Many of us get along in life by the formation and maintenance of basic relationships with other humans. If we’re lucky, the head of HR will decide to hire us and our friends will introduce us to someone who we decide will make a passable sexual partner for the next bit of time. But for some people, drifting through life is not enough, they’re out making their own luck and this year’s Self-Made Man, Donald Trump, knows a bit about that. Trump, who is by his own admission “really rich”, has sat comfortably at the top of Republican opinion polls for the latter half of the year despite spending relatively little on political advertising. Seen in previous years as being socially liberal, he has rarely been out of the news by attacking such huge swathes of the electorate as Mexican immigrants, women, Muslim immigrants, veterans/former Presidential candidates and residents of first-primary-State Iowa. Thanks to the free advertising he has created for himself, he’s got his name-recognition game on point but is still unlikely to ever become President. Handing over his Apprentice hosting job to fellow Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t the first time he gave up a lucrative opportunity: if he’d simply retired at thirty and invested wisely he could be worth $10 billion more than he is today.
- Katie Hopkins: In a bid for money rather than power, Katie Hopkins has been busy mouthing off to hit the headlines as much as possible. She also had a brief flirtation with politics when she made it difficult to work out who should be more embarrassed about her appearance at the UKIP party conference in September.
- Elon Musk: Not one to rest on his laurels after success at PayPal, Musk has nurtured ambitious projects Tesla Motors and SpaceX through some tough times. This year however, his efforts bore fruit as he brought the future into our lives. Tesla introduced “Autopilot” to their Model S over Wi-Fi and at the end of the year SpaceX managed to launch a rocket into space and successfully land the first stage at Cape Canaveral, paving the way for much cheaper space travel.