Warren Buffett is a household name. He's synonymous with words like "billionaire" and "value investor." Bill Ackman? Not so much. But while his name may not ring a bell for many investors, the story of how he made his riches is certainly worth telling.
Ackman started life with a silver spoon, born into a well-to-do family in tony Westchester County, N.Y. He started his first hedge fund right out of college but ran into trouble with some bad investments and eventually closed up the fund. But then Ackman made some big bets that paid off handsomely.
More recently, his Pershing Square fund sold its entire stake in a struggling department-store retailer, losing millions and his board seat in the process. He is waging an ongoing war with a nutritional-supplements business, claiming it's an illegal pyramid scheme and shorting the stock by more than $1 billion.
Undoubtedly, his road to riches has been rocky. And we investors can learn several valuable lessons from the life of this extremely controversial, bright, and successful billionaire.
Nicole Seghetti has no position in any stocks mentioned. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleSeghetti. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2015 $50 calls on Herbalife. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.