The Greatness of Grant Cardone is not just all business. It’s fun for him too. I am struck by how comfortable the splendor of his home compliments his larger than life persona as he greets me with two majestic Great Danes at his side. Don’t be fooled by his couldn’t care less good looks and casual attire. This is a man who knows not only how to pave his road with gold but to teach others how to accomplish the same.
Cardone became internationally known for his Information Assisted Selling, developing multiple sales programs that have affected hundreds of thousands of sales organizations and billions of dollars in retail sales. His self made success which earned him a title of entrepreneur extraordinaire for the 21st Century has not diminished his warm boyish charm, enthusiasm, keen wit and contagious energy.
Born, raised and educated in Lake Charles Louisiana to modest beginnings, Grant Cardone graduated in Accounting from McNeese State University. His father passed away when Grant was a young boy leaving him the legacy of what Grant admits is one of the greatest lessons learned. “Work hard. Finish cycles and do not to give up what you start until it is finished. Learn to sell and you can go anywhere,” he instructed Grant.
On one of his first jobs as an offshore man he loaded an excess consignment of fish, making stops to sell them on his way home. It hooked him on selling. Since then he has become an International Sales expert, Trainer, Motivational Speaker and author.
Cardone parlayed the sale of his first $750,000 home into apartments, shopping centers and development opportunities with over 200 million dollars bought and sold.with.
Grant does not see himself as a salesman. The term workaholic he defines as a psychobabble term that some have given work in order to convince others not to work. Grant takes pride in and enjoys the work he does. He believes work is a critical ingredient of every civilization. “If people don’t work, what do they have? Without it you cannot create a civilization. It shouldn’t be considered some sort of an addiction or problem”.
F.B. Greatest salesman is?
G.C. John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jesus Christ, Bill Gates. These are great salespeople. They are not stereotypes - not polyester pants and white patent shoes, ‘I’m a salesman’ types. They sell ideas and concepts. For anybody to realize a dream or get what they want, a person has to sell with the power of conviction.
F.B. Is this your dream home?
G.C. I love it, but it is not my dream home. It would probably be a ranch somewhere in the mountains with lots of land, horses and beautiful views of the mountains.
Grant’s second choice would be in Italy. He loves Florence for its beauty. The only hesitation for this energy driven entrepreneur is; “would there be enough to do there.”
Grant is an animal lover. His favorite playground is with his two Great Danes.
F.B. Rules in your life are?
G.C. I want some fear in my life. I want to do new things, have new experiences. I never want to become complacent or for life to become just ordinary. I want new interests and activities I can learn from.
Grant points out that so many in his field tend to get on stage, teach people and not learn anything new. Grant expounds, “I don’t want the flow to be just teaching people but me learning as well.”.
F.B. What excites you most?
G.C. Overcoming challenges.
His passion in life remains his family first and foremost. Grant is married and madly in love with his actress wife Elena Lyons. “I followed her for 13 months, while she paid no attention to me. She never returned my phone calls. I don’t believe in ‘it takes two and she has to love you,’ I loved her way before she had any interest in me at all.” Other passions include life and understanding life. Grant continues, “I don’t think there is any mystery that is available to me in life that I could not understand completely. I think everything is discoverable.
F.B. Do you believe in ‘the chase’?
G.C. Sure! Love ‘the chase’. Love the acquisition of ‘the chase’ and even like it when I actually don’t achieve whatever I’m chasing. It perpetually creates this, “O.K. How do I solve this problem?”
F.B. Are you a romantic?
G.C. Yes! For my wife’s 30th birthday party I bought and planted 30 white rose bushes for her. I thought that was a nice touch.
F.B. Where and when do you dream?
G.C. I dream all the time. Constantly! One of my goals is to come out of obscurity and reach 6.7 billion people, everybody on the planet and have them all know me and what I do.
I asked if forced to be locked away in one room of the house, which one would he choose, Grant responds, “My kitchen. I can get a lot done here. I have a TV here.” His television is always on financial channels. He continues, “There’s a refrigerator, telephone, computer and a cappuccino machine.” He is proud of his ability to concoct a superb cappuccino. Then he adds, with a boyishly mischievous grin, “...and… I can have sex in the kitchen”. To boot, like the rest of the house, the kitchen boasts a spectacular view over Los Angeles all the way to the ocean.
Grant believes in at least six to eight hours sleep at night, yet no schedule for him. Bed time can be any time. If inspiration hits him in the middle of the night, Cardone keeps a pen and note pad next to his bed to jot ideas. He admits he has gone for 200 days at a time on three to four hours sleep while travelling the globe doing speaking tours on ‘how to sell, how to grow and expand your business.’ He professes this is a much needed topic today.
