August 6, 2013; GlobalPost


Clive Berghofer has made a US$45 million gift to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research—the largest single gift ever given by an Australian, according to this report. But the 78-year-old who left school to start working in a sawmill when he was 13 and still works 12 hours a day is also urging others to give and give big.

“There’s heaps of people with plenty of money who don’t give,” he told the Brisbane Courier-Mail. “Australians are not really generous when it comes to giving. Some people want you to give, but they don’t give themselves. I like to lead by example.” Berghafer is worth $320 million.

As we know, some of the world’s most notable self-made billionaires are energetic and motivated dropouts. Berghofer said that his own education was hard. “I was so bad at school, I was frightened…I can read, but I’m very slow at reading. It takes a bit of digesting at times.

“In the modern day, they’d recognise it as dyslexic. I’ve never handwritten a letter in my life because I’m embarrassed. I don’t do things that I’m not good at…I’ve never read a book. I’m embarrassed at my reading, I’m embarrassed about my writing and I’m embarrassed at my spelling.”

But the lack of formal schooling could not hold him back. “I can only sleep about five hours a night and that’s why I’m 78 and still working,” he said. “I’ve got to have something to occupy my mind.

“I don’t need the money but I need something to keep my mind busy, otherwise I go mad sitting at home. I couldn’t just sit down and watch television.”—Ruth McCambridge