Mental Floss

Born Retired: 4 Famous Figures Who Never Held (Real) Day Jobs

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This article was originally posted last summer.

By Erik Sass

What do these wits, terrorists, and philosophers all have in common? Well, there's one thing they didn't have: a job.

1. Osama bin Laden

Before he started fighting for his own violent version of Islam, terrorist Osama bin Laden led the life of a playboy. Born around 1957 to a wealthy Yemeni father and Syrian mother, bin Laden was heir to part of the massive fortune his billionaire father had accumulated in the Saudi construction business. As such, he squandered his days, acquiring a reputation for drinking too much and womanizing in his teens and early 20s in Beirut, which was then a cosmopolitan tourist hot spot. In fact, he didn't become a firmly committed, full-time Islamic radical until he went to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. That's where Osama began his improbable transformation from a rakish ladies' man to a mass-murdering zealot, never having worked a day before then.

2. Socrates

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3. Oscar Wilde

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4. Buddha

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