FB: What is wealth to Grant Cardone?
He ponders. “Spiritually first I know who I am, what’s going to happen to me and where I am going. Then, there is my family. Third, I have some money to go along with this party. If you’re spiritually in good shape then usually you’re in good shape with your body.”
Grant Cardone is visibly in good physical shape. I ask if he is a health nut.G.C. I eat healthy but I eat whatever I want.
Though not a junk food eater he loves candy and maintains that he “makes the best chocolate chip cookies anywhere you can buy them on this planet.” Watch out Sarah Lee!
Grant also uses the gym in his house to work out, “but not every day,” he adds.
On shopping, Grant loves it. He does not waste time. He speed shops and never for just one item but many at a time.
Asked about his favorite restaurant, Grant answers “Probably right here is my favorite restaurant. Can’t beat the view, can’t beat the food.”
F.B. What is your favorite form of relaxation?
G.C. Xbox or Black Jack!
F.B. Are you a home body or do you like to go out?
Cardone is an Aries! He answers, “I like home. I like to go out. I love being around a lot of people, so when I go out I like to be with a lot of people. I like family and friends. I’m Italian so any where there is laughter or games, people talking I enjoy. The more people the better. I don’t even need to know them.”
On Grant’s favorite newspaper; “I don’t think much of newspapers,” he points out, “but I would have to say Investor’s Business Daily.” He enjoys espionage and mystery books. His buddy Vince Flynn ranks as one of his favorite writers. Science fiction also is up there with L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth. “Movie was terrible but the book is unbelievably good.”
Grant’s preferred vacation spot is Italy. He tosses his head laughing. “There is no other place to vacation. You see”, he explains, “The whole world is Italian, the Chinese, the Indians, the Americans, they just don’t know it until they’re in Italy. What other country has that effect on people?”
F.B. What is the last thing you cried about?
G.C. Probably the last thing was the movie Armageddon. I watched it seven times. I cried every time when Bruce Willis dies. I have a twin brother who has done the same thing although we never saw the movie together. Every time, he cries too.
On television, movies or theatre he says, “Everything is taped here, no commercials. I refuse to watch all the psychiatric drug commercials. They don’t promote the resolve of a problem they just tell you about all the side effects that go with the remedy.”On music Andrea Bocelli ranks top of the list. “I love opera and also Rap.” Eminem is one of his favorites.
Cardone enjoys buying jewels for his wife though without much brand loyalty. For Grant shopping is often done on the internet. “I’ll also look through magazines, find what I want and run down and get it for her.” Grant Cardone's choice of watches for himself is Pierre Kunz and Franck Muller designs. He adds, “But things change so fast today; It’s not like our parents who committed to a particular brand.” He is definitely a man who is drawn to the latest trends.
F.B. What negative experience turned into a positive for you?
C.G. This economy is a blessing to me. It was the meltdown 18 months ago. The contraction was so violent it forced me to look at how to repackage everything, creating tremendous opportunities for me.
F.B. Is justice or forgiveness more important?
Grant says he does not think in terms of forgiveness. “I don’t hang on to things for very long, because people do make mistakes,” he explains. “Justice is way overused. Punishment does not change the nature of the person. We have more criminals in America than anywhere else on earth. So prison is not a solution, they’re just going to go back anyway. Justice is completely misunderstood and so is forgiveness.”
F.B. Do you feel there is anything missing in your life?
G.C. Yes! There are six billion people!
On sports: “I love anything where competition and high scoring is involved. It’s the excellence that I like. It’s the commitment, the dedication, the training all the work that precedes it. I like two excellent teams challenge one another.”
Golf is his sport of choice. “I love to gamble with guys, I like the heat and pressure and the warmth of the game. I love the outdoors”.
F.B. Have you ever dreamed of doing something else in life?G.C. I’d love to be in movies. I audition for one thing and got it. I’m working on something right now that will involve a movie.
F.B. The words you live by?
G.C. Add wood! Build a fire and add wood. Just keep adding wood. Burn the place down!
F.B. Who would you like to trade places with for a month?
“No one!” he announces. “I like what I do with me. Hey, would I like to be Mohamed Ali for a month?
Who is his hero? He answers, “My father, and Howard Schulz, founder of Starbucks. He had a concept no one wanted and he made it work. Not only that, he made it into something indispensable to so many. I love that,” he chuckles.
What is your ultimate dream? “To come back more able, better educated, with a quick start.”
Grant Cardone. Call him compelling. He’s on fire. With talent and a goal, he holds the greatest sales tool of all; the power of conviction.
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All Photographs © & ® 2010 by Francesca Bowyer