Kevin O’Leary on Being Able to Handle the Truth

UPDATED: March 21, 2017
PUBLISHED: March 10, 2016

Millionaire entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary is known for his ruthless and outspoken opinions on ABC’s entrepreneurial reality show Shark Tank. Known as “Mr. Wonderful” to viewers, O’Leary’s success story started where most do—with a simple idea. From his basement, he launched Softkey, an education software company, and later sold it for a whopping $3.7 billion. True to form, he didn’t leave his newfound wealth in the hands of others; he took control himself and founded a mutual fund company, O’Leary Funds. In this interview, learn how he fought his way to the top of the tank.

This interview appears on the SUCCESS Talks Collection April 2016 edition.



  • The philosophy that helped O’Leary achieve a certain level of success in his life: What matters in investing is return of capital
  • Why freedom and a passion to be successful—not greed or money—should be what drives entrepreneurs
  • Why you’ve got to understand who you are and what your weaknesses are if you want to achieve success
  • What “gum-scraping” (or humbling experiences) can teach you—like that there will be failure and sacrifices along the way
  • Three things entrepreneurs must have before they even think about entering the tank:
    1. They’re able to articulate their idea in 90 seconds or less.
    2. They’re able to explain why they’re the right team to execute the business plan.
    3. They know their numbers.


Favorite Quote From This Episode:

“The pursuit of money is not what being an entrepreneur is all about. It’s about the pursuit of freedom.” — Kevin O’Leary


SUCCESS Talks, the popular audio program included in every issue of SUCCESS magazine, is now available as a podcast. SUCCESS Talks features fascinating interviews with prominent business, creative and thought leaders such as Tony Robbins, Anne Sweeney, Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss and Barbara Corcoran. SUCCESS Talks focuses on helping the listener nurture and develop their mind, body and spirit. Each month is thematically different and includes key takeaways designed to help you achieve your biggest goals and live your true passion.

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