Michael’s life has not been a straight-line to success. Whether he is selling clothing, operating a cookie business or overcoming an injury to become a record-breaking cyclist, running for public office, revitalizing Georgia’s film industry, or endowing one of the country’s most prominent business schools, he has never lost his entrepreneurial drive to create new opportunities for himself and others.
When young people ask him what they can do to emulate his success, he likes to share a story from his own past. At the age of 23, Michael was on a flight home to Detroit seated next to a successful businessman who specialized in mergers and acquisitions. Toward the end of the flight, Michael asked him if he had any advice that he might share.
“He looked at me and said ‘it’s all about taking risks. The younger you are, the easier it is. If you wait too long, life gets complicated and risks become scarier. Don’t be afraid to take risks, and don’t be afraid to fail.’
“You have to recognize that failure and success run hand and hand,” Michael adds. “There’s more to learn from things that go wrong than from things that go right.”
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