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CEOs Who Went from Rags to Riches

Many of today’s wealthiest and most powerful chief executives are entirely self-made. They were born into modest circumstances and worked hard for everything they have. Others have come from much more desperate backgrounds, which, thankfully, many of us will never have to know.

Many were born into poverty and raised in violent neighborhoods with rampant crime. But thanks to a combination of resourcefulness, ingenuity and a strong work ethic, they managed to transcend their circumstances. Today, they thrive in business and head some of the most profitable companies in the world.

In most cases, these future CEOs started working early in life and took menial childhood jobs to help their families get by. However, many of their struggles provided them with a survival instinct and it fostered an eye for opportunities that less-desperate people might overlook. It also produced the ability to stretch a dollar past its breaking point, a handy skill for anyone trying to cobble together start-up costs. Poverty can often help cultivate qualities that are strong business assets.

Who are the American CEOs who went from rags to riches? Click ahead to find out.

By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 14 July 2011

iStock