"Get the PHD Attitude"

Excerpted from "Success is a Choice" © 1997 by Rick Pitino

When I was helping Jamal Mashburn, one of my top players, find someone to manage his money a couple of years back, I was looking for someone who was conservative, who had alot of experience, and who had withstood tough times. My research took me to a man named Mario Gabelli, who handles millions of dollars in corporate investments and endowments.

"Mario gave me a tour of his company in Rye, New York; he must have had between seventy-five and one hundred employees in the back room all handling various accounts. I asked him what he looks for in hiring people, how he created his employee base. Was it a Wharton diploma? Harvard Business School? What was it?

"I hire PHDs," he said

"I don't understand," I said. "I would think in your business you would hire people with expertise in managing money, not PHDs."

"Not in an academic sense," he said. "I'm looking for poor, hungry and driven people."

I've never forgotten Mario's phrase, and now I, too, look for people who are poor, hungry, and driven.

Now I'm not talking about people being poor economically. I'm talking about being poor in terms of knowledge, about people who are constantly searching to learn more, to find more wisdom. And hungry in this context refers to those with a tremendous desire to succeed, people who won't ever be satisfied with an ordinary level of accomplishment. And driven people are the ones who set ambitious goals and then pursue them with real ferocity."