'Foolish' Idea: Selling books
How idea was Launched: Aged 21yrs, Lord Hamlyn opened his first book shop.
Over the years he built up two publishing groups, which he then sold. It was the selling of the second publishing group, Octopus, that made his fortune.
Before his career in books and publishing, Lord Hamlyn had been a Bevin boy who worked down the pits in South Wales.
Earnings: £530million for the sale of Octopus to Reed International in 1987. Lord Hamlyn remained as a director, although he has now retired, but still remains the largest individual shareholder.
Value of his stake, £223million (1998).