15 Things You Didn’t Know about Kevin O’Leary

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Kevin O’Leary is a businessman from Canada whose estimated net worth is $300 million. He knows what it takes to build a brand, to make it happen and to see your dreams turn into reality. He’s been making it his business to do just that for many years now, and he is not afraid of a challenge. As the co-founder of both O’Leary Funds as well as Softkey, he knows a thing or two about business.

He’s run successful ventures since 1979 when he first entered the world of business, and he’s not afraid to continue to build his brand. It’s Kevin O’Leary’s opinion that his work is never done and that he has more to do until he literally can no longer do it. He’s a man we see and hear from regularly on Shark Tank, but he’s not one we know much about.

Here are 15 things you didn’t know about him.

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He was a commentator

For years, Kevin O’Leary was a commentator for the CBC Television program. He has commentated on several different shows there, particularly for “The Lang and O’Leary Exchange.” He also has some experience as a host, as he did host “Redemption Inc,” and he has made it quite a profession to spend time on television doing both. Though this is not his primary line of work, it is one in which he focuses his time and effort from time to time to enable himself to gain more exposure and to employ his business practices.

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He’s a Shark Tank Investor

The genius series “Shark Tank” on ABC is one of the best shows around. This show is one that focuses on men and women who have an idea. It might not seem like a good idea to everyone, and it might not even sound like a half bad idea to everyone; but it’s an idea. These people want to market their ideas and they hope that someone will see the value in what they are doing and invest in them. This provides men and women with the chance to see their business become a reality, and he is one of the investors who gets behind good ideas.

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He didn’t want to get into business

For many years of his life, Kevin O’Leary had other ideas about his future. There were those who wanted him to go a certain way in life, but he chose to do things his own way. For example, he chose to, instead of spending his life at school or pursuing dreams that were not his own, become a photographer. He harbors a passion for the art, and he wanted to become one most of his life. We know he has an eye and that he is talented, and we wonder how successful he might have become if he’d been able to pursue that dream.

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He loves Nabisco

When he graduated from college with his MBA from the University of Western Ontario, Kevin O’Leary made a decision. He had to go to work, and he looked for a job. He was hired on at Nabisco, which actually sounds delicious. Who doesn’t love cookies and crackers and other delicious treats, after all? It turns out that he is not someone who worked for the good part of the company that might hinder his waistline, though. He actually worked for the cat food line that Nabisco produces.

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He’s part Lebanese

This is not something people tend to know about Kevin O’Leary, thanks to the fact that he is so often described as being Canadian. He is Canadian, but he is also part Lebanese. His maternal grandfather came to Canada when he was a young man after making the decision to leave his small village in Lebanon after a time. He then married a woman who came from the same village in Lebanon as he did, and together they gave birth to four kids including Kevin O’Leary’s mother. That makes him part Lebanese.

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His parents are divorced

When Kevin O’Leary was a small child, his parents decided to divorce. They were experiencing some martial issues, and some might assume it had to do a bit with the fact that when O’Leary’s grandmother passed away and left her store to his mother she began to take over the business and work more hours than not. Either way, it was not long after his grandmother died that his parents made the decision to split up. He remained with his mother.

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His father died

Kevin O’Leary dealt with a number of significant blows when he was a child. It began with the dissolution of his parent’s marriage, and then it became even worse. His father then passed away not long after the divorce was finalized. It was a devastating time for a small child. Two difficult life situations that don’t happen to many kids happened to him in a matter of a very short time, and he was very fortunate to come out of this type of situation as well as he did.

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He lived everywhere

When Kevin O’Leary’s mother remarried, the family began living all over the world. His stepfather was the UN International Labour Union economist, and he lived all over the world. As a child, he was able to go places such as Cambodia, Cyprus and even Tunisia and call them home. Being able to live all over the world had an impact on the way he sees the world and in his business ventures. Because of this, he is able to see things from a new perspective that many other businessmen do not have the privilege of doing. His many travels as a child helped to teach him more than he thought possible.

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His mother taught him to invest

Even though his mother was a seamstress and later a business owner thanks to the fact that she inherited her parent’s store, she taught Kevin O’Leary to invest his month the right way. She always took one third of her weekly earnings and invested it quite shrewdly so that she was able to make a return on her investment. She was good at doing it, and she taught her son to help her out as often as possible. She was right in doing so, and it sparked his interest in learning to invest and become a businessman.

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He uses his mother’s knowledge in business

During his childhood, Kevin O’Leary’s mother taught him a very valuable lesson. She taught him that you always invest one third of your money and that you only spend the dividends while you always protect your principal balance. He grew up learning to do that, and he did it when he became an adult with his own money. Now that he is good at doing that, he uses the same method in his own business ventures. He taught all of his employees to do the same when they began their business, and much of that is what helped him to become the success he was today.

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His first job inspired him to become his own boss

When he was a high school student, Kevin O’Leary got his first job at an ice cream parlor. This job is one that enabled him to become the man he is today. It taught him more than anything he ever did growing up, even though he was employed for only two days – if that. When his boss informed him that he needed to get down on his hands and knees and scrape the gum off the floor in the building, he said no. He felt he could do it without actually getting on the floor. His boss fired him on the spot and he felt ashamed and horrified that one person could have so much power. He vowed then that he would work for himself and never treat anyone like that.

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His stepfather talked him out of photography

Upon graduating from high school, Kevin O’Leary was still pursuing his dream of becoming a photographer. It was what he loved more than anything, but his stepfather had another idea in mind. He told O’Leary that while he was a good photographer, only a very select few ever become famous or good enough to really support themselves and their dreams. He could take on a second job to support his dream, but he felt that was a waste of his talents and time and decided to go into business for himself in a different light. It was a lecture that paid off more than he could have ever imagined.

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He owns four homes

Kevin O’Leary is a man who likes to travel and he likes to be comfortable. He has chosen four places across the world where he likes to spend the vast majority of his time for either personal reasons or work obligations, and he has purchased a home in each of those locations. He currently has four homes as of 2016. One is on Lake Joseph in Ontario, one in Boston, one in Toronto and one in Geneva. Each one is close to an office or a location he finds important. The home in Ontario is a vacation home. He and his wife and kids spend weekends here together.

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He loves rare pens

Everyone has their ‘thing’ that makes them happier than any other. For Kevin O’Leary, that thing is finding rare pens. These are not just any pens that do just anything. They are the kind of pens that are so rare you cannot find them anywhere else in the world in any circumstance. He has many of them, to the point that his collection as of 2016 includes more rare pens from across the globe than many other collectors in the world. He continues to find them in auctions, estate sales and through other means whenever he can.

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He still takes pictures

When you have a love of something such as Kevin O’Leary’s love of photography, you don’t simply get rid of things and call it a day. He still loves to take photos and makes it a hobby of his to get better. It’s not something he can do full-time, of course, but it’s something he does part time when he has the time. He has many vintage cameras and allows himself to spend some time as often as he can taking photos and enjoying his first and real love in life. He credits his business partner for being able to handle their business so efficiently and so well that he has the time and resources to do just that.

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Written by Tiffany Raiford

Tiffany Raiford is a lifelong Floridian, wife to my high school sweetheart and mother of four littles (two girls and boy/girl twins...no, they are not identical and yes, I'm sure). My kids love to whine, so I love to wine. My loves include nap time, bed time, date night, travel and evenings and weekends when my husband is home because he handles all diaper changes.

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