What a Ride with ADHD!

By Janet L. Schmidt

Entrepreneurship began for Daniel Lieberman with his first business endeavor at 10 years old!  He began in his neighborhood washing cars.  Later, in high school he ran for office in school to run the school store. He lost the race for that position, but it didn’t deter him.  Later in college, he started a business in his dorm room that he literally fell into on his own. Thinking back about it now, he feels it was just so like him to end up starting a business on impulse, without a plan.  Classic ADHD!

The year was 1995 and he was coming back to his second semester from the Christmas break at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.  The agreed upon deal with his Mom and Dad was they would pay for his books for the first semester and after that, he would need to save money and get a job to buy his text books from then on.  However, when he arrived at school, he didn’t have a plan.

He decided to go to the Student Union Building and price his text books at the bookstore.  Daniel discovered the text books were expensive and sometimes difficult to obtain in a timely manner. He walked outside to look at the bulletin board for used and new books.  He noticed there were hundreds of poster ads for books being sold. He wondered how on earth he would be able to find the text books he needed.  He owned an IBM first generation PC that he kept in his dorm room.  He was literally the only student on campus that had his own computer in his room. The idea popped into Daniel’s mind to make a Lotus 123 spreadsheet of all of the books being advertised so he could see what was being offered.  His roommate helped him tear down all the posters late one night; he indexed them, and then returned the ads back in the morning to the bulletin board.  Without thinking about it, he had just become the real estate agent for books on campus.  Dynamic Student Services was born.  Daniel put up posters all over campus and soon the phone calls started coming.  He took a small commission and matched buyers to sellers or even flip the books himself. He did find his own text books and made enough money to pay for them too!

By the end of his junior year, he launched a major textbook buy-back operation out of a U-Haul truck in the middle of campus on a public road.  Huge lines developed and the on campus bookstore panicked!  Soon the campus bookstore did all they could to shut him down. Daniel then sold books on top of his car in the winter. His parents helped him come in from the cold to get the business off the ground.  He made money and everyone on campus knew him as the book guy. He found a location nearby and approached his parents about making Dynamic Student Services a legitimate business.  It was then Daniel did a business plan and his Dad made the decision to retire from IBM to launch the business with him.

During the summer, they opened a bookstore across the street from the campus to compete directly with the University Bookstore. Flash forward 25 years later; they have opened several stores at different campuses, launched an online business, and even acquired a wholesale warehouse. The business was nominated for the Philly 100 Award four years in a row.  The Philly 100 is a business award for the region’s 100 fastest growing companies in the region.  Daniel was recognized as the 1998 Young Entrepreneur of the Year for SE Pennsylvania which was the same year he graduated from college. Daniel believes ADHD is what gave him the skills, fortitude, and vision to become successful in business.


Daniel Lieberman attended college at West Chester University of PA in 1995. One day he went to the student union building and priced textbooks he needed for classes at the campus book-store. He discovered that textbooks were quite expensive. He walked outside to look at the student bulletin board and saw hundreds of ads on posters for books being sold a lot cheaper than the campus bookstore. An idea came into his mind to make a Lotus 123 spreadsheet of all of the books offered on the posters so he could see what exactly was being offered. The next morning he became the real estate agent for books on campus. He began to take a commission and match book buyer to seller or flip the books himself. Dynamic Student Services (now Penntext) was born. Twenty-five years later, Daniel and his Father opened several stores at different campuses, launched an online business, and a wholesale warehouse. In 1998, the year he graduated from college, he received the “Young Entrepreneur of the Year for SE Pennsylvania Area”. Today, Penntext has been in business over 20 years. Visit their Web site, www.penntext.com

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