What is a tycoon?Tycoon /tai.ˈkuˈn /A tycoon is a wealthy and powerful business person, particularly someonewho has made a great deal of money all on their own, rather than inheritingsome money or a company from relatives.The word tycoon is derived from the Japanese word taikun (大君), whichmeans "great lord," and it was used as a title for the shogun. The wordentered the English language in 1857 with the return of Commodore Perry tothe United States.
John D. RockefellerJohn Davison Rockefeller (July 8, 1839 – May23, 1937) was an American oil magnate andphilanthropist. He was the founder of theStandard Oil Company, which dominated the oilindustry and was the first great U.S. businesstrust. In 1870, he founded the Standard OilCompany and aggressively ran it until he officiallyretired in 1897. Standard Oil began asan Ohio partnership formed by John D.Rockefeller, his brother William Rockefeller. Askerosene and gasoline grew inimportance, Rockefellers wealth soared, and hebecame the worlds richest man and firstAmerican worth more than a billion dollars.Adjusting for inflation, he is often regarded as therichest person in history.
Andrew Carnegie Andrew Carnegie (November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish- American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the most important philanthropists of his era. Carnegie was born in Scotland, and migrated to the United States as a child with his parents. His first job in the United States was as a factory worker. Later on he became a messenger boy. Eventually he progressed up the ranks of his company. He then founded the Carnegie Steel Company, which was later became U.S. Steel. By the 1890s, his company was the largest and most profitable industrial enterprise in the world.
William Randolph HearstWilliam Randolph Hearst (April 29, 1863 – August14, 1951) was an American business magnate andleading newspaper publisher. Hearst entered thepublishing business in 1887, after taking control of TheSan Francisco Examiner from his father. Moving toNew York City, he acquired The New York Journal andengaged in a bitter circulation war with JosephPulitzers New York World which led to the creationof yellow journalism—sensationalized stories ofdubious veracity. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearstcreated a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers inmajor American cities at its peak. He later expandedto magazines, creating the largest newspaper andmagazine business in the world.
Hearst CastleBeginning in 1919, Hearst began to build thenever-completed Hearst Castle, on a 240,000acre (97,000 ha) ranch at SanSimeon, California, which he furnished withart, antiques and entire rooms brought fromthe great houses of Europe.Hearst Castle is now a National HistoricLandmark in the United States, and a statepark of California.
What do you think?• Who are some famous tycoons from Chinese history?• Are people who are famous for becoming rich admirable, or should they serve their community in other ways?• Do you think that we can learn more about business by studying the lives of business tycoons?
Richard Branson Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin Group of more than 400 companies. His first successful business venture was a magazine called Student at age 16. In 1970, he set up an audio record mail-order business. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores. Bransons Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label. Branson is the 4th richest citizen of the United Kingdom and 254th richest person in the world, according to the Forbes 2011 list of billionaires, with an estimated net worth of US$4.2 billion
Virgin GalacticVirgin Galactic is a companywithin Richard Bransons VirginGroup which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to the payingpublic, along with suborbital spacescience missions and orbital launches ofsmall satellites. In the near future VirginGalactic plans to offer orbital humanspaceflights to tourists for severalmillion dollars a ticket.
Bill GatesWilliam Henry "Bill" Gates III (born October28, 1955) is an American businessmagnate, investor, philanthropist, author, andformer CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, thesoftware company he founded. He is consistentlyranked among the worlds wealthiest people andwas the wealthiest overall from 1995 to2009, except in 2008, when he was rankedthird. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held thepositions of CEO and chief software architect, andremains the largest individual shareholder, with 6.4percent of the common stock.Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs ofthe personal computer revolution. Although he isadmired by many, a number of industryinsiders criticize his business tactics, which theyconsider anti-competitive, an opinion which has insome cases been upheld by the courts.
Mark Zuckerberg Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known for co-creating the social networking site Facebook, of which he is chief executive and president. It was co-founded as a private company in 2004 by Zuckerberg and classmates Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes while they were students at Harvard University. In 2010, Zuckerberg was named Time magazines Person of the Year. As of 2011, his personal wealth was estimated to be $17.5 billion and he is one of the youngest billionaires in history. Zuckerberg’s story can be seen in the 2010 film The Social Network.
What do you think?• Are business tycoons really talented people, or are they just lucky?• What do you think about aggressive business practices? Is it right for people to force other companies out of business?• Who do you know that is very good at business? What are they like?• What is your great business idea? How can you become a billionaire?