Liston Street in Buffalo, New York, was not known as being part of the richest of neighborhoods, but it’s where I grew up. I was never much of a student in high school; frankly, I couldn’t sit still for more than 10 minutes without getting antsy. As a kid, I was good at sports, but my primary interest was flying airplanes. By the time I was 19 years old, I had a commercial pilot’s license.

In 1966, after two years of college, I dropped out and joined the army. After the army, I was on track to become an airline pilot until I found out the pay for starting pilots was only $350 a month. One of my flying buddies suggested I might be able to land a better-paying job in the “business world.” I thought it was a pretty dumb idea, but what ...

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