Abilio Diniz can run backward. On a treadmill. In the dark. At age 77.
Don’t hate Abilio Diniz. He wants you to do all the things he can do when you, too, are pushing 80: box, play squash, pump iron, even procreate: He has a 7-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son with his second wife, Geyze, who’s 41 — younger than all four children from his first marriage.
Diniz has written down his secrets in a book succinctly titled “Smart Choices for a Successful Life,” Bloomberg Pursuits will report in its Spring 2014 issue. It’s a best-seller in Brazil, where Diniz lives and where he made his fortune — some $3.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index — by building a supermarket chain into the country’s biggest retailer.
Unlike fellow billionaires who’ve slouched toward foie gras and profiteroles — or, in Warren Buffett’s case, five Cherry Cokes a day — Diniz has a fine-tuned formula for living that, he says, will cheat death.
“I have to believe I’m eternal,” he says in an interview at his modernist mansion in Sao Paulo’s leafy Jardins neighborhood. “Even if there’s some decline in physical terms – – a little less strength, a little less muscle tone — I’m gaining so much in terms of experience. I’m getting the wisdom of age without the problems of aging.”
Diniz has a six-pronged approach that’s simple to understand but harder to do, particularly as the decades pile up: Get a daily dose of strenuous exercise, burn more calories than you consume, ruthlessly limit your commitments, explore your inner psyche, pray to God and, above all, stay passionate.
“I have loved the women in my life fiercely,” he says. “Each one in her time.”
Once you have all the money in the world, the only thing left to covet is just that: time. The rich have been using lucre to fight death for decades. During the 1920s, wealthy men flocked to the south of France to have tissue from monkey testicles grafted inside their scrotums by Serge Voronoff, a Russian-born surgeon who claimed the procedure would slow the aging process and sharpen the mind. Mao Zedong had sex with hundreds of young women, guided by the Taoist belief that copulating with virgins extends one’s life.
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