The easiest way to replicate success is to emulate the thinking of successful people. With that in mind, I collected a set of quotes from a dozen incredibly successful people, none of whom inherited their vast wealth:

1. Jeff Bezos

  • I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you're going to innovate.
  • Life's too short to hang out with people who aren't resourceful.
  • There's no bad time to innovate.

2. Sara Blakely

  • It's important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.
  • We don't have the luxury of time. We spend more because of how we live, but it's important to be with our family and friends.
  • We can make the world a better place, one butt at a time.

3. Michael Bloomberg

  • Taxes are not good things, but if you want services, somebody's got to pay for them so they're a necessary evil.
  • To a contrarian like me, constant advice not to do something almost always starts me quickly down the risky, unpopular path.
  • I don't know why you should be proud of something. It doesn't make you any better or worse. You are what you are.

4. Warren Buffett

  • There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.
  • Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.
  • If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.

5. Larry Ellison

  • When you innovate, you've got to be prepared for everyone telling you you're nuts.
  • I believe people have to follow their dreams--I did.
  • I have had all of the disadvantages required for success.

6. Bill Gates

  • Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.
  • We make the future sustainable when we invest in the poor, not when we insist on their suffering.
  • Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

7. Elon Musk

  • When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.
  • The only thing that makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.
  • The single best piece of advice: Constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.

8. Larry Page

  • Especially in technology, we need revolutionary change, not incremental change.
  • If you're changing the world, you're working on important things. You're excited to get up in the morning.
  • We don't have as many managers as we should, but we would rather have too few than too many.

9. J. K. Rowling

  • It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
  • It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.
  • It is our choices ... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

10. George Soros

  • The worse a situation becomes, the less it takes to turn it around, the bigger the upside.
  • Unrestrained competition can drive people into actions that they would otherwise regret.
  • An open society is a society that allows its members the greatest possible degree of freedom in pursuing their interests compatible with the interests of others.

11. Oprah Winfrey

  • What God intended for you goes far beyond anything you can imagine.
  • Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not.
  • Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.

12. Mark Zuckerberg

  • The biggest risk is not taking any risk ... In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.
  • I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.
  • I think that people just have this core desire to express who they are. And I think that's always existed.