December 14th, 2005 17:49 EST
"To work magic is to weave the unseen forces into form; to soar beyond sight; to explore the uncharted dream realm of the hidden reality". -- Harry Houdini. (1874-1926)
A Magical Beginning
From an early age, John A. Palumbo, 45 has been soaring with the eagles and shooting for the stars. Mr. Palumbo was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the oldest of four children. His father, Leonard, a modest homebuilder and mother, Joann, a dedicated homemaker raised the family the best they could under conspicuously average conditions. As Mr. Palumbo described it in a2001 interview with Earl Daniels which appeared in the Jacksonville Times Union.
"I did not come from a wealthy family, but we were not poor either. My father insisted on raising us by enforcing the values that come from an Old Italian heritage. As a result my father had the typical visions of me becoming a doctor or an architect," Mr. Palumbo said.
"At an early age, I was fascinated by magic. I would save my money and buy a trick, learn it, save some more money and buy another one. After a while I had enough tricks to put on a show and start charging admission," he said. It is clear that in a young Palumbo that the wheels of business had already started to turn. As a teenager, he worked at a magic shop in Birmingham, Alabama. "I learned a lot of my life's lessons from doing magic. Most of the money I earned at the magic shop, I used as spending money while I was in high school and college," he said.
Mr. Palumbo did not earn a college degree, but says he used the knowledge he obtained in college as a stepping stone into the real estate industry.
Over the last 20 years, Mr. Palumbo has participated in as well as orchestrated hundreds of successful business deals. His unorthodox and savvy style has landed him the rights to intellectual properties such as the Alex Haley estate, which includes assets such as Roots and the autobiography of Malcolm X and most recently heobtained the rights to the America's Dumbest Criminal's television series.
The Magic of Mentoring
After spending some time with Mr. Palumbo, it quickly becomes evident that the magic that this businessman possesses is not in the millions of dollars he is able to generate, but rather in the millions of people that he has the ability to motivate. "I learned early on, that everyone needs a mentor and a motivator, I have had many along the way," he said.
In the 1980's, Mr. Palumbo met Florida Business tycoon, Ashley F. Ward, CEO of Ashley F. Ward Corporation. "It was Mr. Ward who first showed confidence in me and allowed me to tack on his name to one of my first major business deals, in the end the deal went through and I did not need his money, but I still sent him a check for $15,000. One of the main lessons, I learned from this is the value of my word," Mr. Palumbo said.
Ward, who is now retired, said "I was surprised to receive the check, despite having not contributed the upfront money, legally he didn't have to give me a penny, but I can see why he did. It's because I would have done the same thing, I guess, it just seemed right to him."
Gene Lambert, 50, a Tampa Florida businessman says he has known Palumbo for more then 30 years and that he has had a huge impact on his success as well as his life. "John is the most knowledge driven person I know, that is what makes him so successful at what he does," said Lambert.
Palumbo and Lambert met in the late 1970's while both working at competing clothing stores at the same mall in Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Palumbo was fired because his employer felt he could not sell. As a result, Lambert tried to recruit Palumbo to come and work with him. Palumbo's response was no thank you; he felt it was time to switch gears and leave the clothing industry behind and instead took a job selling condos. At which point he began to soar quickly to the top of the Real Estate industry. Once ascending to the top, he then recruited Lambert to work with him selling condos and then started showing him the ropes. The two of them then became colleagues and have remained longtime friends.
"Some of the best advice that John gave me was that I should start listening to as many motivational tapes as I could get my hands on, he has been my mentor for many years," said Lambert.
Another long time friend, who has been touched by Palumbo's charisma and drive, is Mike Friday, 43, Real Estate Developer in Huntsville, Alabama. He said Mr. Palumbo has also been a major influence and mentor to him over the past 20 years.
"John is a dynamic and magnetic person, when you are around him you always have a good time as well as learning something new, he just seems to pull you in," said Friday.
Palumbo and Friday met at a Real Estate training conference in Birmingham, Alabama where Palumbo was speaking. At the time, when he first met Palumbo, Friday stated that he was a ship without a rudder. Ever since that conference, he said that Palumbo has became his rudder.
I believe one of the most important things that I have learned from John is to invest in yourself," said Friday.
Mr. Palumbo is continuously honing his business skills by listening to literally thousands of success stories and motivational speakers on audio cassette and in person while sharing his experiences and extensive knowledge with others. He has built an impressive personal library consisting of a little over 7000 books and audio books. He clearly practices what he preaches when it comes to investing in one's self.
"People ask me all the time if they can borrow my cassettes and books, however I rarely loan them out. It is not that I am stingy or worried about not getting them back, but rather I believe that you can get more out of these programs by spending your hard earned dollar to obtain them. I think that this gives you more of a personal relationship with the programs," he said.
Mr. Palumbo appears on numerous television and radios programs, where he continuously shares his expertise on creative investing through the purchases of unusual investments such as viaticals, divorce liens, criminal restitutions, and life estates are just a few of his specialties as well as offering the viewing and listening audiences the opportunity to e-mail him at john (at) investmentgambler (dot) com for free investment strategies.
The Magic of Mentoring at Home
With all of his business ventures and speaking obligations Mr. Palumbo says his most important venture is installing his savvy style and values within his 13 year old daughter. He says when spending quality time with her, he tries to make sure she realizes the value of a dollar and the importance of the assimilation of numbers, she even gets her allowance by check. "Sometimes she does not always get to the bank for days, but this makes her more responsible in learning how to manage her own money", he said.
"I do not want her to spend frivolously, I want her to grow up with good values and know how to balance a check book and take good care of a family some day," said Mr. Palumbo.
A friend once asked his daughter, if her daddy was rich. She replied by saying, "my daddy is wealthy with love."
As Palumbo continues to rise to the top of his field, he is more then willing to sprinkle a little magic and bring others along for the ride. Just be ready to hang on and soar to the top.