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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Jeff Bezos is one of the most recognizable names in business.

The 59-year-old tech titan worked at a hedge fund before he left to start Amazon as an online bookseller, ultimately growing it into one of the world’s largest companies by revenue. He’s also founded space tourism company Blue Origin, which has flown him to the edge of space.

He’s a fixture in the world’s wealthiest list; currently, Bezos is the third-richest person in the world with a net worth of $158 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

With all of his wealth, Bezos has made some splashy purchases. He’s the 24th-largest landowner in the US with 420,000 acres, according to the 2022 Land Report, with a real estate portfolio boasting mansions in Hawaii, California, Florida, and more. Bezos also owns the world’s biggest sailing yacht, a 417-footer that cost an estimated $500 million.

From his first job flipping burgers at McDonald’s to building Amazon into a trillion-dollar company at one point, here’s a look at Jeff Bezos’ life and career.

Allana Akhtar and Avery Hartmans contributed to an earlier version of this story.

Jeff Bezos’ mom, Jackie, was a teenager when she had him on January 12, 1964.

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Jeff Bezos with his father, Miguel “Mike” Bezos. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Statue Of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

She had recently married Cuban immigrant Miguel Bezos, who later adopted Jeff.

Jeff didn’t learn that Miguel, who often goes by Mike, wasn’t his real father until he was 10 years old, but he told Wired he was more fazed about learning he needed to get glasses than he was about the news.

In 1968, his mother told his biological father, Ted Jorgensen, who previously had worked as a circus performer, to stay out of their lives.

When author Brad Stone interviewed Bezos’ biological father for his 2013 book, “The Everything Store,” Bezos’ dad had no idea who his son had become.

Bezos showed signs of brilliance from an early age.

When he was a toddler, he took apart his crib with a screwdriver because he wanted to sleep in a real bed, according to an account in the book “The Everything Store.”

From ages four to 16, Bezos spent summers at his grandparents’ ranch in Texas, doing things like repairing windmills and castrating bulls.

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Bezos said he would help vaccinate cattle, fix equipment, and do other chores while at his grandparents. AP Photo/Richard Drew via BI

Decades later, Bezos purchased his own land in Texas. His acreage is used as the launch site for Blue Origin rockets.

Bezos’ first job was cooking burgers at a McDonald’s in Miami.


Bezos became interested in automation during his time at McDonald’s. Joe Raedle/Getty Images via BI

Bezos described the gig at McDonald’s as “really hard” in a 2001 interview with Fast Company.

“They wouldn’t let me anywhere near the customers. This was my acned-teenager stage. They were like, ‘Hmm, why don’t you work in the back?'” Bezos said.

Bezos has cited his grandfather, Preston Gise, as an inspiration.

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Bezos said his grandfather was an intelligent, quiet man. AP Images via BI

At a commencement address in 2010, Bezos said Gise taught him, “it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

As a child, Bezos fell in love with reruns of the original “Star Trek” and became a fan of later versions too.

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Bezos’ interest in space goes way back. Paramount Pictures via BI

He even considered naming Amazon, a reference to a line from Captain Jean-Luc Picard, according to the book “The Everything Store.” Bezos also considered naming Amazon Cadabra.

In 2016, Bezos even filmed a cameo in a “Star Trek” movie.

At his South Florida high school, Bezos said he wanted to be a “space entrepreneur.”

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin

Bezos’ space company is called Blue Origin. Getty Images / Blue Origin via BI

In school, Bezos would tell teachers that “the future of mankind is not on this planet.”

Of course, he’s made that dream a reality: He now owns space exploration company Blue Origin.

“I do think we have all our eggs in one basket,” Bezos said according to a Wired interview in 1999.

To avoid spending a summer flipping burgers at McDonald’s, Bezos and his high school girlfriend started a summer camp.

Jeff Bezos Thumb

The name of Bezos’ summer cap was Dream Institute. Kim Kulish/Getty images via BI

Dream Institute, an educational summer camp for kids, focused on science, math, and reading.

The camp had six kids who each paid $600 for the session — though two of them were Bezos’ siblings. “The Lord of the Rings” series was required reading, and science lessons focused on fossil fuels and space, according to the 1999 Wired article.

Upon graduating high school in 1982, Bezos matriculated at Princeton University, where he majored in computer science.

