"How I Made It!" From billionaire to bartender, 20 accomplished people share the secrets of their success
By Carolyn Bigda; Joan Caplin; Peter Carbonara; Sarah Cooper; Judy Feldman; Erica Garcia; Ellen McGirt; Cybele Weisser

(MONEY Magazine) – What's the definition of success? It could be fame and fortune. It could be a secure retirement. It could be a first home. Or it could have nothing to do with money at all.

Push the traditional trappings of financial success aside--the big toys, the big house, the even bigger bank account--and what success boils down to is living life the way you please, and having an impact. And that's just what the people on the following pages have achieved.

Making it is often chalked up to luck or timing or connections, but as you'll see, it's rarely that simple. The backdrop to success is often a long struggle. And that's what we really want to know about.

Just how did they do it? What were the turning points? What opportunities were seized? What sacrifices were made? (And, yes, what lucky breaks did they get?) When those questions are answered, one thing becomes clear: There's very little "magic" to making it.