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How I Did It

Personal and sometimes emotional entrepreneur stories.

How I Did It: Mel Zuckerman, Chairman, Canyon Ranch

In midlife, Mel Zuckerman was an overweight homebuilder. Then, a trip to a Spartan fat farm changed everything. He got his health back and went on to transform the fitness and spa industry with his posh Canyon Ranch retreats.

How I Did It: Bobbi Brown, Founder and CEO, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

In New York in the excessive 1980s, Bobbi Brown made it big by pushing moderation. She became makeup artist to the stars by introducing a palette of natural hues--and along the way became a star herself, with her name on a global brand.

How I Did It: Richard Schaps, CEO, Van Wagner Communications

Richard Schaps sold his outdoor-advertising company, Van Wagner, for $170 million. On Tuesday, he passed out millions of dollars to his people--and then started another outdoor-advertising company called Van Wagner.

How I Did It: David Katz, CEO, AEE Solar

If the world finally is taking solar power seriously, it's just catching up with AEE Solar

How I Did It: The 2007 Inc. 500

Inc.'s popular How I Did It feature, times 11. A cross section of the Inc. 500 leaders talk business.

How I Did It: Kenneth Feld, CEO, Feld Entertainment

He hires fire-eaters and acrobats! He breeds elephants! Plus this daring feat: As boss of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Ken Feld turned a castoff circus into a $750 million production company.

How I Did It: Jerome Boykin, Owner, JB Sweeping Service

Hurricane Katrina left Jerome Boykin jobless and aimless. Now he runs a growing cleaning business. How visiting a shopping mall parking lot changed everything.

How I Did It: William Wang, CEO, Vizio

When the founder of TV-maker Vizio--soon to be a $2 billion company--says it’s not about the money, believe him. Surviving a fiery plane crash gives a man some perspective.

How I Did It: Percy Sutton, Chairman Emeritus, Inner City Broadcasting

Talk about a man in full. Percy Sutton has been a stunt pilot, an intelligence officer, Malcolm X's lawyer, and a powerful politician. And also a media mogul, an investor, and even, in his eighties, a technology executive.

How I Did It: Howard Dahl, President and CEO, Amity Technology

Negotiating with commissars. Bartering for payment. Surviving the crash of the ruble.

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