Princeton University

Princeton University. John Greim / Getty Images via BI

Upon graduation, he turned down job offers from Intel and Bell Labs to join a telecommunications startup called Fitel, according to the book “The Everything Store.”

After he quit Fitel, he went to Bankers Trust where he worked as a product manager.


Bezos worked at Banker’s Trust for about two years. Karl Baron/Flickr via BI

While at Bankers Trust, Bezos focused on selling software to pension-fund clients.

He left Banker’s Trust after two years for hedge fund D. E. Shaw.

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D.E. Shaw was founded by David Shaw, pictured. D.E. Shaw via BI

He became a senior vice president after only four years, according to a Wired interview.

Meanwhile, Bezos was taking ballroom dancing classes as part of a scheme to increase what he called his “women flow.”

Ballroom dancing

Bezos’ had an interesting dating strategy. Lisi Niesner/Reuters via BI

The term was a play on Wall Street’s “deal flow” and referred to the number of opportunities he had to meet women.

He ended up meeting his future wife, MacKenzie Scott Tuttle at work.

Jeff Bezos + Mackenzie

AP via BI

MacKenzie Scott Tuttle was a D.E. Shaw research associate. The pair married in 1993 and they went on to have four kids together.

By 1994, Bezos’s eye was on the internet, after reading about the web’s immense growth in one year.

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Paul Falardeau via BI

This number astounded him, and he decided he needed to find some way to take advantage of its rapid growth. He made a list of 20 possible products to sell online and decided books were the best option, according to “The Everything Store” book.

He decided to leave D.E. Shaw — a stable and lucrative job — in 1994 to start what would become Amazon.

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is silhouetted during a presentation of his company’s new Fire smartphone at a news conference in Seattle, Washington June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Redmond via BI

His boss at the firm, David E. Shaw, tried to persuade Bezos to stay, but Bezos was already determined to start his own company. Source: Wired

MacKenzie and Jeff flew to Texas to borrow a car from his father, and then they drove to Seattle, which would become Amazon’s headquarters.

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Bezos worked on his business plan while the couple were driving across the country, according to Wired. Sara Jaye/Getty Images via BI

Bezos was making revenue projections in the passenger seat the whole way, though the couple did stop to watch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon.

Bezos started in a garage with a potbelly stove.

Barnes and Noble store

Bezos worked out of the garage of a rented house in Bellevue, Washington. Mike Segar/Reuters via BI

He held most of his meetings at the neighborhood Barnes & Noble — which would soon become a competitor.

In the early days, a bell would ring in the office every time someone made a purchase.

jeff bezos young 2001

AP Photo/Andy Rogers via BI

Amazon’s employees would gather to see if anyone knew the customer.

But it took only a few weeks before it was ringing so often that the company put an end to the bell, according to the book “The Everything Store.”

In the first month of its launch, Amazon sold books to people in all 50 states and more than 45 different countries.

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Frank Micelotta/Getty Images via BI

In 1997, less than three years after it was founded, Amazon went public on May 15.

When the dot-com crash came, analysts called the company “Amazon.bomb.” But it weathered the storm.

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The dot-com bust didn’t kill Amazon. Mario Tama/Getty Images via BI

The website ended up being one of the startups that wasn’t wiped out.

Amazon has now gone beyond selling books to offering almost everything you can imagine.

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Amazon has hundreds of fulfillment centers around the world. Shutterstock via BI

The retailer offers, appliances, clothing, groceries, toiletries, and even cloud computing services.

In the early days, Bezos was said to be a demanding boss.

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Bezos wasn’t always the easiest person to work with. Reuters via BI

Bezos could explode at employees, and rumors circulated that he hired a leadership coach to help him tone it down. He also reportedly gave sarcastic responses when he was upset.

At one point, Bezos banned PowerPoint presentations at Amazon.

Pens and paper with the Amazon logo are seen at the logistics center in Brieselang, Germany November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Bezos Thomson Reuters via BI

Instead, Bezos required his staff to turn in papers on their proposals. This, he believed, would encourage critical thinking.

Bezos is also known for creating a frugal company culture.

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An Amazon office. Business Insider

This contrasts with other big tech firms, which offer free food and perks.

Bezos told Business Insider in 2014 that Amazon did offer great amenities to its employees, but they just weren’t the same as other tech companies.

