Forget the college debate: the most driven people may not need their high school diplomas either.
Tumblr founder David Karp dropped out of high school at the age of 15 and now his New York startup is about to sell for $1.1 billion in cash to Yahoo.
Although his success proves that he didn’t need the diploma to make it, Karp tells Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici in an interview that he doesn’t recommend kids today to drop out of high school, saying “There’s a lot that I feel like I missed out on … just a whole lot of normal, social, childhood kind of stuff that I definitely missed out on.”
Karp — worth more than $200 million — isn’t the only person to make it big without finishing high school. He belongs to a special breed, which includes Virgin’s Richard Branson and Mike Hudack, founder of Blip.tv.
At the age of 15, Karp dropped out of an elite Bronx High School of Science and developed Tumblr, the blog hosting and social network company, in 2007 in the 'back bedroom of his mother's modest Manhattan apartment.'
Hudack dropped out of high school and started working at a small internet security and privacy company in Connecticut at 16. He then moved to New York and worked as a consultant for Time Warner.
In 2005, he founded Blip.tv, a hosting platform for creators of digital video content. In 2012, he left his position as CEO to become Facebook's product manager.
Casino magnate Kirk Kerkorian opened the original MGM hotel and casino and owns large stakes in numerous other hotels in Vegas.
Kerkorian dropped out of school in the 8th grade, but that didn't stop him from becoming one of the most important shapers in Las Vegas.
The billionaire was once an ex-boxer and fighter pilot during World War II, but it was a Las Vegas land purchase in 1962 that led to his eventual fortune. Throughout his career, Kerkorian owned large stakes of the Bellagio, Excaliber, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York, Circus Circus, and The Mirage.
As of March 2013, his reported net worth is said to be $3.3 billion.
Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino became widely acclaimed after his first film Reservoir Dogs appeared at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992.
Tarantino attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City until he dropped out at the age of 15 and started working as an usher at an adult film theatre while taking acting classes.
While working at the Video Archives in his early 20s, Tarantino wrote the scripts for True Romance and Natural Born Killers, but it was his directorial debut in Reservoir Dogs in 1992 that he received wide critical acclaim.
He's been nominated for several Academy Awards and is the winner of two -- Django Unchained and Pulp Fiction.
French businessman Francois Pinault is the third richest man in France with a net worth of $15 billion.
Pinault dropped out of high school in 1947 to work at his father's lumber mill, because his school mates made fun of his poor background.
He also owns Christie's Auction House and is ranked as #53 on Forbes' World's Billionaires list.
British businessman Joe Lewis owns one of the fastest-growing communities in the U.S. and has $1 billion worth of art.
Lewis dropped out of high school at 15 to run his father's catering business Tavistock Banqueting and is now ranked as the eighth richest person in Britain, according to Forbes.
The business man -- who works from his yacht most of the year -- owns a medical city in Lake Nona, near Orlando, which is now one of the fastest-growing communities in America. As the main investor in Tavistock Group, Lewis owns more than 150 companies, including London Premiership soccer team Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs), a stake in UK's largest pub operator, Mitchell's & Butlers plc, and approximately 135 restaurants and various resorts throughout the world.
He also has an art collection worth $1 billion which includes works by Picasso, Matisse, Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon.
He is estimated to be worth $4.2 billion.
George Foreman is a boxing two-time World Heavyweight Champion, Olympic gold medalist and spokesperson for the George Foreman Grill.
Foreman dropped out of high school at 15 and later moved to Pleasanton, California to train in boxing.
Today, he has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Boxing Hall of Fame as a two-time World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic gold medalist.
But most of Foreman's fortune came after his boxing career as a spokesperson for Russell Hobbs Inc.'s fat-reducing grill called the George Foreman Grill, which has earned him $240 million.
Carl Henry Lindner, Jr., founder of American Financial and CEO of the Cincinnati Reds, was worth $1.7 billion before he passed away.
Lindner dropped out of school at age of 14 during the Great Depression to be a delivery boy for his family's dairy company, which would become United Dairy Farmers, the Midwest's chain of nearly 200 convenient stores.
A few months before he passed away in 2011, The University of Cincinnati renamed the College of Business the Carl H. Lindner College of Business in recognition of his contributions to the school.
Legendary hairstylist Vidal Sassoon was paid $5,000 to fly across the Atlantic and cut Mia Farrow's hair.
Sassoon lived in a Jewish orphanage until the age of 11 when he was reunited with his mother. He left school in London at the age of 14 and worked as a hairdressing apprentice.
In the 1960s, he started his own salon and invented the 'bob' look and geometric hairdos of the era. Sasson was paid $5,000 to fly across the Atlantic to cut Mia Farrow's hair for the movie Rosemary's Baby.
In 1984, he was the official hair stylist for the Olympics and his wealth is estimated to be $130 million. Sasson died in May 2012 at the age of 84.
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