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Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life Hardcover – Sep 27 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Sept. 27 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385671741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385671743
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.6 x 23.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


 “O’Leary’s book reads exactly like he talks on Dragon’s Den. He’s a consummate marketer, so it’s no surprise he does a masterful job of telling his life story with the right mix of swagger and humility. You’ll gain a deeper appreciation for his business acumen, drive and determination. And if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or someone who’s debating whether to pursue your passion, you’ll get some invaluable advice and cold hard truth for the bargain price of just $29.95.”
Hamilton Spectator

“[Kevin O’Leary] is a master at relaying the cold, hard truth to people, even when it makes them cry and stomp their feet. That's why the title of his new memoir, Cold Hard Truth, cuts to the heart of his philosophy of life and money, which really boils down to one thing: focus on making cash or get out of business.”

About the Author

KEVIN O’LEARY is one of North America’s most successful business entrepreneurs, as well as a star on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and ABC’s Shark Tank. Kevin founded and built SoftKey (later The Learning Company), the global leader in educational kids’ software, and negotiated its sale to Mattel for $4.2 billion in 1999. Since then, he has successfully co-founded, funded, and sold numerous companies in a range of industries, including storage, entertainment, and finance. Today, Kevin is the Chairman of O’Leary Funds, a $1.7 billion mutual fund company. He is also the co-host of CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange and Discovery Channel’s Project Earth, and the host CBC’s new reality series, Kevin O'Leary’s Redemption Inc.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was debating whether to buy this book or not when a friend of mine lent me one. I would actually rate this book 3.75 stars. There is a lot of good information in it, it is easy to read, and can be widely useful for many people.

The book begins with his life as a child which had a profound effect on his future life. He then talks about building up Softkey which ended up buying The Learning Company. The book then explains how TLC failed under Mattel management. Clearly from other case studies outside this book, Mattel really failed in its management. O'Leary discusses how blame was laid on him and his management staff by Mattel when Mattel was actually at fault.

The book then goes into his life on television including the Dragon's Den, The Shark Tank, and several other stints. The information in this section is useful for entrepreneurs who are somewhat myopic or are thinking of applying to the show. In fact, there are several chapters that will help with this.

Finally he discusses how he feels free by having the wealth he has and provides information about his funds.

The positive points are as follows:

1. The author illustrates, throughout, that money is a tool that can be used to grow more. He places a high emphasis on cash and that it should be carefully managed as a scarce resource. His illustration of dollars being soldiers that are risk adverse and must be employed efficiently was very well done and was a great teaching point. His style of management and investment reflect the underlying concept of market efficiency
2. The main lessons from each chapter are summarized as a review in the back of the chapters.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am working my way through the 's books the Canadian Dragons have written. Kevin's business experience comes closer than all the others to my own. Yes he is brusque, some say nasty but he is a real truth teller on Dragon's Den and Shark Tank. He also makes the best arguments for investing in stocks/bonds than have a dividend/yield. It works and I confirm it. After reading this book I would have much more time to listen to O'Leary (and Amanda Lang). All these successful people have a story to tell and lessons you can learn from. O'Leary my be seen as cruel - but he is being kind to let people know immediately where they stand or their idea is foolish. Worth a read - I could not put it down as it flows well.
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Format: Hardcover
Some people are natural-born entrepreneurs. There’s a particular strand of DNA that uniquely equips certain individuals with the ability to spot an opportunity and commit the required amount of time and energy and take the risks involved in capitalizing on the opportunity. Personal motivation often stems from necessity. Such was the case for Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary. When he realized, after completing high school, that he could never make a living doing what he enjoyed most, being a self-employed photographer, he resorted to Plan B, which meant getting a post-secondary education. Despite having dyslexia and not being a particularly exceptional student, O’Leary finished university and earned an MBA giving him the tools he needed to create the life he envisioned.
Kevin O’Leary has also had his share of failures and successes over the years. His little book (just over two hundred pages) is chock full of great business advice for anyone with an urge to start their own business. He stresses the importance of hiring the right people. There was no tolerance for people who didn’t contribute to the bottom line or caused trouble. “I went to school with guys and gals who were brainiacs with the books, but utter zeros when it came to making money and building a business. They had no people skills and no ability to forge valuable relationships, proving that in the real world, interpersonal skills often trump academic achievements.” When I was in the corporate world I also found that top marks didn’t always guarantee business success. A high energy level, the willingness to work long hours, often at the expense of family life and strong interpersonal skills are essential. He stresses the importance of stocking your toolbox with valuable skills and learn to make money from it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is what surprised me: to find so much valuable information, as a young entrepreneur.

I hadn't given much thought to distribution and my own business model until I read this book.
What I took away from his story is that he managed to democratize software by undercutting (yes, you'll say he's brutal) everyone in the software industry, adopting a volume and licensing strategy.

I'm 26, so I can definitely remember growing up and seeing all those 2-5$ games and software disks by the counter. I personally found most were total crap, yet I now realize it brought down a lot of giants who would otherwise charge software by the thousand.

In my opinion, his personal brand was built on the same principal. His personal brand is only as strong as the TV rating can be... and the rating is pretty high (in major part due to his own "Mr Wonderful" nature).

I took away something: when I have a kid of my own, I'm making him build a lemonade stand by the golf course, so he learns that Distribution Is Key.
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