More than 20 years after going public, Amazon now has a market cap of $1.4 trillion.

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Amazon has become one of the biggest companies in the world. Alex Wong/Getty Images via BI

Amazon is one of the world’s five largest public companies.

His time leading Amazon was not without controversy.

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Amazon has come under the spotlight many times. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais via BI

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon saw a surge in demand as more people were forced to shop online. But the company faced criticism over its treatment of workers, who said the company paid little attention to their health and safety at its fulfillment centers nationwide.

Amazon delivery drivers, who are contractors employed by third-party companies, have also spoken out about the demands of their jobs. Some drivers say Amazon’s emphasis on metrics has forced them to use their delivery vans as bathrooms or sacrifice safety to deliver packages on time.

Amazon has faced antitrust concerns, particularly over its treatment of third-party sellers on its platform. Bezos and other tech CEOs were called to testify before Congress in 2020.

He’s also gotten rich as an early investor in Google

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Google cofounders Larry Page, left, and Sergey Brin, right. AP via BI

Bezos invested $250,000 in Google. That translated to 3.3 million shares when the company went public in 2004.

Today, that would be worth more than $400 million. Bezos hasn’t said whether he kept any of his stock after the initial public offering.

Despite his high net worth, Bezos had the same annual base salary for decades while he was CEO: $81,840.

Jeff Bezos Sun Valley

Security and travel costs for Bezos totaled some $1.6 million in 2016. Drew Angerer/Getty Images via BI

His annual total compensation for many years exceeded $1 million owing to costs related to security and business travel.

In July 2017, Bezos became the world’s richest person for the first time.

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Bill Gates, left, and Jeff Bezos, right. Getty Images via BI

He momentarily surpassed Microsoft founder Bill Gates with a net worth of more than $90 billion.

Today, Bezos is worth $157 billion, and he said he will give most of his wealth to charity.

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Bezos has given to a number of causes. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa via BI

Some of his more notable contributions include pledging $10 billion to fight climate change through his Bezos Earth Fund, donating $200 million to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, and pledging $100 million towards recovery efforts on Maui, where he owns a $78 million home, following the catastrophic wildfires.

But he’s also spending his money on other business pursuits.

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Amazon was not involved in the deal with The Washington Post. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via BI

In August 2013, Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million.

And he’s spent an unknown amount on the private space tourism company Blue Origin.

Blue Origin

Bezos made history with his rocket company. Blue Origin via BI

The company made history in 2015 when it successfully launched a reusable rocket.

The rocket, called New Shepard, traveled to an altitude of 62 miles.

Bezos’ interest in flying has gotten him into trouble in the past.

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Bezos cheated death in 2003. LINDSEY WASSON/Reuters via BI

In 2003, Bezos almost died in a helicopter crash in Texas while scouting a site for a test-launch facility for Blue Origin.

Over the years, Bezos has also built quite the real estate portfolio.

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Jeff Bezos owns all kinds of properties. Stephen Brashear/Getty via BI

He is the country’s 24th largest landowner with 420,000 acres.

In January 2017, Bezos was revealed as the anonymous buyer of the Textile Museum in DC’s Kalorama neighborhood.

Jeff Bezos DC house

The property dates back to 1912. AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia Commons via BI

The property sold for $23 million, and with nearly 27,000 square feet of living space, it is the largest home in Washington, DC.

Bezos also owns five apartments at 212 Fifth Avenue in New York City.

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Madison Square Park in New York City. Shutterstock via BI

His most recent purchase was in 2021, when he paid a reported $23 million for a four-bedroom unit. He’s spent a total of $119 million on apartments in the building.

In February 2020, Bezos became the new owner of the Warner Estate, a sprawling compound in Beverly Hills, California.

Jeff Bezos Warner estate Beverly Hills

The estate has a 13,600-square-foot mansion Los Angeles County/Pictometry via BI

He purchased the property for $165 million, making it California’s most expensive real estate transaction at the time. Bezos bought the mansion from David Geffen, who had purchased it in 1990 for $47.5 million.

In 2021, Bezos bought a home in Hawaii located in an isolated area on Maui’s south shore near lava fields.

Maui Hawaii

A home in Maui, Hawaii, although not the one Bezos purchased. ejs9/Getty Images via BI

Bezos’ Maui home reportedly cost $78 million.

