“I’m always good, never sick, always ready to do things.” Harry Edelson
I have read a number of the business and self-help books from the most insightful authors helping guide readers to achieve the best possible results in life. From timeless classics like Think and Grow Rich and Norman Vincent Peale books, to Tony Robbins books and Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People; all of these groundbreaking inspiring reads have aspects, that if incorporated into our lives, have unique and special guidance and insights.
But Harry Edelson, also known as Happy Harry, is cut from a different cloth. Edelson is considered by many a legend in both the technology and financial industries. In the 1970’s Harry was the first wall street analyst to combine coverage of computers, software and telecommunications. He participated in the birth of the internet as the Head of Marketing and Sales of the two leading data terminal companies serving Darpanet, progenitor of the internet. Edelson is the Founder and President at the China Investment Group, LLC, and propelled the first internet company in China. Throughout his career, Harry has been known for his energy and outsized results; partly due to the highly honed skills that Harry developed in mnemonics, speed-reading and speed math. The Edelson Technology Partner funds were the first venture capital investor in eleven early stage companies that grew to have market capitalizations of more than $1 billion and up to $100 billion.
In his book, Positivity, Edelson offers his tried and true methods that he and his family have used to maximum effect. Some people have gotten rich off books on how to get rich, Harry has gotten rich and gives insights and tips on how you can too. From tips on how to be smarter through speed reading, mnemonic devices, and math tips to common sense insights on how to be more prosperous—Positivity is both thought provoking and pragmatic. But most importantly what Harry offers are insights into how to live a truly happy and healthy life. His book Positivity is unlike any book I have ever read. Yes, insightful, but what truly is a game changer is its simple yet profound insights embracing the incredible gift of life. Whether it be everyday chores, the stock market, or putting together a multimillion dollar deal, Harry helps us better realize that life is between the ears, and is a truly a state of mind.
Here is my unfiltered interview that occurred in person on 6/8/17 and on the phone on 6/28/17. The AMM team is happy to have Happy Harry on board. And to our audience; we hope you enjoy these incredible insights from a man who has never been sick and has been happy every single day of his life. Because there was such a wide breath of interview subject matters AMM will break it into 3 parts. Below is part one of my interview with Harry Edelson.
Michael Reiss: How are you Harry?
Harry Edelson: I’m always good, never sick, always ready to do things.
MR: Is that the underlying message of your book Positivity?
HE: Just being happy and positive is a great message that everyone can embrace. I talk to the security people at buildings all over the city when I enter a building. I just say a few words that seem to resonate. I say I’m happy every day and that I’ve never been sick. I say that every day is great, and then when I leave two hours later from a conference in the building they remember me and say, “hey, happy everyday!” It happens to me every building I go into. I’m spreading the word of being happy. And in my company, yes, I’ve never had a bad day. Every day is great. I always have a positive message, let’s go get them basically. Let’s just do a job and get it done as quickly as possible and it happens almost every day. In fact I just sent out a message today from an old cartoon. “I’ve met the enemy and it is us.” I’ve used that expression to say if this thing is delayed or we don’t get the deal done on time, it’s caused by us. I’m very much addicted to doing things in a timely way. But it has to be done in a positive and timely way. For example, you can’t take a company public when no one’s around during the holidays or in the summer.
MR: Do you use positivity while you’re negotiating a deal?
HE: Sure, I just negotiated a minor transaction yesterday. An intermediary offered to raise money for one of my companies, so I had to negotiate a fee. It is always best to initiate a fee or price and not let the other side do the initiation. I suggested a 2% fee, not 5% or 7%. They responded that they have to share the fee with others. I replied, send me an email about why you need more than 2%. He has a partner, so I said, fine, if you raise money for my company at a higher price, you will receive 3%. He feels good because his fee increased 50%, I feel good because it would raise money at a higher price than initially discussed, but, the point is I started with 2% not 5% or 7%.
MR: Do you have any specific tactic Harry when you’re dealing with a negative person that isn’t positive. That you can’t sway to be positive. Is there a point that you know when it’s going south?
