10 People Who Went From Zeros To Heroes


The road to success is not a bed of roses. And some people have it even worse than others while trying to surpass their condition and succeed. It takes great ambition, determination and talent to beat all odds and achieve greatness even when it sometimes feels impossible.

The following people managed to rise to the top when no one, sometimes not even themselves, believed they would ever stand a chance. From business and media to sports and politics, here are some examples of impressive people who went from zeros to heroes.

  1. Howard Schultz

After working as a salesman for Xerox, and then as a general manager for Swedish drip coffee maker manufacturer, Hammarplast, Schults really put his management skills to work while working for a small Seattle-based shop called Starbucks and turned it into a worldwide successful coffee shop.

  1. Dr. Dre

Andre Young, aka Dr. Dre is one of the founding members of the controversial rap group N.W.A. He is considered one of the most influential people in the rap genre.

  1. Alan Rickman

His first role was at 46 but it wasn’t until he was cast to play the role of Hans Gruber in Die Hard, opposite Bruce Willis, that Alan Rickman found real success. Other villain roles soon followed, with the most popular one being that of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.

  1. Ursula Burns

With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, and then a master’s degree from Columbia, Ursula Burns started her summer internship at Xerox in 1980 and hasn’t stopped until she reached the top of the company, becoming the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company.

  1. Barack Obama

Coming from a fairly modest family, one cannot but stop and admire Barack Obama’s determination and path to success which culminated in 2008 when he became the first African-American to be elected as President of the United States.

  1. Harlan Sanders

The name might not sound familiar, but these three letters will surely ring a bell: KFC.  That’s right! Harlan Sanders is the founder of the popular fast-food chain, opening the first KFC franchise in 1952when in his sixties.

  1. Shahid Khan

In 2012, Shahid Khan appeared on the cover of Forbes as “the face of the American Dream.” Why? Maybe because he managed to turn a normal automotive parts manufacturing firm into a multi-billion company.

  1. Abebe Bikila

Another rags to riches story is that of Abebe Bikila. At the 1960 Rome Olympics, managed to break the record and win the marathon, and all of this while running barefoot.

  1. Oprah Winfrey

Raised by a single teenager mother, Oprah’s ambition, determination and talent helped her make her way through the difficulties of life and become one of the most influential people in the world in the 21st century. She’s now a billionaire and one of America’s most generous philanthropists.

  1. J.K. Rowling

The highly acclaimed Harry Potter series was initially rejected by 12 publishing houses before JK Rowling finally succeeded in convincing someone that the books were worth it. The books became a worldwide success and Rowling is now one of the richest people in Britain.

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