"The thing I learned in all these different jobs was to try and study people, especially as a caddie," says Langone.
"When you're a caddie and you're carrying a guy's bag, it's amazing the number of people you caddie for that when they have a bad shot they don't blame you, and then there's some people that blame the caddie even though the caddie had nothing to do with a bad shot," says Langone.
"And so I learned early on to try to size people up, look at their mannerisms, listen to the way they talk. And it was very, very helpful to me in later years when much of what I was doing depended on my judgment in other people," Langone says.
In part, Langone has his mom to thank. She only reached the seventh grade herself, but wanted more for her son.
"We used to go to my grandparents' for lunch on Sunday afternoons," Langone recalls of his childhood. To get to Port Washington where they lived, his family would have to drive from their poor neighborhood through the rich part of town.
"We used to drive through a wealthy section called Roslyn Estates. And every Sunday when we drive through Roslyn estates, my mother almost instinctively, would say, 'Would you like to live here someday, Kenneth?' I said, 'Yes, mom, I would.' She said, 'Well, if you want to live here someday, you've got to work hard; you've got to get an education.'
"And I still think those two things hold sway," says Langone. You've got to "learn as much as you can and work like hell."
Indeed, Langone graduated from Bucknell University and earned an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business. Langone worked on Wall Street and as a financier and entrepreneur before he joined Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank and Pat Farrah to launch Home Depot.