The New York-based hedge fund manager reportedly made a record $3.7 billion in 2007. In 2008, his $7 billion Advantage Plus fund returned an incredible 37.6 percent. Another smaller fund he manages returned nearly 590 percent last year, thought to be the largest one-year hedge fund return in history.
How he did it: In early 2008, Paulson began short-selling shares of financial stocks, including the doomed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He also bet big on Anheuser-Busch’s sale to Belgium’s InBev at a time when the deal looked to be falling apart.