Bernie Marcus is known today as the successful co-founder of one of the most recognizable companies in the country: Home Depot. He is an author with his book Kick Up Some Dust: Thinking Big, Giving Back, and Doing It Yourself. But his journey has been filled with obstacles and opportunities that brought him to this place. He overcame poverty, failures, setbacks, and antisemitism to become the successful business leader and philanthropist he is today. He worked with award winning biographer Catherine Lewis to tell his story and sat down with UrbanFaith contributor Maina Mwaura to share his wisdom. The full interview is above, more about the book is below.
The start of Home Depot sounds like the beginning of a bad joke: Two Jews and an Italian decide to build a new kind of hardware store… In 1978, Bernie Marcus’s livelihood depended on just such a scenario. Having been fired at the age of forty-nine, he teamed up with Arthur Blank and Ken Langone on a bold new endeavor. Their first day in business was so disastrous that the next morning, Marcus’s wife wouldn’t let him shave because she didn’t want a razor in his hands. But the last laugh would be theirs, as the business partners grew Home Depot into the world’s largest home improvement retailer, empowering millions of Americans to “do it yourself.”
The same energy that made Home Depot successful has helped Bernie give away more than $2 billion and pioneer a new model for philanthropy, transforming millions of lives. There is no single, winning formula for trying to make the world a better place, but Bernie shares what he’s learned—that the skills needed to build a Fortune 500 company are the same ones that can help cure cancer, treat veterans with PTSD, and transform autism treatment. And it doesn’t take a fortune to make a big difference in your community.
Kick Up Some Dust will inspire you to dream, build, and give—and, maybe, change the world.