Leonard Riggio

Leonard Riggio

Founder & Chairman

Barnes & Noble

New York, NY USA

If you try to leap too far ahead too fast, a sense of alienation can set in...Remember that you can always start small.


By Roadtrip Nation

Leonard Riggio


My road in life took a while to figure out.
I was born and raised in New York City.
After high school, I began attending night classes at New York University, where I majored in metallurgical engineering.
I was too poor to attend college full-time, so I took a day job as a clerk at New York University's campus bookstore—this is what initially sparked my interest in business and retail.
Feeling too confined and unable to make a difference at the NYU bookstore, I decided to drop out of college and use my savings to open up my own college bookstore: the Student Book Exchange.
The store ended up being a huge success and we were able to open up more campus bookstores throughout New York, eventually expanding onto other college campuses.
In 1971, I bought the struggling Barnes & Noble bookstore and began further expanding the company.
In 1986, I bought B. Dalton—a chain of 800 mall bookstores—and we began to explore the concept of turning our bookstores into superstores that served as multifunctional gathering places.
Since building Barnes & Noble into one of the biggest booksellers in the world, I’ve upheld a commitment to public service, serving on the boards of two dozen nonprofit organizations.
Keep following my journey


Founder & Chairman

I am a businessman and entrepreneur leading one of the largest chains of booksellers in the world.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Start small and build as you go. If you feel like you can do a better job than someone else, then go do it.


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"Here, read this you dummy."

Challenges I Overcame