If I Knew Then Advice on careers, finance, and life from Harvard Business School's Class of 1963

Perry R. Pero

Careers

Take chances. At 24, I moved to Chicago, where I had never been, and joined a company I previously was unaware of. It turned out to be a terrific move.

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Turning Points

Take chances. At 24, I moved to Chicago, where I had never been, and joined a company I previously was unaware of. It turned out to be a terrific move.

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Wealth

Many years ago, my father told me, “Never judge a man by the balance in his bank book, but by the quality of his life.”

Financial wealth is a small measure in the yardstick of success. The major portion is what you have done with your life — what you have done to make a difference, large or small.

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Leadership

The successful leaders I saw were genuine people with excellent communication skills, strategic vision, and the ability to motivate others. They were thoughtful and a good source of talent. They also had an egalitarian leadership style, a positive attitude and high energy.

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Life's Lessons

The most important lessons I learned were from my parents and teachers in my formative years, and during my five years as a paperboy and five years as a drugstore clerk: the importance of integrity, honesty, compassion, diligence, faith in God, and the Golden Rule. As my father told me, “Every dollar should be an honest one.”

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