T. Boone Pickens is one of the nation's most successful businessmen, first building one of the nation's largest independent oil companies, Mesa Petroleum, and later reinventing himself in his 70s as one of the most successful investment fund operators with BP Capital. In July 2008, Boone launched the Pickens Plan (www.PickensPlan.com), a grass-roots campaign aimed at reducing this country's crippling addiction to OPEC oil.
Boone's 2008 book, The First Billion is the Hardest, also detailed what this country must do to win back its energy independence. He is also aggressively pursuing a wide range of other business interests, from alternative energy options to Clean Energy, a clean transportation fuels company he founded and took public in May 2008 (the eighth entity he has helped go public in his career).
CNBC has dubbed him "Oracle of Oil". His many professional honors include membership in the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, the Texas Business Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. In 1998, the Oil & Gas Investor listed him as one of the "100 Most Influential People of the Petroleum Century." During the span of his career, Pickens has given away more than $1 billion to philanthropic causes. He is among the most generous university benefactors of all time, having contributed more than $500 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, divided evenly between academics and athletics.