Carl Icahn

At #18 on the Forbes 400 list, Carl Icahn has done well for himself. The self-made billionaire is worth over $20 billion today. An activist investor, Icahn began his career as a stockbroker on Wall Street in 1961. Seven years later, he formed Icahn & Co., a securities firm. Beginning in 1978, Icahn started gaining control of individual companies such as RJR Nabisco, Texaco, Western Union, Marvel Comics, Revlon, Time Warner, Motorola, and Herbalife.

Carl Icahn

IMG: via Forbes

Though and incredibly active and successful activist investor, Icahn has gained a reputation over the years for being ruthless in his systematic company takeovers. By owning majority stakes in companies, Icahn is able to push for influence within those companies.

In recent years, Icahn has shown interest in companies like Yahoo!, Marvel, and Netflix—the latter of which he owns a 6% stake. Earlier this year, he began working toward an acquisition of tech company Dell Inc. He also announced in August that his newest stock favorite is Apple.

Icahn was born and raised in Queens, New York City. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Princeton in 1957. He also attended the New York University School of Medicine for two years before dropping out and joining the army instead. He has been philanthropically active for many years, donating to Princeton University and forming and donating to programs like the Carl C. Icahn Center for Science, the Icahn Scholar Program at Choate Rosemary Hall, the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, the Children’s Rescue Fund, and more.