Businessmen like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who have dominated wealth rankings for years, continued to add billions of dollars to their already sizable fortunes.
Here's the full list, ranked by billions made from Jan. 1 to Dec. 11, 2013:
10. Carl Icahn made $7.2 billion
The corporate raider had a big year after bets on Netflix and Herbalife (HLF) yielded Icahn Capital Management $800 million and $500 million profits, respectively. He tweeted his thanks to Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings and Kevin Spacey, star of the streaming service's hit show, "House of Cards."
9. Lui Chee Woo made $8.3 billion
The founder of Galaxy Entertainment Group became Asia's second-richest man in 2013 as gambling revenue grew at a record pace in Macau. Lui is looking to expand his flagship casino in the city's Cotai area, which is known by many as the Asian version of the Las Vegas Strip.
8. Larry Page made $9.3 billion
Google's co-founder and CEO made $3 billion in 24 hours when Google (GOOG) stocks hit an all-time high in October, breaking $1,000 for the first time. Android became the world's most popular operating system, running on 43 percent of the globe's smartphones.
7. Sergey Brin made $9.3 billion
Brin, Google co-founder and head of special projects with Google X, made $2.9 billion in the October stock surge. As of Dec. 11, Brin is worth an estimated $30 billion, a 4.8 percent percent increase over the year.
6. Masayoshi Son made $10.3 billion
The founder of Softbank, Asia's top Internet and telecommunications corporation, lost $70 billion in the dot-com crash, but he's surging back in a big way. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%The purchase of Sprint (S) and a large investment in Finnish game-maker Supercell are highlights in a year that saw Son's personal net worth more than double, growing from $8.8 billion to $19.1 billion.
5. Mark Zuckerberg made $10.5 billion
Facebook (FB) stock hit an all-time high in October, and revenue continues to grow despite questions about the longevity of the product.
4. Jeff Bezos made $11.3 billion
The founder and CEO of Amazon (AMZN), which made $17.1 billion in net sales in the third quarter, raised some eyebrows when he bought the Washington Post for $250 million this summer.
3. Sheldon Adelson made $11.4 billion
According to Wealth-X, the casino mogul's personal net worth grew to an estimated $35.3 billion this year thanks to profits from his gambling properties in Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore.
2. Bill Gates made $11.5 billion
The world's wealthiest man ended the year with a personal net worth of $72.6 billion, up nearly 19 percent from $61.1 billion in 2012.
1. Warren Buffett made $12.7 billion
Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK-A) (BRK-B) CEO personally made about $37 million a day in 2013, a year that saw the company's acquisition of Heinz and Nevada's NV Energy.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
Forbes' World’s Most Powerful People List, 2013 Edition
These 10 Billionaires Made the Most Money in 2013
Who’s more powerful: the omnipotent head of a corroding but still feisty power or the handcuffed head of the most dominant country in the world? This year’s snapshot of power puts the Russian president on top. Putin has solidified his control over Russia (“dictator” is no longer an outlandish word to ponder) and the global stage. Anyone watching the chess match over Syria has a clear idea of the shift in the power towards Putin. The ex-KGB strongman -- who controls a nuclear-tipped army, a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and some of the world's largest oil and gas reserves -- is allowed to serve two more terms, which could keep him office until 2024.
His signature legislation, Obamacare, is under fire, U.S. allies are outraged over NSA surveillance overseas, and the government shutdown for 16 days in October begs the question: Who's in control here? It appears that President Obama's lame duck period has set in earlier than usual for a two-term president, causing him to drop one notch from the No. 1 spot. To be sure, though, the leader of the free world remains in charge of the most powerful nation in the world, with the largest, most innovative economy and the deadliest military.
Recently promoted in March, the 60-year-old is the paramount political and military leader of China. Xi exercises near dictatorial control over 1.3 billion people (close to 20% of the world's population). China has the world's largest central bank, with $3.5 trillion in assets -- and owns some $1.3 trillion in U.S. securities, making it the largest foreign shareholder of U.S. debt. Along with India, the country is predicted to overtake the U.S. in aggregate GDP in coming decades; it is currently $8.2 trillion. There are 122 billionaires in the country, up from zero one decade ago. In addition to his title of general secretary of the Communist Party in China, Xi is also president of the People's Republic of China and the chairman of the Central Military Commission.
The world's most powerful woman is the backbone of the 27-member European Union and carries the fate of the euro on her shoulders as Germany's chancellor. Merkel's hard-line austerity prescription for easing the European debt crisis has been challenged by both hard-hit southern countries and the more affluent north, most particularly French President Francois Hollande. Merkel is fresh off a commanding reelection victory, and has served as chancellor since 2005; the first woman in the position. Merkel has earned the top spot on the FORBES list of Most Powerful Women In The World for eight of the past 10 years.
Gates is the wealthiest man in the U.S., despite his past gifts of more than $28 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He bolstered his foundation's efforts to eradicate polio in April, securing $335 million in pledges to the cause from six billionaire comrades, including $100 million each from Mexico's Carlos Slim and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Shares of Microsoft jumped in late August on news that Steve Ballmer will step down as CEO; Gates will remain chairman of the software company he cofounded with Paul Allen in 1975. He and fellow Most Powerful Warren Buffett have thus far convinced over 100 billionaires to sign on to the Giving Pledge, a promise to donate at least half one's net worth to charity.
Big Ben is stepping down as of Jan. 31, 2014, and Janet Yellen has been nominated to lead the Fed next year. Bernanke has served as chairman during some of the biggest financial challenges since the Depression. The former Princeton professor’s decisive actions and policies helped to avert a global economic meltdown during late 2000s fiscal crisis, and jump-started a still-moderate U.S. recovery. The American economy's "adult in the room" has said that there is only so much the Fed can do; politicians are the ones with the power to keep us from going over a fiscal cliff.
Duke heads the world's No. 1 retailer ($470 billion in revenues in 2012) and biggest private employer (2.2 million employees). Wal-Mart can make or break a company simply by deciding to stock its products. Last year, Sweden's $785 billion-in-assets sovereign wealth fund (none bigger) dropped its Wal-Mart stock -- reportedly worth about $140 billion -- on advice from its Ethical Council that cited a "serious and systematic abuse of workers' rights."