Some of the world’s famous richest people are known for being quirky to an extent. Here are some of the weirdest and most eccentric millionaires/billionaires out there.
“People are overworked! Everyone should have three-day work weeks!”
Those were the words of Carlos Slim when someone shoved a microphone in front of his face back in 2014 in the wake of all the noise surrounding work week discussions back in 2014.
Of course, that’s the sort of stuff you’d hear from someone who not only goes by what is arguably the most “eccentric-playboy-millionaire” name of all the eccentric millionaires but also probably has more money than he would ever be able to spend.
Easy, for him to say, eh? Well, you won’t be wrong. Maybe it does seem crazy on the surface but if you gave it a bit more thought, or perhaps just take the message not minding the messenger, you’d realize it’s not that crazy after all. And when placed side by side with the ‘oddities’ that some of the world’s richest people seem to have an appetite for, it’ll become apparent that the Mexican magnate is quite modest with his shenanigans.
But today, we’re not doing modest. Wildy crazy and eccentric; that’s more like it. So, let’s take a look at four of the most eccentric millionaires and billionaires on the planet, and of course, their weird appetites.
- Clive Palmer (Net Worth: USD 550 Mn)
Clive Palmer is a millionaire who rose from the very bottom of the pile to amass a fortune worth more than a half a billion dollars. Palmer owns Mineralogy, an Australian mining company that focuses on iron ore.
Natural resources have always been a great way to get rich, as has been well-documented in history books and on television.
Of course, you don’t get on the list of the most eccentric millionaires in the world by just having a boatload of cash stashed somewhere; lots of folks do. Even throwing a whole lot of money around doesn’t get one on that list – big spending and crazy spending are two different things.
It would seem Palmer wanted to leave no one in doubt with regards to his position in the latter class.
An iguana could be the choice of a pet for a person who is weird-but-not rich. For a person who is rich but not especially strange, a lynx could be more like it. But for someone who is truly rich and eccentric (something I like to call “eccentrich”), it has to be something more — dinosaurs.
Clive Palmer reportedly sunk some of his millions into research for dinosaur cloning, attempting to become the real-world John Hammond. But when that hit snag after snag, he settled for a dinosaur-themed golf course instead.
And not the usual putt-putt golf course that we all know, mind you — a full-scale (dinosaur-laden) golf resort. Now, that’s one “eccentrich” fellow.
- Peter Thiel (Net Worth: USD 2.3 Bn)
Peter Thiel made his money the new-fashioned way, co-founding electronic payments site PayPal — now owned by eBay — and investing in Facebook early on. He’s an active venture capitalist who has a keen eye on the tech sector. His venture capitalism effort, Founders Fund, focuses on disruptive technologies like Airbnb.
A bit ahead of the curve, but so far, so normal, right? Wait for the plot twist.
Then you get to Vicarious — a company whose mission, prominently stated on its website’s homepage, is to “build the next generation of AI algorithms.” The investors list reads like a tech company all-star team: Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, Ashton Kutcher. But what’s the company up to?
“Using inductive biases drawn from neuroscience, our system requires orders of magnitude less training data than traditional machine learning techniques. Our underlying framework combines the advantages of deep architectures and generative probabilistic models. We use modern software engineering practices, and we strive to maintain a codebase and a culture that are a joy to work in.”
A bit technical, but nothing too eerie, up until you click the ominous “join” tab and something like this pops up:
“Our long term goal is to build machines that exceed human intelligence.”
Altruistic? Or apocalyptic? We’ll leave that decision to you. But it’s definitely eccentric — unless you’re actually looking forward to a robot uprising, in which case it doesn’t seem so crazy.
- Nicolas Berggruen (Net Worth: USD 1.9 Bn)
Sometimes, our possessions become a source of suffering, not a source of pleasure. And when you think about it, that shiny new smartphone is really fun until people start calling to tell you that your credit card payment is overdue and your bank account is overdrawn.
Much better, then, to give it all away and live a meek life among nature, right?
Or you could just do what Nicolas Berggruen did: Give away all your possessions (or most of them, anyway) and live out of swanky hotels for the rest of your life. After all, getting rid of your possessions doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your standards, right? Maybe it just means fewer things to load into your private jet.
Nicolas Berggruen basically is a grown-up version of Kevin McCallister from Home Alone.
At first, this might seem to fall under the lavish-but-not-eccentric category of behaviour. But think about the consequences of living luxury-hotel-to-luxury-hotel.
People make your bed for you every day, but it’s not really your bed, is it? There’s no accumulated history with the place you’re living. No such thing as “familiar comfort.” It’s convenience at the cost of complacency. If that’s not eccentric, I don’t know what is.
- Richard Branson (Net Worth USD 5.1 Bn)
Okay, let’s face it. Any list of the super-rich and/or eccentric people that do not have the name Richard Branson on it is a joke.
Sure, Branson isn’t the craziest member of the billionaire club, but his eccentricity is well-reported.
Branson made his billions with Virgin Group, which started as a record store before evolving into the record label that signed the Sex Pistols. From there, Branson expanded outward, launching Virgin Atlantic Airways and VirginMobile.
The mishmash of business ventures are borderline eccentric in and of themselves, but it’s Branson’s future ambitions that really cements his place on the list of the most eccentric of the world’s richest people.
More ambitious than ever and perhaps bored of his earlier ventures, Branson started Virgin Galactic to give non-astronauts a chance at soaring into space. And considering that tickets are expected to be priced upwards of USD 200 K, the only people who will be able to afford it are other wealthy people.
So, basically, he’s an eccentric billionaire who’s marketing to eccentric millionaires. Now, that reeks of brilliance.