Early Years

Yeah, I really was born in Sicily, and moved to Chicago at 3, hence that accent instead of Italian…I had a paper route starting at 5 years old delivering the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune. Back then it was OK…today you’d call it child labor… I was a tad small and the cart we pushed weighed a few hundred pounds when all the papers were in there. So my older brothers and I worked together until I was 8 years old. Then I could master the giant cart myself, on most days.

I’d get up at 4am every single day regardless of the weather. Believe me, Chicago is damn cold and I delivered papers for 10 years until 14 years old (when I went into fast food). Rain, sleet, powerful winds, snow, raining ice…it didn’t matter. I delivered the papers every day…And every week when I got paid, all the money went to my parents to help support me.

We were 6 kids (all boys) and only my dad worked. My mom ran the house. I think I remember when I was somewhere around 5-7 years old that I heard that my dad only made $75 a week. I didn’t know what that was like. I knew he needed more and hoped my few dollars a week helped…I know that when my dad retired he was making somewhere over $100 a week. The highest figure I heard was like $110 or so, but I don’t know the final.

My dad took a bus to work every day, getting up at 6am himself…and he would walk the final 2-3 miles instead of paying 5 cents for a bus transfer…I could never understand that…It made no sense…Only after my dad passed away, did it ever occur to me that he paid for my oldest brother to live in the hospital for 7 years as a result of a horrible bus accident where he was run over…He said he had over 100 operations to save his leg…, and I can’t imagine the anguish he went throughI can’t imagine how my dad paid for him back then as we had no insurance…Life was different then…So I am very glad that my few dollars a week helped somewhat…I am glad I did my part.

Early Career

At 14 I went into fast food as a short order cook…yeah, I
know, they don’t do that anymore… I had to get a physical and a doctor’s permission, which I did all on my own…And as I moved up in the world, I told my mom that I would cover everything myself. I paid for my own clothes, my own books, my own transportation to school some 5-6 miles away, everything…I was self-supportive aside from having an occasional dinner at home and living there…the rest was all on me…I can tell you that I know the value of one dollar…And, oh yeah, I used to pay for my own dental work myself…I remember the surprise my mom had when I got one of my teeth pulled back then. At 19 I went into the corporate world and began learning the hard knocks of business…I was self-taught as a typist, getting a book out from a library and teaching myself on the office equipment…People seeing how fast I could type landed me a job for years as a speed typist and proofreader…I typed 120 wpm back then which is still amazingly fast…I wrote and typed out my first book, The Black Book of Sales Secrets, in one weekend…I don’t consider that any kind of a feat…I just think I’m normal.

I found I did pretty well in whatever I delved into and I made some impressive record-breaking sales in real estate, collectibles and other industries…but this was making money for others all the time, which is fine as I consider that on-the-ground training…I helped form an insurance technology company and I ran the fundraising, raising $3.25 million from friends and family in a six-month period; all strictly angels. I took on the role of VP Sales & Marketing and learned lead generation and basic marketing…invaluable lessons.

I put myself through college and university. I graduated Summa Cum Laude, which is pretty rare and not really heard of much. I got straight A’s in every single class be it biology, mathematics, finance, accounting, legal basics, you name it, I aced everything. It’s like graduating in the top 1% of the country.

Personal

My favorite people are my wife and my dog (yeah, he’s people)…I’ve been with my wife going on 26 years. When we first started dating, we became captivated on the subject of religion and spirituality…and here we are 26 years later, still having the most fascinating discussions about all of that, and more.

My dog, Ronin, a white Akita, is my other super-pal. He’s a real trooper and has been through a lot. A few years ago he tore his ACL (it’s like dislocating the knee–ouch). And then a few months later he tore the other ACL because of the strain from hopping on one leg…I had no idea it was that bad and then bang, he could not walk anymore…That was such a bad time for us…The only way I could get him to the bathroom was to take him on a cart. And so I did for the next 10 months. We called it the “Ronin Trolly.” I’ve learned so much since and we healed him naturally with all the right supplements. We dropped his weight from 140 lbs., gradually over time, and now he’s perfect, fully healed and walking on his own.