One of the most important events in my life was my first success. I was a Boy Scout. I became what’s called aa Star Scout, moving up the ranks. And at that point, my scoutmaster said to me, ‘Len, you can become the first eagle scout in this troop.’
And at that time, it was a very serious challenge. Becoming an eagle scout was a real – a real thing. And I was living in the middle of Manhattan. I mean you don’t find animals, or woods, or trees. You find pigeons, sparrows, an occasional squirrel and a lotta rain.
So, I set out to achieve that goal, and I did become the first eagle scout in that troop. And having been able to achieve something which was essentially almost on the edge of bein’ out of reach – setting the goal, planning, executing and achieving – was a very important milestone for my sense of ability, capability and sort of a path to recognizing, yes, you can achieve what you want if you really go after it.
So, with that success behind me, I moved to school very, very effectively. I was lucky enough to go to the Bronx High School of Science, graduated there, became a lifeguard in the summer between high school and college, and I was all set to go to CCNY in the daytime for electrical engineering.
During that summer, my father took me down to visit a company that his cousin was running. It was an electronic company – photoelectric devices – and this gentleman offered me a job, and my father then urged me, coerced me, and almost insisted that I take that job. And instead of goin’ to day session, I would thereby go to evening session.