‘That was me, the guy begging money for a bottle of wine and a fifty-cent bed in a flophouse. I was thirty years away from being named an Officer of the Order of Canada, twenty years away from marriage and fatherhood, ten years away from earning my first million dollars, and a week away from deciding that I must change or die.”Having watched the interview on The Hour, I knew that O’Dea’s story was intense, but I wasn’t totally prepared for just how dark parts of his story really was. The cliche term “rags to riches” is not so cliche in this story; O’Dea really went from wearing rags and living on the street to the life of the elite.
But there’s more to this story than just his redemption and survival. He also demonstrates that if you have a good idea and drive, you can make almost anything a success. He’s not just the co-founder of coffee giant Second Cup; he’s also the founder of Proshred, he helped structure the current code of conduct for Canada’s Olympic Athletes and Coaches, he co-founded Street Kinds International, a foundation aimed at bettering the lives of kids on the street around the world, he founded the international fundraiser “The Night of the Thousand Dinners” to help raise money to clear landmines... and the accolades and achievements go on and on.
I know I recommend every book I write about in this weekly post, but I put this book at the top of my “books everyone needs to read” list. It's an amazing read.
Make sure you check out Frank O’Dea’s October 2007 interview with George on The Hour.