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General News

John Catsimatidis Discusses with TNH His New Book- How Far Do You Want to Go?

NEW YORK – Greek-American billionaire entrepreneur John Catsimatidis, owner and CEO of the Red Apple Group, spoke with The National Herald about his new book ‘How Far Do You Want to Go? Lessons from a Common-Sense Billionaire.’ The native of Nisyros who immigrated to the United States at a young age with his family shared the inspiration for the book along with his thoughts on real estate development and the American Dream.

During his senior year at NYU, Catsimatidis dropped out to work in the grocery business full-time. By his 25th birthday, he was already a success with 10 Red Apple Supermarkets located along Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Now, four decades later the Red Apple Group has evolved into a diversified corporation that has holdings in the energy, aviation, retail, and real estate sectors and over 8,000 employees, approximately 2,000 located in New York City.

The book recounts Catsimatidis’ journey from his beginnings in the grocery business to entering the political arena, including a New York City mayoral campaign, and offers the insights and wisdom he has gained along the way.

TNH: What inspired you to write the book at this particular moment?

John Catsimatidis: I want to give back to this wonderful country that gave me so many great opportunities. And while my memories are still good, I decided to write them down for my kids and grandkids-to-come someday.

‘How Far Do You Want to Go? Lessons from a Common-Sense Billionaire’ by John Catsimatidis. Photo: Amazon

TNH: How long did the writing process take from idea to publication?

JC: A number of years.

TNH: As an entrepreneur, how do you evaluate opportunities?

JC: Be open to new markets and new industries, always be seeking the next opportunity. The right time to negotiate is when the other person needs the deal, and carefully assess risk versus reward on the particular opportunity. And take a realistic look at your time, energy and finance.

TNH: Where do you see the future of real estate development heading in New York City?

JC: Real estate development can only thrive when government gets out of the way and encourages real estate development. Rent regulations hamper residential development, and the climate of lawlessness discourage both residential and commercial development, along with unrealistic and mandatory regulations on green new energy in new buildings. We have to ask: who’s in charge – Socialism or Common Sense?

TNH: How has your Greek Heritage informed your work and your philanthropy?

JC: The Greek expression – ‘philotimo’ – do the right thing – for your family; never bring shame to your family.

TNH: What is your take on the American Dream today?

JC: America, because of its freedoms and capitalist system, will always be the ‘land of opportunity’. The quest becomes whether the policy makers damage the entrepreneurial spirit and drive that is essential to continue the American Dream. Where traditionally it’s been New York, now Texas, Florida, and the southern states, because of their low taxes, provide greater opportunity. We hope that the future will continue New York’s tradition of leading the way.

‘How Far Do You Want to Go? Lessons from a Common-Sense Billionaire’ by John Catsimatidis is available in bookstores and online.


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