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American businessman Ross Perot ran for the U.S. presidency as an independent candidate twice, in 1992 and 1996. He is one of the most successful third-party candidates in American history.
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Born in Texas in 1930, Ross Perot is best known as one of the most successful third-party candidates in American history. From 1957 to 1962, Perot worked for IBM. Afterward, he formed his own company, Electronic Data Systems, which he sold to General Motors in 1984 for $2.5 billion. In 1992, Perot ran as an independent candidate for the U.S. presidency, winning nearly 19 percent of the popular vote. He ran again in 1996. The Reform Party, which he founded in 1995,
"I was what they called a day trader. You'd buy it in the morning and sell it in the afternoon and make a few dollars' profit if you were lucky."
gradually established its autonomy from him. Perot has authored several books, including Ross Perot: My Life & the Principles for Success and United We Stand. He announced in 2012 that he would be releasing an autobiography, Ross Perot: My Life, in January 2013.
Born in Texarkana, Texas, on June 27, 1930, Ross Perot became one of the country's leading businessmen and later a political force to be reckoned with. He got some of charm and business acumen from his father Gabriel Ross Perot. His father ran a cotton wholesaling company and had other ventures. Perot was the couple's third child, but his older brother, Gabriel Ross Perot Jr., died as a toddler. He also had an older sister named Bette.
Originally named Henry Ray Perot, he changed his name to Henry Ross Perot in his early teens. Perot was close to his father, and their trips to cattle auctions served as lessons in salesmanship. According to Ken Gross's Ross Perot: The Man Behind the Myth, he started out buy and selling saddles and other equipment, and later, animals themselves. "I was what they called a day trader," Perot once said. "You'd buy it in the morning and sell it in the afternoon and make a few dollars' profit if you were lucky." Perot also worked as a newspaper delivery boy.
In 1949, Perot enrolled at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. There he thrived, serving as class president in both his junior and senior years. During this time, Perot met his wife Margot. The pair married in 1956, and eventually had five children together.
After leaving the U.S. Navy in 1957, Perot returned to Texas with his wife. He soon put his strong sales skills to work as an employee for IBM. Perot decided to branch out on his own after a few years, forming Electronic Data Systems in 1962. This new company provided other businesses with data processing systems and services.
What started out as a one-person operation grew into a thriving business. In 1968, Perot became a millionaire when he took EDS public. The values of his shares grew substantially, eventually making him a billionaire. Outside of business, Perot was active in issues relating to prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action in the Vietnam War. He also orchestrated a daring rescue when two of his own employees were taken hostage in Iran in 1979. The operation to free these prisoners later became the basis for the Ken Follett book On Wings of Eagles.
In 1984, General Motors bought a controlling interest in EDS. The initial deal provided Perot with cash and GM shares, and he became a vocal critic of his new business partners.
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