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Billionaire Wealth is Mostly the Result of Stupendous Luck

It’s hard to be lucky without opportunities.

5 min readMay 5, 2024


America has more than 800 billionaires. America is #1 in billionaires in the world, which suggests that America is also the worlds greatest tax shelter. American billionaires pay less in taxes than the people who work for the billionaires. It's really, really hard to become a billionaire without 8 billion other people doing the work for you.

A few times a year, every year, I find some article about some guy who hangs out with wealthy people to see what makes them tick. It’s almost as if the wealthy have no real self-awareness that they’re playing a zero-sum game and the rest of us are on the wrong end of the game.

Just today, I came across a fellow named Scott Galloway in the UK. In this article published by the Guardian, in an interview Galloway makes some important observations that are consistent with everything that I’ve read about billionaires:

You spend a lot of time with wealthy and successful people. Do they have any common