10 Things You Didn’t Know About Carlos Slim

The Mexican telecom billionaire was just named the richest man in the world for the second time in a row. Here’s everything else of interest you need to know about the magnate.   Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long.



He’s Lebanese

Slim was born in Mexico City, but his parents were both Lebanese. His father emigrated from Lebanon as a teen and his mother was the daughter of two Lebanese immigrants. His grandfather founded one of the first Lebanese magazines in the country thanks to the Arabic printing press he stashed with him for the journey.

Eduardo Verdugo / AP Photo

He’s not actually the richest person in the world

If it weren’t for the philanthropic ways of Bill Gates, Slim would still be second fiddle in the wealth department to Gates, at least according to some calculations. While the Mexican magnate has given away billions to charity, he has been publicly vocal about his belief that he prefers to create jobs and build wealth through business-building. Gates has unloaded a third of his wealth to the foundation in his and his wife’s name.

Andrew Winning / Reuters

He’s a widower

Soumaya Domit de Slim was his wife for more than 30 years until she passed away in 1999 of a kidney ailment. He still lives in the house the couple purchased in the ‘60s and her legacy survives in several of Slim’s investments. His first company, Inmobiliaria Carso, was derived from combining Carlos and Soumaya, the art museum he created to house his collection is named in her honor, as is one of their three daughters.

Jo Yong-Hak, Reuters / Landov

Alvin Toffler is the secret to his success

Ever heard of Alvin Toffler? If not, get thee to a bookstore. Toffler is a futurist writer best known for predicting the rise of technology. His 1970 tome Future Shock taught Slim to recognize opportunities early. The two are now friends, after first meeting in 1993, and Toffler sends Slim his manuscripts to review. “If you didn’t know he was the richest guy in the world, you’d just think he was a likeable and intelligent guy,” Toffler has said. Slim has also mentioned following the investment advice of Benjamin Graham and studied a series of articles J. Paul Getty authored for Playboy.

Lucas Jackson, Reuters / Landov

He thinks media is a good investment

Slim made some friends in American media a few years ago when he snagged a 6.9 percent stake in The New York Times Company, but he has consistently denied rumors of buying the publishing company. He coughed up another $250 million loan to the Times in 2009, at an interest rate of 14 percent, which the Times paid back at super speed. However, the rumors of Slim snapping up Newsweek never made it beyond the headlines.

Gregory Bull / AP Photo

He owns everything in Mexico—almost

Mexicans have a saying: “You can’t go a day without putting a peso in Slim’s pocket.” Slim built the majority of his wealth by providing phone service to a large portion of the Mexican population, but he also has stakes in grocery stores, construction, mining, tobacco, and retail. His knack for accumulating wealth is not the product of a single company, but rather decades of opportunistic investments—buying a lot of assets for little money. He and his family now control more than 200 companies.

Henry Romero, Reuters / Landov

He’s a paper and pen man

He wouldn’t be as rich as he is today if he hadn’t invested so heavily in the rise of technology, but Slim himself reportedly doesn’t use a computer. He prefers a good ol’ pad and pen for correspondence. One big reason: his ilk has taken over a large portion of his workload. All three of his sons and two of his sons-in-law work for companies he controls and one of his three daughters works for the Museo Soumaya.

Gregory Bull / AP Photo

He roots for the Yankees

Soccer is by far the biggest sport in Mexico, but Slim is a fervent fan of the Yanks. He even convinced A-Rod to venture to Mexico to offer some baseball lessons and honor the sports center, Ciudad Jardin TELMEX Bicentenariois, that Slim built atop a city waste dump. He told Larry King last December his love for the Yankees came from his childhood, saying, “…I was very little when I saw the movie of Baby Ruth. That was great, this movie of Baby Ruth. Then the other of Lou Gehrig with Gary Cooper. And it was Joe DiMaggio and the radio…”

He knows how much he spent on doughnuts in 1955

Slim’s not known for a super-human memory, but he still has the ledger books he started to keep as a teenager with a five-peso allowance. He was born into wealth, but his father fostered financial savvy and strict spending. He reportedly read from one of the half-century old ledgers which are stored in his home office, “Here I bought a soft drink for 70 centavos. Here I bought two tortas, two albums, two doughnuts."

Sergio Bautista / Newscom

His heir’s wedding registry was at…Sears

To look at Carlos Slim, you wouldn’t think he has any serious interest in the latest runway trends. But, he licensed the Saks Fifth Avenue name and opened the store’s first Mexican outpost in 2007 and had an 18 percent stake in the company in 2008. He also snagged the Mexican arm of Sears Roebuck in the late ‘90s. When his 43-year-old son Carlos Slim Domit got married last year, the betrothed couple stayed true to their father’s frugal ways and business interests by registering at Sears. Included on their wish list: a $2 kitchen bowl.