Most recently, Bezos scooped up a $68 million waterfront mansion in Miami’s “billionaire bunker” island, Indian Creek Village.

Jeff Bezos has reportedly purchased a waterfront mansion in Indian Creek, an artificial barrier island in Miami.

Indian Creek was ranked the most expensive city in the US in 2021. Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images; Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty Images via BI

The sale to Bezos was record-breaking on the island, which has also been home to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Tom Brady, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

In January 2019, Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announced they were divorcing.

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The couple decided to split after more than two decades. Dia Dipasupil / Staff via BI

“As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” the couple wrote in the statement. “If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.”

Jeff and MacKenzie announced on Twitter they had finalized the term of their divorce in April 2019.

FILE PHOTO: 89th Academy Awards - Oscars Vanity Fair Party - Beverly Hills, California, U.S. - 26/02/17 – Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo

MacKenzie was with Jeff before he ever started Amazon. Reuters via BI

MacKenzie, who changed her last name to Scott, retained more than $35 billion in Amazon stock, making her one of the world’s richest women.

Scott, whose net worth is $36 billion, has donated at least $14.5 billion since 2019, when she vowed to give away most of her fortune in her lifetime.

Shortly after they announced their divorce, news broke that Bezos was dating TV host and helicopter pilot Lauren Sanchez.

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Sanchez and Bezos originally met when both of them were still married. When they started dating is unclear. Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images via BI

At the time, the National Enquirer said it had obtained texts and explicit photos the couple had sent to each other. The publication also said at the time that it had “raunchy messages” between Bezos and Sanchez.

Bezos immediately launched an investigation into who had leaked his personal messages.

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Bezos’ head of security helmed the investigation. Drew Angerer/Getty Images via BI

Soon after, he dropped a bombshell of his own: an explosive blog post accusing National Enquirer publisher AMI of trying to blackmail him.

“Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten,” Bezos wrote.

Since then, Bezos and Sanchez have had a whirlwind few years.

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Sanchez and Bezos travel the world together. Reuters/Andrew Couldridge via BI

The couple are often captured traveling around the world together. They’ve been spotted attending Wimbledon together, yachting with other moguls and celebrities, and vacationing in Saint-Tropez and St. Barths.

Throughout the summer, they’ve frequently been spotted on Bezos’ new yacht.

Distance shot of Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez on a yacht.

Bezos and Sanchez hanging out in Portofino. MEGA / Contributor / Getty Images via BI

The ship, which cost an estimated $500 million to build, is 417 feet long and said to be the largest in the world. Bezos may have even put a sculpture of Sanchez on the bow of the ship.

In May, multiple outlets reported that the pair had gotten engaged.

Jeff Bezos wearing a grey suit and Laura Sanchez wearing a white one shoulder dress in 2022

Jeff Bezos and Laura Sanchez in 2022. Jordan Strauss/AP via BI

They marked the engagement with a party in August attended by guests like Bill Gates and Kris Jenner.

In 2021, Bezos announced he would step down as Amazon’s CEO and transition to executive chairman after 27 years at the company’s helm.

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Jeff Bezos was succeeded by Amazon executive Andy Jassy. Kevin Winter/Getty Images via BI

Bezos said that he planned to spend more time on philanthropy — including the Bezos Earth Fund and his Day 1 Fund — as well as his two other major endeavors: The Washington Post and his rocket company, Blue Origin.

That month, he took an 11-minute voyage to the edge of space aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin

The rocket had flown 15 times before, but this was it’s first time with people onboard. Isaiah J. Downing/Reuters via BI

The trip marked his company’s first human spaceflight.

He was accompanied by his brother, Mark; a Dutch teenager named Oliver Daemen; and Wally Funk, an 82-year-old aviator who trained to go to space in the ’60s but was ultimately denied the opportunity because she was a woman.

Though Bezos remains the third-richest person in the world today, his wealth took a tumble last year.

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Jeff Bezos. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File via BI

In Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest individuals, Bezos came out as the biggest loser: His net worth fell $57 billion from March 2022 to March 2023 but still sat at a cool $114 billion at the time.

Amazon’s stock fell 50% in 2022, and it became the first public company to ever lose $1 trillion in market value. Don’t feel too bad for him — with Amazon’s stock bouncing back this year, Bezos’ wallet has largely recovered.