Perkins graduated from the Tilton School in 1963. He subsequently attended Middlebury College for two years before dropping out. He later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Boston University in 1968. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador from 1968 to 1970. He spent the 1970s working for the Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main; he claims to have been screened for this job by the National Security Agency (NSA) and subsequently hired by Einar Greve, a member of the firm (alleged by Perkins to have been acting as an NSA liaison, a claim which Greve has denied).
As Chief Economist at Chas. T. Main, Perkins and his staff advised the World Bank, United Nations, IMF, U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. He worked directly with heads of state and CEOs of major companies. Perkins's time at Chas T. Main provides the basis for his subsequent published claims that, as an "economic hit man", he was charged with inducing developing countries to borrow large amounts of money, designated to pay for questionable infrastructure investments, but ultimately with a view to making the debt-laden countries more dependent, economically and politically, upon the West.
In the 1980s Perkins left Main and founded and directed an independent energy company. In the book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins claims that his company was successful due to 'coincidences' orchestrated by those appreciative of his silence about the work he says he did as an economic hit man.
Perkins is a founder and board member of Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance, nonprofit organizations devoted to promoting environmentally sustainable and socially just societies. He has lectured at Harvard, Oxford, and more than 50 universities around the world, and is the author of eight books on global economics and indigenous cultures. He has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, CNBC, NPR, A&E, the History Channel, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Der Spiegel, and many other publications, as well as in numerous documentaries. He was awarded the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace 2012, and Rainforest Action Network Challenging Business As Usual Award, 2006.
Perkins's story is the main theme in part II of the movie Zeitgeist: Addendum, released in October 2008. In that same year, he appeared in the film, The End of Poverty?. His life as an economic hit man is detailed in the full-length movie, Apology of an Economic Hit Man. He also appears in the films The Weight of Chains by Boris Malagurski, released in December 2010, Let's Make Money (in German) by the Austrian director Erwin Wagenhofer, released October 2008, and Four Horsemen by Ross Ashcroft, released in 2012.
Gandalf as a Maia (named Olórin) before leaving the Undying Lands.
Originally called Olórin , he was accounted as the wisest of the Maiar (with the possible exception of Melian). He was a Maia of Manwë and Varda. He also served under two other Valar, such as Irmo and Nienna. When the Valar decided to send the order of the Istari (also known as Wizards) to Middle-earth, to counsel and assist all those in Middle-earth who opposed the Dark Lord Sauron, Manwë and Varda decided to include Olórin among the five who were sent.
At first, Olórin was nervous and described himself as too weak and too afraid of Sauron. Manwë understood, and told him that that was one main reason why he should go, to overcome that fear. Thus, he insisted that Olórin should go as the third, but Varda convinced him not to include Olórin as the third, but as the second. Olórin agreed, and prepared for his departure from the Undying Lands with the other four wizards.
Arrival in Middle-earth.
When he arrived to Middle-earth, he received Narya, the ring of fire, from Círdan the Shipwright. Olórin, renamed Gandalf , spent many centuries walking among the elves as a stranger, learning from them and teaching them. He later revealed himself as one of the Istari, and eventually became known as the wisest of and most powerful of that order. He joined the White Council, which was formed to investigate a dark power in Dol Guldur, of which Galadriel wanted him to become the leader, yet Saruman came to lead the Council instead of him. Although Saruman was initially more powerful and more knowledgeable about many matters regarding Sauron and the Rings of Power, and was head of the White Council before the War of the Ring, he later grew jealous and afraid of Gandalf,  which was the reason of his betrayal.