A rather nice story about the revoltingly successful David Spencer-Percival. He sold all of his toys (Astons, Ferrari GT ...) to get back down to earth for his new venture which sure enough was ... revoltingly successful.
But it is a pleasing tale in that it shows how little money is important for people like this. Money might be the token of the game, but it's the winning and the affirmation that matters.
Europeans find the US's laudatory approach to success pretty distasteful. But our sniffy-ness has considerable downsides.
Firstly, people are less likely to stick their heads above the parapet and create the companies that we need. And second, the people with the big bucks are less likely to go for the grand philanthropic donation unless people are going to say: "Well done, Mr & Mrs Gates, Mr Buffett, Mr & Mrs Brin, Mr & Mrs Zuckerberg and thank you for your billions."
The United States has 492 billionaires and a strong philanthropic culture (ask Harvard). So while Europe has 468 billionaires I can't think of any conspicuous European philanthropists - assuming we can disregard Bernie Ecclestone's recent $100m donation to the German state.
“Anyone who has been successful will know that you end up with a lot of stuff that you don’t actually need. When you’re as shallow as I am, you buy things just because you can.”