HE: Difficult transactions are part of doing business. Nothing in a transaction bothers me. Dealing with employees can be difficult, but has to be done, even if performance is not good. “One Bad Apple spoils the whole barrel,” so eliminating poor employees quickly is a necessity. If I make a bad decision and hire someone who is not up to snuff, I fire that employee within 2 or 3 weeks. I always give new employees 2 easy tasks that they should handle easily. The tasks should be done with great ease because of their backgrounds. First a give with no deadline, then I give a task with a quick deadline. If they fail either of these tasks, I tell them it is best for them if they leave on favorable terms and find another job. It is best for them and best for me. I may even help them find another job. I am friends with many of the people that had to let go.
MR: Tell us about speed-reading, speed math and memory techniques that you discuss in your book.
HE: Everyone can be a lot smarter if they just learn a few tricks that are easy to do If you took a course in speed reading, speed math or mnemonics you would be a lot smarter and more efficient. These courses are available on the internet or in night schools. For example, having taken a course in speed-reading, I read everything the day received. I have no backlog so therefore no stress. Everyone can become smarter no matter how smart they are currently. The sub-title of my book, Positivity, is How To be Smarter, Happier, Healthier and More Prosperous, regardless of your starting point. Every single person can improve their lives by taking courses in person or on the internet.
MR: How do you allocate your time and prioritize when you’re involved in so many different things?
HE: First of all I’m fortunate enough to have time for everything. I don’t want the day to be longer, because I have skills that allow me to do things faster. Basically, I can do the work of four men and a child. But you do have to allocate time, because certain things have to be done at certain times. I am a believer in Parkinson’s Law. If I’m going to give a speech, I do not need time to prepare, I just give the speech because I follow Parkinson’s Law. Some things have to be done immediately, if you have a crisis or a meeting you have to be prepared so there are things you have to prioritize. But there is time for everything. If I have a board meeting coming up, I look over the 50 pages sent to me just before the board meeting. My secretary often says you have to do this or that, I say don’t worry I’ll do it in a timely fashion. I’m arranging the time in my head.
MR: What advice would you give parents to teach them to have a more positive outlook in this day and age were there surrounded by so much negativity in the media and other areas?
HE: Whenever your child is negative about anything such as I don’t want to go to school tomorrow or I’m not good at math. You have to modify their attitude and the way to do it is by helping them yourself, or hiring a coach who will improve their attitude. For example, if you help them, or get them a coach in math, then they will view math more positively. The more they know about a subject the more comfortable they will feel. I give a lot of public speeches so I taught my three children how to make presentations. My wife and I would give them a subject and with no preparation they would have to talk about a pencil or whatever subject we offered. Criticisms of their presentation by siblings or parents were such things as “oh, while talking don’t shuffle your feet, you kept covering your mouth in the middle of a sentence, you didn’t smile or give any indication that you’re having a good time.” You want to smile when giving a speech. All these things will help later on in life you want to teach your children to be good and kind and considerate there’s a lot of things to teach, but certainly teach them to be positive is a great thing. Whatever you or children do, a positive attitude is good for everyone.
MR: What’s a favorite movie and book?
HE: I like Fargo and La La Land. Mostly I read non-fiction books especially biographies. I like old books such as Parkinson’s Law written in 1952. I like a book with humor but that still has a huge message. Serious books with a bit of humor. I read biographies and I read a lot of books by lawyers because I like cases. Parkinson’s Law is based on the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
MR: What’s on your bucket list?
HE: Haha, I don’t have a bucket list. Everyday is a good day. I’ve been to 40 countries and to China well over 100 times. Whether I’m in my living room, traveling, working, or staying at home reading a good book, everyday is a good day. The idea of a bucket list is not ever on my mind, Michael.
AMM recommends we all practice Positivity by visiting: www.edelsontech.com/Positivity.html
Part 2 of AMM Insights on Positivity with Harry Edelson coming soon.