167. H. Ross Perot Sr.
long before his presidential campaigns (1992 and 1996), perot was an ibm salesman. he reportedly quit big blue when it wouldn’t give him more computers to sell after he hit his annual quota. in 1962 he founded electronic data systems and netted about $1.5 billion when he sold it to gm 22 years later. he then launched perot systems, which dell bought for $3.9 billion in 2009. the son of a cotton broker and a graduate of texas high school in texarkana and the U.s. naval academy, perot recruited military vets in 1978 to rescue two eds employees imprisoned in iran, a saga recounted in ken follett’s book On Wings of Eagles.