Sometimes the best advice is the advice that’s been handed down from others. Often coming from decades of trial-and-error, life experience and more, the lessons that carry the best advice are not only worthwhile, but they stand the test of time. Marc Demetriou, a nationally recognized mortgage banker and top-rated speaker, offers us a chance to learn about the best advice for success in his new book, Lessons From My Grandfather: Wisdom for Success in Business and Life. 

Demetriou’s grandfather, Haralambos Georgia Pistis, or “Charlie,” left his country of Cyprus at the age of 16 and immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island in November, 1929. He had nothing with him but a willingness to succeed, courage, and his wit – and on his own terms, Charlie succeeded and found not only happiness in his life, but also financial security. BookTrib got to chat with Demetriou about life lessons, family advice, and finding security in life and finance.


BookTrib: This book is based on your grandfather who left his home country of Cyprus at 16. Can you give our readers a little bit of background on his early days here and why you wanted to tell his story?

Marc Demetriou: He left home at 16 and ultimately made his way to Ellis Island at 20. My Grandfather was an amazing person, mentor and best friend. Think about the courage it takes to leave your home and your family at such a young age, and to journey into unknown lands in search of a better life. In addition to that, I wanted to tell his story because of the person that he was. He pushed ahead in life and opportunities developed for him because of the qualities he possessed. He learned so much and was surrounded by successful people, and was then able to share his wisdom and knowledge with me. Now I want to share this gift with the world. People could learn so much from Charlie’s experiences, in addition to being inspired to be the best mentor they can.

BookTrib: Your grandfather gave you 15 principles about life. Tell us what those are, how you’ve applied those lessons to your own business?

MD:  In no specific order, here are the 15 basic lessons below that my Grandfather taught me, but there is still so much more. These lessons have been woven into what makes me who I am and have allowed me to be successful in business and life. These are universal, timeless lessons and the core ingredients needed that have always and will always apply to anyone that wants to lead their very best life:

  • Attitude is everything.
  • Take the mighty risks.
  • Be resilient, persevere and never give up on yourself.
  • Everyone you pass in life has something to teach you.
  • No one ever does it alone.
  • Never stop moving in the direction of your dreams.
  • Go the extra mile.
  • Remain humble always.
  • Look for what others don’t see.
  • Be awake and alive to the suffering of others
  • To work is to survive, and that is not enough.
  • Be thankful for what you have.
  • There are no limits and no ends.
  • Believe in yourself always.
  • Be joyful!

BookTrib: Lessons from My Grandfather is more than just a book about how to build financial wealth, there is a really inspirational story here. As a writer, how did you balance what reads like a memoir but retains some of the same life-coaching aspects we find in the self-help genre?

MD: Fortunately, Charlie was my grandfather, best friend and mentor. So with that, I had the ability to write this book as a grandson, friend and student. I wanted to give everyone a real-life inspirational, motivational and success-based book, but also share my amazing grandfather in only the way that I knew him. Additionally, I was able to infuse not only what I learned from my Grandfather, but the knowledge I personally acquired over the last 27 years in the “Business World.” I wanted to make sure I wrote a complete book that everyone would truly enjoy and learn from no matter what their age.

BookTrib: What is the single greatest lesson you learned from your grandfather that you always carry with you?

MD: It is very hard to just pick one because there are so many great lessons. But if I have to select one it would be “Attitude is everything.” It’s who you are, it’s how you act, it’s how others see you, it determines whether others want to be around you or not, it’s how you take on life, it’s what sets you a apart, and it can and will increase your level of success or potentially set you on a path to failure. Simply put, your attitude is everything!

BookTrib: Which of these lessons will you pass on to your own grandchildren someday?

MD: All of them and more. These 15 lessons are just the cornerstone of what makes someone an exceptional human being, but there is still a lot more to know and learn. ‘Lessons from my Grandfather’ addresses a lot of it, but as a lifelong student of learning, there will always be more to learn and therefore more to teach. I always say, “Life is for the living.” So every day, we all have the opportunity to change, grow, learn, adapt, overcome, and persevere, and to drive toward our goals and dreams. Life is hard and there will always be setbacks, hardship, disappointments and untimely deaths. But it is how we learn to react and handle each of these situations which will truly determine happiness in life. The last thing I will say about lessons to pass down is that “Success is a Choice.” Life is made up of choices all day long and these choices are what determine the path we all take and ultimately the outcome of our life.

Lessons From My Grandfather: Wisdom for Success in Business and Life is now available for purchase. 


Marc Demetriou is a top-rated speaker at accounting and attorney seminars as well as at other financial services firms and mortgage conferences throughout the greater New York City area and beyond. As an authority on real estate and finance, Marc has been featured in articles in The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Reuters, The National Herald, Suburban Trends, Meadowlands USA Magazine, Top Agent Magazine, and The National Mortgage Professional Magazine. His firm, Residential Home Funding Corp., is listed and ranked in the top 1 percent of loan organizations in the country by Scotsman’s Guide, Organization News, Mortgage Executive Magazine and The National Mortgage Professional Magazine.

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