If you’re one of the 7-8 million people who watch Pawn Stars every week, you’ve probably gaped in awe at Rick Harrison’s vast supply of knowledge. You show him anything, and he’ll rattle off facts about it like he’s known it all his life. Granted, most of this is prepped; people aren’t just walking in off the street with Abraham Lincoln’s top hat. There is a level of production going on with the casting and research, but even with a bit of help it’s clear that Rick Harrison is a pretty sharp dude.
He’s also a high school drop-out.
Harrison has written a book, License to Pawn, that details the fascinating history of his family and their World Famous Las Vegas Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. One of the first we learn about Rick in the book is that he dropped out of high school in the 10th grade, and that he has an insatiable love of books and thirst for knowledge. If only more high school graduates had that last bit.
Rick first fell in love with books when he was eight years old, and began suffering horrific grand mal epileptic seizures. He feared for his life, and after he had one he’s been laid up in bed for about ten days. During that time, he feasted on books. His first love was a series called The Great Brain, about a young boy who went on adventures based on his schemes to make lots of money, which foreshadowed Harrison’s life trajectory.
“I have a very analytical, mathematical, calculating mind. I know I’m not supposed to believe in things like karma. But certain things have happened in my life that can’t be explained by simple coincidence. How else can you explain the sequence of events and circumstances that led to me turning those bedridden hours–which should have been the worst hours of my life–into something that would provide a foundation for a life of curiosity and fun?
That’s what happened. That’s how profound the discovery of books was in my life. I didn’t like school, but I loved books.”
We don’t condone in any way dropping out of high school, it usually causes more trouble than good, but nursing a good, healthy adoration for learning and adventure would serve anyone well.