While, for some, the allure and corrupting influence of vast wealth proved too much and resulted ultimately in family collapse, others picked up the baton from their ancestors and continued to develop the business.
The best example is the Walton family, founders of the world’s biggest retail chain Wal-Mart, who are collectively worth $90bn – or two-and-a-quarter Bill Gateses.
Then there are the Koch brothers who, despite being embroiled in a bitter and extended court battle with other family members, built the family firm into a vast conglomerate offering a diverse product portfolio.
The pair, who each retain 42 per cent stakes, are said to be worth at least $40bn.
This article on Forbes.com details the above examples and more of the most successful family dynasties still kicking in the Twenty-First Century. Notable is the presence of European names on the list including Carnegie and du Pont.