50 Greatest Entrepreneurs of All Time

UPDATED: July 12, 2011
PUBLISHED: July 12, 2011

The greatest entrepreneurs are those who revolutionize business, open opportunities for others and change the way we think and live. Their impact is felt for generations. The SUCCESS 50 represents America’s greatest entrepreneurs of all time.* They are self-made men and women representing a cross section of America, with innovations that opened up the West, heralded the Gilded Age, created an American middle class and ushered in the Information Age. While we believe these men and women to be the best of the best, their accomplishments are varied and not easily compared and, therefore, they are not ranked on this list. Some of their names may not be familiar, but the impact of their accomplishments is enormous. The lessons we deduce from their ingenuity, spirit and determination are invaluable. With the SUCCESS 50, we bring you these timeless lessons, as applicable to your life and business today as they were in shaping the achievements of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time.

*When two people have built a business together, they are counted as one.


Ben Franklin 1706-1790 ]

Henry Ford 1863-1947

John D. Rockefeller 1839-1937

Cyrus McCormick Sr. 1809-1884

Andrew Carnegie 1835-1919


Charles Schwab b. 1937

Amadeo P. Giannini 1870-1949

J.P. Morgan 1837-1913

Charles Merrill 1885-1956


Martha Stewart b. 1941

David Sarnoff 1891-1971

Robert Johnson b. 1946

Oprah Winfrey b. 1954


George Eastman 1854-1932

Steve Jobs b. 1955-2011

Michael Dell b. 1965

Bill Gates b. 1955

Thomas Alva Edison 1847-1931

Ross Perot b. 1930

Consumer Goods

Estee Lauder 1908-2004

Madam C.J. Walker 1867-1919

Asa Candler 1851-1929

W.K. Kellogg 1860-1951

Milton Hershey 1857-1945

Eberhard Anheuser 1805-1880

Adolphus Busch 1839-1913


Ray Kroc 1902-1984

Harland Sanders 1890-1980

Juan Trippe 1899-1981


Herb Kelleher b. 1931

Fred W. Smith b. 1944

William S. Harley 1880-1943

Arthur Davidson 1881-1950


Aaron Mongomery Ward 1843-1913

Sam Walton 1918-1992

Richard Sears 1863-1914

Alvah Roebuck 1864-1948


Ralph Lauren b. 1939

Levi Strauss 1829-1902

Phil Knight b. 1938


P.T. Barnum 1810-1891

Louis B. Mayer 1885-1957

Walt Disney 1901-1966

Berry Gordy Jr. b. 1929

George Lucas b. 1944


William Becker 1921-2007

Paul Greene 1914-1994

J.W. Marriott Jr. b. 1932

Conrad Hilton Sr. 1887-1979


Jeff Bezos b. 1964

Steve Case b. 1958

Pierre Omidyar b. 1967

Larry Page b. 1973

Sergey Brin b. 1973


Who’s Missing? Tell us who you think should of made the list and why.