Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on January 17th, 2012

Today: Itzhak Perlman, who overcame a crushing disease to become one of the world’s greatest and most famous violinists.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1945, when he was little more than a toddler Itzhak fell in love with the sound of a violin when he listened to classical music on the radio. By the age of 3, he had taught himself to play using a toy violin but he was too little to attend the prestigious Shulamit Conservatory. His enormous talent however was obvious.

Then tragedy struck. At the age of just 4 Itzhak contracted one of the most dreaded diseases of that era: Polio. No-one knew how severe his limitations would be but his Polio rehabilitation was lengthy and painful and his legs were dead to him. Since then, to get around, he has depended upon metal braces that attach to his forearms or on a wheel chair. He occasionally also uses a motorized scooter.

But like U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt before him, Itzhak refused to let Polio stop him from realizing his dreams. Despite his severe physical limitations, he studied at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv and the Shulamit Conservancy.

At the age of 10, Itzhak gave his first recital and subsequently moved to New York City to study at the famed Juilliard School. His huge rise to public prominence began in 1958 when at 13 Itzhak played on two occasions on the Ed Sullivan Show, which was then one of America’s most popular television programs. At 18, he made his debut at Carnegie Hall and since then he has toured the world, dazzling audiences with his extraordinary talent. Itzhak is one of classical music’s biggest stars and his recordings are played across the globe.

In his personal life, Itzhak lives in New York City with his wife Toby, also a violinist. Among their five children, a son Rami is pursuing a career not in classical music like his parents but in rock ‘n’ roll as a guitarist and singer. Perhaps one day the Perlman name will be as associated with The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga as it is with Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.

Success Tip of the Week: Whatever your limitations, consider Itzhak Pearlman and what he has confronted and overcome and then apply your talents in pursuit of your dreams.

Editor’s Note: Along with Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Itzhak is actively involved in attempting to end Polio. To hear him play his magical violin and discuss the disease, please click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7MILNi8j6Q. One of his most famous recordings is the Academy Award winning theme from “Schindler’s List.” To listen to this haunting music please click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-j3VXMb8PE&feature=related

In the next KazanToday: A gardener who began with $700 and built one of the largest landscape firms in the world.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!
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