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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Motivating, Factual, but Unbalanced
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...
Published on Oct. 13 2011 by Rocky Mountain Entrepreneur

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great. Not memorable but better than expected!
When this book was announced it did not make it to the list of books I must buy before I die. But alas, I did buy it for $15. It is a quick read and does give interesting insights into this loud often over powering Canadian figure. Who'd have thought he was dyslexic? There is some good sound advice. Don't bother with the tests.They are pathetic and detract from the...
Published on Nov. 1 2011 by Jeffrey Brooks


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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Motivating, Factual, but Unbalanced, Oct. 13 2011
By 
Rocky Mountain Entrepreneur "Rocky Mountain E... (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (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.
3. The author presents several questionnaires to help the reader determine if they are a good fit to be an entrepreneur.
4. He provides an excellent background to his life. This important because concepts he learned as a youth have now translated into his investment mentality. The experiences he had reflects in his style. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers has similar thoughts on what happens when people have a bit of luck, some skill, interest in what they are doing, and are born at a suitable time and how it all comes together. That being said, both of these authors highlight the need for personal initiative.
5. It is inspiring to the degree that it motivates the reader to use their money more efficiently.
6. Mr. O'Leary delineates his concept of risk very well. From this, the reader can determine if they have the intestinal fortitude to be a entrepreneur or not.

Some of the main lessons, and there are many more, I took away from the book (many of which I already know and practice) were:
1. There is no substitute for work, hard work and that is what you have to do to get to the top. Nevertheless, effective and efficient work must be done. This second statement is implied throughout.
2. There will always be naysayers and critics that will say "it can't be done."
3. There are opportunities around no matter what the circumstance for those that look.
4. Image is a factor in success.
5. Command ability will make one more successful.
6. Sacrifice is needed to win. In this case, O'Leary's sacrifice included most of his hobbies, friends, and family. The question then remains: Is it worth it?" To him it would appear so.
7. Match your weaknesses with a partner's strengths.
8. Loving what you do is a factor relating to the degree of success you will have. However, hobbies don't make money.
9. Time is precious so use it wisely.

The drawbacks in this book include the following:
1. Although he states that freedom is his ultimate goal, what do you do with it once you have it? For him, and many entrepreneurs, it appears that making money is a game. Perhaps there is no end state.
2. Other wealthy individuals such as Gates, Buffet, Zuckerman, Omidyar, have put a heavy emphasis on philanthropy. Although O'Leary states he contributes to five charities per year, there is only one paragraph in the entire book relating to this topic and by default what freedom can mean for others (he does say he makes his shareholders money, however). In this regard with the next point, the book seems unbalanced.
3. The focus is entirely on money and how he was able to get more of it. Although the lessons learned are good, it seems unbalanced compared to other wealthy persons approaches (e.g., Seymour Schulich) and does not deal with soft touch approaches. He states that the only thing that motivates people is money. I don't necessarily agree based on my own experiences as a businessman.
4. His perspective is very Machiavellian. Perhaps this is his media persona or perhaps not. But is certainly looks that way in this book. In this case, leadership is not a strong focus but quick, decisive action is.
5. Finally, if readers had only this book with which to learn management styles, this would not be a good choice. I have found the Jack Welch biography much better and he seems to achieve the same effect (if not better) using more soft touch techniques with the hard knock ones. This book is good to provide one perspective on a leadership style but should be accompanied by examples from other leaders.

All in all, I recommend this book to readers who enjoy learning about differing leadership styles, people who are in business, people looking to appear on Dragon's Den or The Shark Tank, and people who invest, want to work with, or are or will be associated with Kevin O'Leary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read - I could not put it down- a good story., Feb. 25 2013
By 
Reg Nordman "(K)nights on the Road" (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid effort, Dec 11 2012
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (Hardcover)
Very enjoyable read. Lots of good advice and content. The book exceeded my expectations and is quite well written.
He focuses a lot on marketing and being very aggressive once a path is chosen. Good job, good effort!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every page of it!, Feb. 8 2012
By 
Andrew R. (Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (Hardcover)
Lots of useful advice on money, investing and making a successful business.
If you know nothing or very little about financial stuff, this book is definitely a good starting point. It will not teach you any particular skills, but rather will show you a correct mindset you should have in order to become a successful entrepreneur.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold truth is hot, Nov. 4 2011
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (Hardcover)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is easy reading and like a good novel is hard to put down once you start going through it. This is due to the successful blending of family history and upbringing with business accomplishments. Nothing theoritical or boring, anecdotes and stories from the real business world are distlled at the end of each chapter with lessons to be learnt and guidlines for aspiring entrepreneurs.The underlying theme is that if you put your mind to it, you can accumulate wealth and reap the freedom that comes with it.Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The cold hard truth, Oct. 13 2011
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (Hardcover)
As entertaining as the Kevin O'Leary we know. For someone who came from a broken home, Kevin has not let that stop him learning, and doing very well in this world. Using his ability to judge people and evaluate what they can do, is one secret of his success. The other is to listen and learn from others, especially his parents. Enjoyed the book tremendously. Wish it was longer.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great. Not memorable but better than expected!, Nov. 1 2011
By 
Jeffrey Brooks "MissingPerson" (Montreal, QC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (Hardcover)
When this book was announced it did not make it to the list of books I must buy before I die. But alas, I did buy it for $15. It is a quick read and does give interesting insights into this loud often over powering Canadian figure. Who'd have thought he was dyslexic? There is some good sound advice. Don't bother with the tests.They are pathetic and detract from the content.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The truth about this book, April 8 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (Hardcover)
It's easy to become rich when you come from a wealthy family! It's easy to become rich when you can have great support and advisor's at age 8-9 to teach you about business and economics. Put anyone in these circumstance's and there's a good chance they'll be rich. Not so impressive.

