Up and Doing
A Life of Investing in A Better World
When everyone else says no, global development leader James Harmon says yes.
From an early age, Harmon was inspired by his father, who greeted him each morning with a line of poetry that would set the tone for his adult life:
“Let us, then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate.”
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Psalm of Life”
Harmon’s professional journey begins in the 1970s, where he learns the value of patience and integrity as a young investment banker traveling across Europe to secure groundbreaking multinational deals. Despite the glamor and intrigue, Harmon maintains a sense of public service, applying lessons from the high-powered private sector to public service in New York City and Washington, DC, and eventually representing the State Department in Egypt shortly after the Arab Spring. Each stop reaffirms Harmon’s commitment to creating stable economies in support of international peace.
No matter where he is replanted, Harmon advocates for global change by examining the issues of our time, from women’s financial empowerment to the urgent need for a carbon-free future. His words encourage us all to embrace service in ways big and small, from helping a local community to electing a president or bolstering a developing nation.
Up and Doing tells the story of how a little risk combined with hard work can open worldwide opportunities and shows us all that the best way to do well is by 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."