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Kevin O’Leary on dyslexia, financial chops, why he isn’t really mean


CNBC Make It’s Behind the Desk series features this story. It shows how successful business executives got there, what motivates them to rise each morning and their everyday routines.

Kevin O’Leary may be a mystery to you.

You might not have known that Shark Tank’s star investor, ABC, was dyslexic. Maybe you did not know that his Lebanese mother was his financial mentor, which he claims “kept a secret”. [bank]Account from her husbands and her entire life.

Based mainly on O’Leary’s television personality, you might believe he is mean. O’Leary disagrees with that claim. People call me mean. O’Leary, who is 67 years old, says that she doesn’t think O’Leary is mean. CNBC Make It.

O’Leary says that he’s just following Georgette’s advice as a teenager: Don’t tell a lie. You’ll never need to remember what your words were. He says, “In other words: I tell it how I see it.”

O’Leary credits that honesty, even when it hurts, to his success — dating back to his first entrepreneurial endeavor, a company called Softkey Software that he launched from his Toronto basement in 1986. Later, the company evolved into The Learning Company which is an educational software company. which O’Leary and his co-founders soldMattel bought Mattel’s property for $4.2 million in 1999.

O’Leary, who has advised many businesses since that time, has made investments in them and advised them. crowdfunding start-up StartEngineCompanies like DrainWig or Wicked Good Cupcakes are his “Shark Tank” partners. As the president of The Bestsellers Club, he is also an author. chairman of O’Shares ETFs.

The road to get there has been far from easy, he says — from losing his dad at age seven to making mulitiple business mistakes along the way. O’Leary shares his story about dyslexia as a child, how it made him a serial entrepreneur, and what it means to be a true entrepreneur.

“I did not have any disability growing up.” I had superpowers’

When I was young, I suffered from severe dyslexia. My reading and math skills began to fall apart in school. However, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the McGill University experimental program.

The program was managed by Marjorie Golick and Sam Rabinovich, two prominent dyslexic professors. These two professors taught me I did not have a disability. My superpower was my ability to think for myself.

At that age, the whole idea was to reduce my anxiety — because I could actually read a book upside down in the mirror in front of my class. This is one characteristic dyslexics possess. After I demonstrated to them I could do it, I began reading and solved the problem.

Numerous dyslexics are successful in business. They must overcome their dyslexic traits.

The moment that made him an entrepreneur was: “For me it was getting fired…as an ice cream scooper.”

When I speak with successful entrepreneurs, the one thing that makes a difference in their lives is the moment they make a decision. Magoo’s Ice Cream Parlour was the moment that changed my life. I remember being fired as an icecream scooper.

That was my first ever job. Because I was unable to understand the concept of an employee-employer relationship, I was fired the very first day. This job I took was to make contact with a girl who I liked. The shoe shop was across from her.

Owner stated, on day one, that “the floor was totally covered in gum.” The owner said that you had to get rid of the gum every day. I replied, “I cannot do that.” It was my concern that the girl in the shopping center would see me down on my knees. That was not good for my brand. That was my final job.

My experience taught me that you can’t be a slave to anyone. My destiny is my responsibility. I am not against [the concept of]I am an employee but cannot. [personally] do it. From that moment on, this was my goal.

His financial acumen: “My mother was extremely hardcore about taking care of her family and herself.”

It has much to do with my Lebanese mom. Matriarchs in the Lebanese family hierarchy run the show, and her grandmother was the one who did it. These women set the tone and direction for the entire family.

My mom was fiercely independent. Her mother wanted to be her financial pillar. This is what I have learned from her. I believe she believed in hard work and was determined to provide for her family.

It wasn’t like she was an analyst. The executor called me after she died and told me, “You have to get down there.” Your mother, a highly wealthy woman, died.

It was a surprise to me that her secret bank account had been kept from her husbands for her entire life. This is how she did it.

He received the most valuable advice: “Never tell any lie.”

My mother once taught me this when I was young: Never tell a lie and you won’t have to recall what you say.” This was something I did not practice back in my teens, but it is something I now realize has merit.

This is how I interpret it. While many people may not agree with my views, it is the ones who disagree with me that engage in dialogue and discussion. I believe that this is very healthy.

It’s true, I am the one who gets “Shark Tank” in my eyes. You should always tell people the truth if a deal seems really bad. Even though it can sometimes be difficult, I have found that many people can sense bull —- as far away as social media. Honesty is key to engaging people. [people].

A very large amount of money is mys. [following]I find it very fascinating to hear their thoughts. When I need to make a decision, I always quiz them. They’ll stay with you as long as they don’t bull —- you.

The biggest myth about him is that he doesn’t mean it.