For four hours in late July, Jeff Bezos surpassed Bill Gates as the richest person in the world.
Bezos fell back to third place (behind Gates and Spanish business tycoon Amancio Ortega) after Amazon stock retreated on a disappointing earnings report on July 27. Overnight, Bezos – who owns about 16% of the online retail behemoth he founded – lost $6 billion, bringing him down from his peak net worth of $90.6 billion, which was about $500 million more than Gates.
But what's a few hundred million between billionaires? Whether Bezos is first, second or third on the list, there's no denying that one of the Internet's first tycoons has changed multiple facets of society, starting with the way we shop while also touching on areas as varied as television, journalism and aerospace.
The most famous version of the Bezos bootstrap story starts with him selling books online from his Seattle garage in 1995 and goes all the way through Amazon's recent acquisition of Whole Foods Inc. for $13.7 billion, giving Amazon a massive and instant brick-and-mortar retail presence.
This guide seeks to fill in what happened between the humble start and today.