NYBF: Why a book? What made you decide to take pen to paper, or word processor to blank screen?
VR: Well, Iíve been training people for the past 13 years under private contract for corporations about sales and sales managment. And what I found out was that I could teach people all the sales techniques and strategies that there are, and no matter how good the training is, many of these people -- most of the people -- would wind up self-destructing anyway. They knew about sales techniques, but they still werenít successful, so what the hell was the point? And thatís when I realized I had to create a first step to my training, which was a success training. Because they needed the right basis upon which the sales training could take effect.
NYBF: Is this the business that led you to financial success, as you allude to in the book?
VR: Yes. Itís the first company I had a contract with, yes. Itís a public company.
NYBF: You had done a variety of things before entering the field.
VR: Yeah. I have an accounting degree. Worked on Wall Street for five years as an accountant, realized I hated it. I was the first person on either side of the family to ever go to college. My parents wanted me to become a professional, an accountant, a lawyer, a doctor. But we didnít have the money for schools to be a lawyer or a doctor, so I became an accountant, found out that I hated it. But I always had this entrepreneurial spirit in me, and I wound up going into business with my father and then separately opening my own businesses.
I wound up with three stores in New York doing really well in the close-out business. I donít know if you know what the close-out business is -- job lots, odd lots, etc. -- and thatís when I made a lot of money, but I made a lot of money from people, not for people. So I didnít make it in the right way, and as a result, the money was actually a curse, as opposed to a blessing. And I wound up becoming addicted to drugs. It destroyed my business in the process. Almost destroyed my family, my marriage. I have five children. I wound up having to put myself into a drug rehab because I knew there was only one other option, which was suicide. Which I thought about many times.
It took my about three years to graduate that. When I came out, I worked in the construction business as a laborer for a while just to find out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was a real easy job, it was physical. I didnít have to think about anything. I could spend my time thinking while I worked, because I had to support my family. Because in order for me to go into the rehab, my family had to go on welfare. And we owed over $100,000, closer to $200,000, which was primarily sales tax and things you canít escape. And then after that, I figured, "Well, let me try sales," because I was really good on selling people that I wasnít addicted and all these other things. I didnít know what sales was about, but I knew there was a lot of money in it, so I joined a sales organization from an ad in the NY Times. I was selling insurance. And in about a year and a half, because of the personal growth I had gone through in recovery, I became one step below the president.
NYBF: Has there been a turning point in your growth?
VR: Well, Iím a great admirer of Napoleon Hill. I think his work with Landmark and many public speakers and writers today simply do a takeoff of his work. Thereís been very little innovative stuff since him. Maybe Deepak Chopra, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People."
NYBF: Have you extensively studied philosophy beyond the people you cited?
VR: Well, I talk about in the book my meteoric rise in a year and a half in which I gained financial independence, because if you know how insurance works, itís a residual income type of situation. The company asked me if I would train their people. So I had to document what I did. So I order to do that, I started reading all these books. I mean, I have a vast library. Iíve read well over 100 books. I have more than 50 tapes sets. I wanted to document what I had done to achieve that and I didnít find it in all the sales and marketing books and tapes that were available, so I started looking in other fields, like spirituality, philosophy, science, looking for the answers. And thatís where I came up with all the material for my success training, which is what the book reflects. And a lot of people had asked me over the years, to get back to your original question, "Is this in a book someplace? So that I can refer back to it and give it to my brother, and blah, blah, blah." And because of my self-image, I never saw myself as a writer. I never got a good mark in English in school. In fact, I even had a teacher tell me, "Donít ever write anything for anybody." But I met Deepak Chopra at a conference in 1995 and he took about 15 minutes of personal time with me. Very nice of him. Even though there were 1000 people around him. And ultimately, he looked me dead in the eye and said, "Vinny, write a book." The insight that I gained into financial independence is in achieving your dreams. Itís becoming successful. I know that as a result of my personal growth, nobody is given an insight for themselves alone. Thereís a responsibility that goes along with it, not only to use it to better your own family and achieve your own dreams, but to help other people do the same. And Iím very conscious of that responsibility that goes along with that insight.
NYBF: Your rules can be used by any human being. Is there any message that the creative community should focus on to glean from your book? Anything particularly apt?
VR: Yeah, I believe there is. One common thread that runs through everything -- it doesnít matter what field youíre in -- everyone looks for success on the outside. And, you know, a lot of people tell you itís about who you know and being in the right place at the right time and all these other things. But the reality is that success happens on the inside first. And then it materializes on the outside. So if you want to be a success, you first have to be a successful person. And thatís why even though you see some people like these sports figures or even some people in the Hollywood business, theyíre in the right place at the right time. They get these acting roles or positions on these professional teams, but because theyíre not successful people, they wind up self-destructing. So it was all for naught. And now itís even worse, because you had it and you lost it. So I think that all exterior success comes from interior success and thereís very few people out there telling you that.
NYBF: Can you see who might embrace your message or who will turn off to it?
VR: Youíve got to remember, 93% of people donít achieve financial independence in the greatest country in the world in which to be able to do that. So Iím always stemming a heavy tide. Thereís no doubt about it. And I always get people that look at me like Iíve got two heads. But thatís okay. Iím giving them information they donít know and what value am I to them if I give them information they already do know.
NYBF: Do you have a next book in mind?
VR: Yes. The spirituality of sales. This was the first step in a training process primarily focused on sales. And then the third one would be the spirituality of sales management. I donít know if those are the titles theyíll end up with.