemicals venture.

After returning to India, he started his first textile mill in Ahmednagar. Though his businesses were a huge success, there were also issues regarding Ambani’s control over stock exchange. His detractors accused him of illegal or unethical transactions and acts but an investigation by the RBI did not find any evidence of it. By 2007, the combined fortune of the Ambani family stood at $60 billion, making Ambani’s the second richest family in the world.


  1. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey was born in a tiny town in Mississippi to a teenage single mother who worked as a housemaid. They had to rely on family to help them survive. She has often spoken about the hardships she experienced during childhood, saying she was raped at age 9 and at 13, after suffering years of abuse, she ran away from home. She became pregnant at 14. The baby died soon after birth. Though Oprah had been through hell and back at such a young age, it only made her have more empathy for the pain of others.

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She was incredibly smart and excelled in school. She got a scholarship to college and a job at a radio station. She worked her way up to being a news anchor. There was something truly special about her personality. When she was 30, she became the first black woman in history to have her own talk show. Today, she is worth $2.7 billion which is why she is also in the addition of rags to riches stories.


  1. Richard Branson

Richard Branson built the Virgin Group empire from basically nothing and seemed to have the most fun ever along the way. His father was a barrister and his mother was a flight attendant, but the two instilled the young mogul with enough confidence and ambition to slowly but surely become one of the wealthiest men in the world. Though his family supported him, they were certainly never able to give an above-average financial head start. Instead, he negotiated, played by his own rules, and figured out how to slowly build a small multi-media conglomerate by keeping a positive attitude and open mind every step of the way.


  1. Ralph Lauren

Born in a strict Jewish family with a house painter for a father, Ralph Lauren grew up with big dreams. He used to sell ties to his classmates to earn some cash, and he mentioned in his yearbook that he wanted to be a millionaire. His interest in ties went on to help he put his foot through the door of bigger achievements in the fashion world. When he was signed on to design the clothes for ‘The Great Gatsby’ in 1974, he was catapulted into the fame which he commands today.

Sandeep Debnath

Written by Sandeep Debnath

The future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, question it and turn it inside out. Being a blogger, I started sharing my knowledge and interests here on BlogPoke.