The Story of Jeff Pearce, the Millionaire Who Could not Read or Write

The Story of Jeff Pearce, the Millionaire Who Could not Read or Write

He became a millionaire without knowing how to read or write – Jeff Pearce

The protagonist of this story is Jeff Pearce, a successful British businessman who was born in the suburbs of Liverpool in 1953 and had to face great difficulties from a very young age.


At the age of 14, he was forced to drop out of school because he could not learn to read or write. 15 years later he was already one of the richest people in his city … How did he do it?


Jeff lived together with his parents and with his four siblings. His father was an alcoholic and had a loose attitude toward life, which is why his mother had to make enormous efforts to support the family. She worked as a sales clerk in a retail market but did not always make enough money, being forced to steal bread to feed her children and her husband.


Faced with the precarious financial situation of his family, Jeff had to learn to earn a living when he was just a child. His mother instructed him to go door to door asking the rich to give him clothes they no longer wore, to later go to the markets of Liverpool and northeast England to sell them.

And if his financial and family situation was difficult, he was not doing much better at school …


Jeff suffered from dyslexia, so reading and writing were extremely difficult activities for him. At that time, there was a lot of ignorance and ignorance about this disorder, and his teacher believed that the boy only wanted to be funny by reading the words backward, so she punished him by putting a humiliating hat on him and leaving him sitting for hours in a corner staring at Wall.

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Due to the academic difficulties and teasing that his dyslexia brought him, he had to drop out of school at the age of 14. His teacher, disappointed in Jeff’s attitude, told him:


“Nothing will ever work out for you. Teaching you was a waste of time, you are a waste. “


According to Jeff himself in an interview for the BBC, these words were devastating for him and accompanied him for the rest of his life, making him feel like a fraud.

If you can’t get a job, go to work

Away from school, he continued his activities as a merchant to earn some money.

At 17, thinking that no one would employ someone who could not even write their own name, he decided to start his first business.

He moved from the market stalls and established his own retail store, thus starting his career as an entrepreneur.


Later, she ventured into the garment industry through two different business concepts: Girls Talk, a fast-fashion retail phenomenon with stores in Liverpool and Chester; and Tickled Pink, a wholesale business that distributed its fashion designs in the country’s large boutique chains.


His businesses quickly prospered, and by his 30th birthday, he had already amassed a fortune of over £ 1 million.


Double life: between success and frustration

In contrast to his success in business, Jeff led a life filled with frustration due to his illiteracy. The words of his teacher echoed in his head all the time and he felt that he did not deserve all that he had achieved.

He was ashamed of not being able to read or write, so he used various tricks to hide his secret.

His wife Gina would accompany him to meetings and read forms and contracts saying: “don’t worry about this … you guys keep talking while I do it.” And he would pass them on to Jeff just to sign.

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In the same way, Gina was his support in social gatherings and dinners with friends, helping him choose wines and dishes from the menu to avoid exposing that he could not read.

Despite his wife’s best efforts, one night Jeff’s greatest fear would come true …

His daughters asked him to read them a story before falling asleep. He tried to make up the story from the illustrations in the book, but one of them noticed and told him not to be silly, that he couldn’t read.


He insisted that he did know, but the girl had unmasked him.

She said good night, went downstairs, and began to cry.


“I would have given all my riches at that time to be able to read a story to my girls ,” Jeff said.


This is how the life of this businessman passed: on the one hand, he enjoyed success, luxury, and wealth; but on the other hand, he felt like a failure because of his illiteracy.

However, in the year 1992, life would put his tenacity to the test and everything would change …

A new beginning

The economic downturn was hitting hard and Pearce lost everything overnight. He, his wife, and his daughters had to leave the beautiful home they lived in and give up the luxuries they had enjoyed for years.

Broken and drowned in debt, he sat on the bed on the verge of suicide and thought that this was his punishment for being a fraud and having built his wealth without deserving it.


Despite everything, he regained his strength and stood up again. He decided to start from scratch in the markets where his story began and managed to recover. 10 years later, his business empire was stronger than ever, owning huge warehouses all over Liverpool.


In 2002 he founded a new company: “Jeff’s of Bold Street”, an independent premium store specializing in women’s clothing. The store was a complete success from the first moment, reaching a turnover of more than £ 40,000 per week and setting a sales record during its first year of commercialization.

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Thanks to his business success, he received the Independent Distributor of the Year award at the Drapers Awards, a recognition that filled him with pride and gave him the strength to open up to his family. After receiving the award, in the taxi back to the hotel where they were staying, Jeff confessed to his daughters that he could not read or write. It was a very emotional and soothing confession that allowed her to lift a weight off her shoulders.

Example of personal improvement

At 53 years of age, she decided to face her fear of writing and overcome her dyslexia. With great effort and dedication, he finally learned to read and write, proving to himself that he was capable of achieving anything he set his mind to.


After retiring from business, this successful businessman began a new stage in his life visiting schools, colleges, and universities to carry a message of improvement and inspire future generations. In addition, he published his own book: “A Pocketful of Holes and Dreams (a pocket full of hopes and dreams)”, in which he shares the story of his life and how he managed to build his fortune, not once, but twice.


As for his business success, Jeff attributes it mainly to two factors: the relentless determination he has put into each project he has undertaken and the lessons learned during his childhood in the markets of England with his mother.


Thus we conclude the inspiring story of Jeff Pearce, an entrepreneur who did not stop before the difficulties and challenges that life imposed on him, and who dared to face his greatest fears to build great wealth, both personal, family, and business, as well as financial.


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