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Get inspired by some of the smartest people in the world

PICTURED: Phil Ivey is one of the most successful poker players on the planet

WHEN YOU look at some of the most successful people in the world, there is often a common theme. A lot of them started out at rock bottom and battled their way to the top of their respective industries through hard work and determination.

These people can provide encouragement to others who want to excel in life. By looking at what led the likes of Kwame Anthony Appiah, Phil Ivey, Aliko Dangote, and Richard Ayoade to worldwide fame, others who want to excel in life can take inspiration and try to replicate the moves that made these people rich. Here, we take a look at these great achievers who could be considered among the smartest people in the world. How did they get to where they are today?

Kwame Anthony Appiah

Appiah is one of the smartest people on the planet and is a highly influential thinker. He is renowned for his work, which focuses on tackling the philosophical problems of race, racism, identity, and moral theory. The British-born Ghanaian-American currently holds an appointment at the NYU Department of Philosophy and NYU’s School of Law.

Despite being born in London, Appiah was raised in Kumasi, Ghana. Later on, he returned to the UK and attended Clare College, Cambridge, where he earned his BA and PhD in philosophy. In his working life, Appiah has worked regularly on television. In 2007, he was a contributing scholar in Prince Among Slaves, a PBS-broadcast documentary that told the story of a West African prince who was enslaved in the United States.

In the same year, Appiah also appeared in a TV documentary series on BBC Four called Racism: A History. Appiah has battled against prejudice as a gay black man and become hugely successful in his life.

He has picked up countless awards and honors over the years and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2017. In the same year, he was also named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as one of its “Great Immigrants.”

Appiah’s books have been held in high esteem, and The Ethics of Identity won Editor’s Choice in the New York Times Book Review in 2005. The Honor Code was named the Times Literary Supplement’s Book of the Year in 2010, and 2009’s Cosmopolitanism was a finalist for the Estoril Global Ethics Book Prize. In addition to all of these achievements, Appiah won the Annual Book Award from the North American Society for Social Philosophy for Color Conscious in 1997.

Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey is considered by many to be the greatest poker player of all time. The 42-year-old has won ten World Series of Poker bracelets, one World Poker Tour title, and was elected to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2017. Ivey has won an incredible amount of money over the years and has a net worth of over $100 million - but the Las Vegas-dwelling poker pro hasn’t always been rolling in cash.

In the late 1990s, the man now known as the Tiger Woods of Poker was working for a telemarketing firm in New Jersey. Ivey developed his poker skills by playing in small cash games with his co-workers, and also used a fake ID to play in Atlantic City poker rooms during his teenage years.

As poker blew up in America thanks to the rise of online poker sites, Ivey quickly made a name for himself as one of the best in the business and had won three World Series of Poker bracelets by 2002.

Ivey’s extreme intelligence is what sets him apart from amateur players and less successful professionals. He has the ability to quickly calculate odds and decipher what the optimum bet size is to scare his opponents away. He is renowned for being an excellent reader of psychological cues, and for almost always making the right decisions on whether a player is bluffing or not.

Ivey is also one of the best bluffers in the business, as he is able to keep his own emotions in check and give little away to others at the table. Ivey’s penchant for mathematics has led to him finding success in other casino games as well.

The Los Angeles Lakers fan has been known to play a lot of baccarat, a card game which uses probability and odds much like poker. Ivey partnered up with Cheung Yin Sun, who had designed a high-probability approach to winning at mini-baccarat. The two won a lot of money from various casinos around the world. But there was also some controversy to the approach that they were using, which resulted in one London casino refusing to pay out £7.7 million in 2017.

Aliko Dangote

In terms of financial success, Dangote is one of the highest-achievers the world has ever seen. The Nigerian business magnate has an estimated net worth of $9.9 billion, which puts him as the 100th-richest person in the world according to Forbes. Dangote is also the richest man in Africa, after surpassing Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi in 2013 by over $2.6 billion.
Dangote’s rise to the top has been nothing short of incredible.

The Kano State-born Hausa Muslim was born into a wealthy family in 1957 but didn’t have everything handed to him on a silver spoon. Dangote displayed a natural desire to make money and do business from a young age. While at school, he used to buy packets of sweets and sell them to his classmates for a profit. After finishing school he refined his skills by studying business at Al-Azhar University in Cairo.

Dangote is the chairman and CEO of the Dangote Group, a trading firm which was established in 1977 when Dangote relocated to Lagos. The company started off small but is now a multi-trillion-naira conglomerate with operations across the continent of Africa. In addition to covering food processing, cement manufacturing, and freight, the company dominates the booming sugar market in Nigeria.

As well as being one of the most successful businessmen on the planet, Dangote is also highly respected. In 2011, the 61-year-old was awarded Nigeria’s second-highest honor when he was named the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger by the former president, Goodluck Jonathan. The father of three also donated 150 million naira to halt the spread of Ebola in 2014, and was thus named the Forbes Africa Person of the Year that same year.

Richard Ayoade

The last person in this list is someone who has managed to craft success in nearly every corner of the television and film industry. Ayoade started out in small comedy roles but has now permeated different sectors of the media as an actor, comedian, writer, director, and presenter.

Ayoade is best known for his role as Maurice Moss on the IT Crowd, and this is what helped him gain wide recognition. The comic actor had been part of a number of projects prior to this, however, and featured in five episodes of The Mighty Boosh between 2004 and 2007. He was also a script editor on the wacky comedy and wrote the episode, The Chokes.

Ayoade was able to use his fame from the IT Crowd as a springboard to bigger and better things within the television industry and in film.

The 41-year-old first appeared on Graham Linehan’s Channel 4 show in 2006 and was an instant favorite with audiences. He went on to win the BAFTA Award for Best Male Comedy Performance for his work in the IT Crowd in 2014.

Due to his lovable personality, Ayoade has become a regular on various long-running TV shows such as the Big Fat Quiz. The IT Crowd star has appeared in 15 episodes of the annual comedy quiz show. He has also recently turned his hand to hosting and is the face of the rebooted classic challenge competition, Crystal Maze.

Aside from being one of the most recognizable people in British television, Ayoade has done some excellent work behind the camera in film. His 2010 picture, Submarine, was incredibly successful and was lauded by critics.

This was his directorial debut, and the movie was nominated for various awards. It won the British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay and was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Director, Writer, or Producer. His second offering in 2013, The Double, was also nominated for a number of prestigious awards. It is likely that Ayoade will be a huge player in British cinema in the coming years.

These four intelligent and endearing professionals have made their way to the top and worked out what it takes to stay there. They are an inspiration to anyone who wants to be successful in life. With enough work and effort, anything is possible.

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