Up and Doing
Two Presidents, Three Mistakes, and One Great Weekend—Touchpoints to a Better World
James A. Harmon
From championing developing nations to funding our carbon-free future, investor and advisor James Harmon reveals how markets can move the world forward by creating stable, growing economies and sound deals that promote economic development.
James Harmon has always had a passion for ambitious causes. As a banker, he successfully advised corporations, like Starbucks, and helped them to become cultural institutions. Dabbling in the movie and music industries, he found meaning in funding the art he felt would make people happy and add to the public good. His unique perspective on investment led him to the Clinton White House as head of EXIM Bank and, eventually, to Egypt, where he represented the State Department shortly after the Arab Spring. Still “up and doing,” today he cochairs the board of the World Resources Institute.
Not all of Harmon’s deals were successes, and he recounts the wins and losses in equal detail, exposing lessons learned, and even sharing a few farcical scenes featuring Washington’s and Wall Street’s most notorious bold-faced names.
No matter where he is replanted, Harmon advocates for global change by examining the issues of our time, including women’s financial empowerment and the urgent need to fight climate change. He encourages our leaders to apply lessons learned in the private sector to the world’s most demanding challenges, from helping a local community to electing a president or bolstering a developing African nation.
Up and Doing presents a tale of the deals that made Harmon a celebrated figure in the world of global investment, and shows that the best way to do well is by also doing good.
"From billion-dollar business deals to pathbreaking climate change research, UP AND DOING defies classification—much like its author. Jim Harmon’s inspiring book traces a career in the service of others and gives new hope for harnessing the power of economic development to secure a sustainable future for generations to come."
"Harmon deftly manages the writer’s trick of turning his life into story. The tales of this one man’s astonishing journey are irresistible, riotous, resonant, heartfelt, and subtly revealing of where America has been and where we’re headed. I loved this book."
"As the chair of the Egyptian–American Enterprise Fund, head of the Export-Import Bank, and now as chair of the World Resources Institute, Jim Harmon finds that his financial expertise is vital, but he is convinced that what matters far more is his talent for building relationships—with Hollywood movie executives, Mormon businessmen in Utah, Washington politicians, Russian oligarchs, Egyptian entrepreneurs. Along the way, he became a keen observer of personality and, as UP AND DOING demonstrates, a really deft and lively raconteur."
"With honesty, humor, and warmth, Jim deftly recounts examples of success—and a few failures—demonstrating how he managed the intersection of business, philanthropy, and committed diplomacy. For those who wish to understand complex market dynamics and how investing has the potential to create positive change, UP AND DOING serves as an invaluable and informative reference."
"The span of Jim Harmon’s interests, career moves, and priorities is reflected aptly in the book’s title. With open-eyed determination, he chose areas of engagement, from investment banking to civic leadership, that were true to his commitment to a better, fairer world. Whether focusing on climate change, assisting or investing in underdeveloped economies, or just standing up to unfair policies and practices, Harmon proves again the importance of ‘doing.’ The candor of his reflections and the import of his actions will inform and inspire others to get up every day and go about the work of making a better world."
"James’s career is a lesson-rich random walk. While some would have taken their Wall Street winnings and coasted, Jim went to Washington, Asia, and Africa to help define a new frontier of investing. This grandfather and octogenarian could have stopped there, but he saw yet more purpose and impact to be made—with the environment, Egypt’s economy, and now this book. Read it and share it."
"In a time of division and polarization, UP AND DOING is a refreshing return to the lost art of relationship building. James Harmon has given us a playbook for transforming the world through the most challenging financial markets, but it’s more than that too. It’s an inspiring story of a wildly successful career."