For the book it self, it could have 5 pages of good tips. The rest his filling pages of personal non relevant crap that as nothing to do with how to make money. I don't care that you lived in a villa surrounded by pomegranates when you where a little boy. It's more about his personal history than the truth about money

That's the truth!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even though I'm still leery of O'Leary, I must admit this book is...excellent!!, Jan. 22 2014
By 
Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (Hardcover)
XXXXX

"In these pages, I'm sharing with you life-changing moments and powerful lessons that have shaped my business philosophy. Along the way, I'll provide succinct summaries of those lessons and some questions designed to get you thinking about your own financial goals and dreams.

Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, or to start and grow a business. But one things for certain: everyone wants to be financially successful and to make more money.

I'll share my simple, clear-cut philosophy for investing, growing wealth, and becoming financially secure. I'll tell you exactly how I built my fortune."

The above comes from this surprisingly good book by Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O'Leary. O'Leary is a Canadian businessman, investor, writer, and TV personality. He is, perhaps, best known as one of the venture capitalists on the Canadian TV show "Dragon's Den" and its American counterpart "Shark Tank."

(I said above that O'Leary is generally a businessman. Specifically, he's "a born marketer and avid salesman." I wonder if O'Leary has read Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice," written circa 1595, with its central character "Shylock?")

Oh, I forgot one small thing: O'Leary's estimated net worth is $300 million. He also is chairman of a mutual and investment fund management firm that handles over $1.5 billion (known as {surprise, surprise} "O'Leary Funds").

This book is written in an autobiographical format. Along the way, O'Leary shares his secrets, experiences, insights, and lessons on entrepreneurship, business, money, and life as well as advice for budding entrepreneurs.

I first saw O'Leary on Canadian TV's "Dragon's Den." (Note that this show was in the ratings basement when it first began but due to some lucky events that happened during season one, it has become hugely successful.) I, like probably many people who watched this show, took an immediate dislike to O'Leary.

For those thinking that you'll read about the "TV show" Kevin O'Leary, I'm here to tell you that you won't (except for a couple of sections at the end of the book). This book presents a more caring O'Leary. (And NO. I'm not kidding!)

How should you read this book? I recommend reading this book with a business person's mentality. Such a mentality is one where you absolutely love money above anything else and where "greed is good." (For those who believe this, watch the weekly documentary "American Greed" on CNBC, narrated by my favourite actor Stacy Keach.)

If you read this book with this mentality, you'll find that this book is quite good. It is a well-written autobiography. Peppered throughout it are both personal and non-personal black and white pictures. (I especially liked the pictures showing O'Leary with a full head of hair!) What I especially found interesting are the brief lesson summaries found at the end of each chapter. The titles of these lesson summaries include "Are you an employee or an employer," "How to spot winners," "How to present the perfect pitch," and "O'Leary's laws for savvy investing."

The "truth" found in this book's title refers to O'Leary's truths that he has discovered along the way to becoming a multi-millionaire. But there is one truth that he reveals that applies to everything in life including financial life. Unfortunately he buries this universal truth in the acknowledgements section, a section few people read. Here it is in O'Leary's own words:

"And scrutinizing my own career with 20/20 hindsight has made me realize just how much my success is really a mysterious combination of hard work and serendipity [or luck, chance, fate, being in the right place at the right time, accidental good fortune, etc.] Because in the end, fortune shines on only a lucky few and sets them free."

Finally, would I invest in O'Leary Funds?? Absolutely. Even though O'Leary tells us he's known as an a-hole to many people, I need a person like him to manage and make my money grow. (In fact, I plan to get in touch with him as soon as I win the lottery!)

In conclusion, multi-millionaire Kevin O'Leary has written an impressive autobiography that I found to be both enjoyable and educational.

If I had only one question to ask O'Leary it would be this:

"How much is enough??" (He would probably call me a "nut bar" for asking him this question.)

(first published 2011; introduction; 12 chapters; epilogue; main narrative 245 pages; acknowledgements)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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5.0 out of 5 stars Genius Book Reviews - Novel Review, Dec 11 2013
This review is from: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life (Hardcover)
Format: Paperback

Rating: 9.5

Review: Wow. This book truly surprised me. Of all the business books that I have read and reviewed so far, this one was by far the best. Kevin O’ Leary has a great writing style, which put him ahead of many other books written on business. O’ Leary tells his life story while giving tips for anyone with a business mindset along the way. He has written this book with the same personality he had on t.v, and as I’ve been told by several sources, off t.v. Brutally honest. (Maybe all capitals should be on the ‘Brutally’ part!) I know that some people do not like O’ Leary because of this, but I think it is the character trait that draws me towards him in his writing and on television. Overall, I suggest this book to any readers, young or old, who are interested in business, or just in O’ Leary’s story. I will be reading his other books in the future.
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Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life by Kevin O'Leary (Hardcover - Sept. 27 2011)
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