Sheldon Adelson Gets Back From Losing $25 billion

Sheldon Adelson is worth $35 billion. He is Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands.

Sheldon Adelson knows a thing or two about poverty, having grown up the son of a taxi driver in Dorchester, Mass.

“I came from a very poor family. We were six people, four children and my parents, in one bedroom…and my parents were poor.” Living at the bottom may be one reason Mr. Adelson has been so resilient in his climb back to the top. As Wealth Report readers might recall, Mr. Adelson lost more than 90% of his fortune in 2008 when markets tanked and credit evaporated.

His losses amounted to more than $1,000 a second, or more than $4 million a day. So how did he feel about losing more money at one time than anyone else in history? “So I lost $25 billion,” he said. “I started out with zero.” In other words, no big deal. He also kept his cool as his company teetered on the edge of financial ruin. When many investors were abandoning ship, Mr. Adelson and his family invested $1 billion of their own money. “There is no such thing as fear–not to an entrepreneur. Concern, yes. Fear, no.” Still, Mr. Adelson’s story reminds us how background matters when it comes to building and maintaining wealth. Self-made billionaires often are confident that if they did it once, they can do it again. And having grown up poor, Mr. Adelson also knows what it is like to have nothing. So, he isn’t as fearful of temporary losses.

“An entrepreneur is born with the mentality to take risks, with several important character traits: courage, faith in yourself, and above all, even when you fail, to learn from failure and get up and try again.”


Lies lead to bad outcomes

Sheldon Adelson’s Father Told Him Never Lie About Anything
In an effort to get the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, Adelson spent money on politicians and lobbyists and planned to invest $650 million of his own money, and more, in a legacy project for Las Vegas. But Davis first tried to cut Adelson out of the NFL deal and then said he was going to use Goldman Sachs to finance the stadium. Then Davis let float a lease agreement proposal that Adelson knew nothing about and did not include him. That was the last straw. One of Adelson’s rules is don’t lie; because one lie causes the person to tell another lie to cover up that lie, and so on. That basic value is why Adelson will not do business with Mark Davis ever again. It’s also why Davis will not be able to get anything done in Las Vegas any more.

Start a company from when you’re young

Sheldon Adelson is worth $29.7 Billion he is a Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands

His father drove a taxi, and his mother ran a knitting shop.

He began his first business at 12 years old. Tiring of sharing the proceeds of the newspapers he peddled — he bought — and later sold, “the rights” to sell papers on a specific Boston street corner from the youth who had been garnering the larger share of Adelson’s earnings. To accomplish that end, he borrowed $200 from his uncle, who in turn borrowed the money from his credit union, with the requirement that his nephew make principal and interest payments “every Tuesday night at 6 p.m.,” said Adelson. When he needed to borrow again to control a second corner, his uncle praised him for paying his debt and lent him money again.

Sheldon Adelson: Long Term Investments

In investments, we are now measuring the profit per quarter and soon we will come to a point where we measure it per month, week and then soon we will measure the profit and loss margin of the company per minutes.

But these ideas are ridiculous and are not as accurate way to evaluate business. When i invest, I invest in long term.

Successful people are not being driven by money

I was holding entrepreneur exchange at Babson College of Business School in Boston. I asked an audience of 300 students: “How many do you think about entrepreneurship?” Everybody raise the hand. Then I asked them, “ How many of you were or want to be in the entrepreneur business for money?
Nobody’s ever guessed how many people raise their hand. I’ll tell you, one. That is the answer to the question “what is the reason, why people want to be entrepreneurial? My answer, it is the sense of achievement, not the money.

Sheldon Adelson: charity

Another value-based commitment, he said, is to charity. He learned this value from his father, a Boston cab driver, who, though living in deprivation, kept a box on the family’s kitchen table where, said the father, “I am putting money for the poor people. Listen, son, you have to do this,” Adelson quoted his father, “because there are always people who are poorer than you are.”

Sheldon Adelson: Have guts to approach things differently

After running a dozen or so business I realized that the only way to succeed is to do things differently then the way it was done. And what i learned is that if you do things differently, success will follow you like a shadow and you won’t get rid of it.

So that’s what i did. People doubted me because they didn’t do what i would do. It’s a matter of finding out what is it that industry does and identifying the opportunity to how to do it differently and then being enough of a risk taker to actually do it differently. People doubted me because nobody thought of doing it the way i did. They were satisfied with the status quo and I’m never satisfied with the status quo.

I look at every business and ask: How long can this last? How can I identify the status quo and change it?

Don’t be satisfied with status quo. Have guts to approach things differently.

Sheldon Adelson: Sponsoring free trips to Israel

Birthright Israel began with a bold idea—offering a free, life-changing trip to Israel to young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26 and, in doing so, transforming the Jewish future.
The mission is to give every Jewish young adult around the world, especially the unaffiliated, the opportunity to visit Israel.

Today, Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world.
by going on Birthright, a free trip to Israel for American Jews,

Sheldon Adelson has been sponsoring the program by donating over $250 million.