One of my recently favorite “rags to riches” stories is that of French Syrian self-made billionaire Mohed Altrad, 68 years old, who has been living in France most of his life since immigrating there about 5 decades ago. His story is one of the saddest yet most inspiring one I’ve ever read about.
He was born as a result of his father raping his mother, out in the remote Syrian desert. She died after giving birth to Mohed. He was then brought up by his grandmother. Growing up, he always struggled to get educated, but he pulled off with determination, and always reached to the top of his class.
After high school he was given the opportunity to study in France under a scholarship, and the rest is history.
I found a few things strikingly insightful about Mohed’s story. Aside from the usual cliche of rags-to-riches stories about people who come from nothing to being millionaires and billionaires through hard work and determination, what attracted me the most about Mr. Altrad’s journey has been his never-ending perseverance which carried him from mediocrity to excellence.
This guy literally was on the brink of death at one point in his life. He grew up in Syria in backward Arab desert culture that discourage education and progress. The Arab world has one of the most backward cultures in the world in terms of women’s rights, education, freedom of speech, etc. Yet Mohed prevailed through all that and got himself educated and moved to France and made it big.
I think that puts him way above many of his billionaire peers who started with nothing here in the US, because the US being a first world country, has way more opportunities available for the poor than third world countries like Syria. Its stories like that influence me to get off my ass work harder each and everyday.