Sheldon Adelson – Inspiring Journey of Building an Empire

Pic: Flickr

Sheldon Adelson is a self-made billionaire and the majority shareholder of the Las Vegas Sands corp. In recent years, Sheldon Adelson has bounced around among the top 10 places in the Forbes list of the richest people in the world. A large portion of his wealth derives from his holdings in wildly successful resort-casinos located around the world. Sheldon Adelson has a long history in business and in the building of his very own empire – Las Vegas Sands Corporation, handling the post of the Chairman and the CEO of the company.

Here is his story.

Childhood and early days           

Sheldon Adelson, born in the poor Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. Sheldon’s father drove a taxicab and sold advertisements, and his mother ran a small knitting store. Sheldon start working at a young age selling newspapers.

Education and career

Adelson joined City College of New York from where he graduated in corporate finance. Without completing his degree, he dropped out and joined US Army. Soon after, Adelson started working as Court stenographer on Wall Street where he set his sights on making his fortune.

First fortune

After leaving the Army, he worked as a mortgage broker and investment adviser and soon made his first fortune. He moved back to Boston and invested in various companies, among them a travel and tour business, The American International Travel Service, which was very profitable.

Big break

Adelson rebounded in the real estate brokerage business in Boston, arranging condominium conversions, and did well for a time until the condo market took a dive. Scrambling to find a lifeline, he caught a big break when he bought a company that published magazines, among them Data Communications User, a computer magazine.

Success growth

Sheldon Adelson created the Computer Dealers Expo, or COMDEX, and held the show at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. His timing was perfect, as the personal computer industry was just taking off. As brands such as IBM, Apple and Microsoft began their rapid growth, Adelson’s trade show was there to present their products to consumers and to other companies.

Success Point

Adelson as during this time, his business with COMDEX really took off that paid him more than the sum that would suffice. With this success, he bought various hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and around the globe.

New Bars

Adelson and his partners began looking for hotel property to complement their travel companies and their several private jets. Adelson purchased the legendary Sands Casino and redesigned the Sands to his business model. He built a resort, shopping mall and convention center for his company’s events, including COMDEX.

Philanthropy work

Sheldon Adelson and his wife have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charitable causes in the United States and Israel. Much of his charitable work deals with Jewish causes such as Birthright Israel, which sends young Jewish people on educational trips to Israel.

Bottom line

Adelson was always ambitious and he worked in a grocery store, butcher shop, laundromat, and hawking newspapers. His first business breakthrough came at an early age when he bought the corner kiosk where he’d been working.


Just do things differently. Just do things in life the way other people don’t do. Change the status quo. And then you’ll succeed. Adelson formed an opinion that if he did things differently than everybody else would add value to every effort he made.

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