Sam Wilkin, economist author of Wealth Secrets of the One Percent, explains to MONEY’s Kate Santichen that having a billion-dollar idea doesn’t guarantee you’ll become a billionaire, or even a millionaire. He uses the example of Bill Gates, who’s worth around $80 billion. Gates isn’t super-wealthy because he’s superhuman, says Wilkin. He’s wealthy because he was able to establish property rights over his software, with the help of his father, a lawyer. His contracts, and his legal protections, insulated him from competition. And that’s how he was able to get on the road to wealth, says Wilkin.
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