Bernie Marcus was born to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in Newark, New Jersey. He grew up speaking Yiddish in a tenement with no heat or air conditioning. He wanted to become a doctor, but could not get into medical school because he was Jewish, and because he could not afford the tuition, so he worked for his father as a cabinet maker. Eventually, he became an American billionaire businessman, and co-founded The Home Depot.
What is the secret of his success? Rabbi Tzadok Hakohen Rabinowitz taught that “Just as we must believe in G-d, we must afterward believe in ourselves.” We are meant to look at ourselves the way that G-d looks at us, as worthy and significant, and beaming with potential. Looking at yourself as a victim, makes you look at yourself as incapable and insignificant, and hinders your ability for growth and achievement. This is like the old psychological adage, “Whether you think you can, or that you cannot—you are right.” Bernie Marcus shared that in the United States, in particular, if a person believes in himself and works hard, it is only a matter of time until success will come his way.
Rabbi Pinchas Taylor, a shliach in south Florida, sat down with Bernie Marcus in his home to discuss his life, insights to his success, and his recommendations for others looking to achieve success.