Walter Shorenstein

CATEGORY: Billionaires
COMPANY: Shorenstein
INDUSTRY: Real Estate

WHAT MAKES HIM HAUTE: The self-made billionaire got his start in the real estate INDUSTRY: by buying properties in San Francisco after he was discharged from the military back in the 1940s. It was a sound investment; at one point, he owned around a quarter of all of the office space in the city. Today, he has some 29 million square feet of space around the country. He often makes national headlines for his astronomical deals, such as his $990 million purchase of two Manhattan office buildings in 2008. Last year, the entrepreneur, now in his 10th decade on earth, told his personal story as part of an oral history project conducted by UC Berkley. The lessons he imparts: keep your personal interest separate from your business; avoid get-rich-quick schemes; classroom learning can never replace real-world experience; be careful with credit; and be prepared. Always have a Plan B…and a Plan C.

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