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Inspiration from Arthur M. Blank

Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes

Arthur M. Blank (1942–) is the co-founder of The Home Depot, which is the world’s largest home improvement retailer and is the second largest retailer in the United States.

Success is not something into which one is born. Arthur Blank was born in Queens, New York in 1942 and with his parents and brother shared a series of one-bedroom apartments.

Success is having entrepreneurial spirit. In his college years, Arthur launched his own landscaping company, laundry business, and even found time to babysit on the side.

Success is moving onward and upward. In 1978, Arthur Blank and Bernard Marcus (other co-founder of The Home Depot) were fired from the Handy Dan home improvement chain where they were working at the time. This was the event that led to their creation of The Home Depot.

Success is brainstorming. The idea for the Home Depot was mapped out on a napkin by Arthur and Bernie at their favorite coffee shop.

Success often means having to take a step backward in order to take a giant leap forward. When the first three Home Depot stores were opened in Atlanta in 1979, they lost nearly one million dollars.

Success is innovation. The Home Depot has been incredibly successful due to some of the innovations it has brought to the marketplace, such as warehouse-sized stores with large inventories, very low prices, and exceptional customer service provided by skilled professionals.

Success is making a difference. Blank believes in the importance of making a difference—professionally and personally. In addition to the company’s financial success, during his 23 years with The Home Depot the company donated more than $113 million to communities, and Home Depot associates provided hundreds of thousands of hours of personal volunteer time.

Success is keeping fit. Arthur is a strong believer in work-life balance; he still makes time daily for working out and remains an avid runner.

[Sources: http://www.homedepot.com, http://www.zeromillion.com, http://www.lemonadestories.com, http://www.cba.gsu.edu]

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 Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):

  • Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
  • Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
  • What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)
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    Year To Success
    Bo Bennett, PhD

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