MISHAWAKA—More than 200 people, many of them age 20 to 30, lined up at Barnes & Noble in the U.P. Mall. And it was still a good 40 minutes before Dave Ramsey was to arrive Thursday.
Sitting in his touring bus a few minutes later, a gracious Ramsey seemed genuinely happy at the news, but not at all surprised.
“We see a lot of young people come out,” said Ramsey, who will be in Mesa, Ariz., today and will make additional stops in Fresno and Long Beach, Calif., Glendale, Ariz., Raleigh, N.C., Knoxville, Tenn., Oklahoma City and Midland, Texas, in the next seven days promoting his new book, “EntreLeadership.”
“I think they are refreshed by my bluntness, my kind of rock and roll attitude,” Ramsey said. “And so I’m just right there for ’em. They know what they’re getting.”
Even the demographics from his radio show indicate a listenership that is pretty young, Ramsey said.
They come for a perspective that is not all dollars and cents but common sense with a little something extra.
“They want to learn about how to operate a business right, a business that has soul, whether they’re in leadership in someone else’s business or starting their own small business idea,” Ramsey said. “And they’re attracted to doing it relationally rather than transactionally, which is really the core of what ‘EntreLeadership’ is about. That’s exciting for me.
“I think that spells a lot for the future as far as hope goes. The businesses in America that have lost their soul are the ones that started treating people like units of production instead of humans.”
Carter and Linda Morey, of Elkhart, were more of the middle-aged crowd that helped swell the gathering to well over 1,000 an hour later. They follow him, wanted to meet him and get their books, past and present, signed.
“He’s got a lot of good ideas to help people,” said Carter Morey. “I just like to read what he has to say. He’s a very interesting author.”
His wife, Linda, admitted she was amazed and excited at the large number of young people waiting in line behind them.
One of them was Notre Dame law student Laura Bird, 24, of Osceola.
Her mom got her turned on to tuning into Ramsey.
“Dave’s just about good, old-fashioned common sense,” Bird said. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, it still makes sense.”
His books have helped her and her husband, Tyler, talk about money and get on the same page as they work to make ends meet, she said.
It doesn’t hurt that Ramsey seems to have an enthusiasm of someone about half his age.
The 51-year-old Ramsey, who had just come off finishing his three-hour radio show from the studios of WSBT-AM (960) in Mishawaka, seemed more like a guy who had just concluded a restful tropical vacation just minutes before stepping off the bus and into Barnes & Noble.
The enthusiasm comes from the connection he makes with people, he said with a genuineness that showed why he connects.
“I was getting on the plane this morning in Chicago and the guy putting gas in the plane comes over and starts talking to me and he goes, ‘Man, I went through (Ramsey’s personal finance class) Financial Peace University and it saved my marriage. You changed my life,’” Ramsey said.