Simon Murray (GREAT BRITAIN)

Although Simon Murray is a multi-millionaire businessman, his early years were as unconventional as it gets. Having dropped out of high school, he joined the French Foreign Legion. Murray spent his five years fighting the Algerian fellagah in the Atlas mountains as a second-class private with the Legion's parachute regiment. His bestselling book Legionnaire, is as gutsy and gory a thriller as you could hope to read, and one that shows Murray is not a man to mess with. Frederick Forsyth considers it "a modern classic." In 1966, after leaving the Legion, Murray found a job in Hong Kong with Jardine Matheson. Over the next three decades he rose to become one of the leading players in the burgeoning Far East business scene. In 1998, in collaboration with Deutsche Bank, he set up GEMS, the £300 million-plus investment fund he still runs. He works out of London and Hong Kong, sits on the board of a range of companies including the luxury goods firm Richmont, and has been duly honoured as an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Republic of France.