The Power of Being Yourself
April 21, 2015
In The Power of Being Yourself, Joe Plumeri offers an inspirational tale of his own life and tells us "You can't do passion halfway."
"After you finish this book, I am sure that you will agree with me that the country desperately needs a dose of Joe Plumeri. His passion, honesty and sense of purpose flows through these pages, which are filled with life lessons that extend from his childhood to his rise to the top of the corporate world. Plumeri points out that the key to being a good public speaker or a successful leader is having the courage and self-awareness to be yourself—an important insight for all of us."
—U.S. Senator Bill Bradley
Joe Plumeri isn't afraid to cry. It's a rare admission from someone who has held top positions at firms such as Smith Barney, Citigroup, Primerica, and Willis. But Plumeri isn't the average CEO. In The Power of Being Yourself: A Game Plan for Success by Putting Passion into Your Life and Work, Plumeri tells the story of his life in business—from triumphs to missteps to personal tragedy—and offers simple yet profound guidance on staying positive, motivating yourself and others, and achieving both personal fulfillment and professional success.
Plumeri was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, son of Italian immigrants, including a father who encouraged his children to dream big, live life ethically, and be a part of the community. Plumeri's father and grandfather were local boosters, and brought baseball—and Babe Ruth—to Trenton. Plumeri took these early lessons to heart, and built his career not only on hard and excellent work, but on his desire to engage with people on a personal level.
Being yourself isn't as easy as it may sound, Plumeri writes. In an age when many of our interactions are filtered through text messages, voicemails, e-mails, and other methods of distancing ourselves from other human beings, many things are lost in translation. It takes bravery to decide to step out from behind technology and connect with others. But Plumeri argues that it is only by making those human connections in person and being willing to be vulnerable that we can grow into the people we are supposed to be, reaching our full potential.
The Power of Being Yourself contains scores of stories that draw upon this theme. Plumeri got his job with Sandy Weill as a brash young law student who thought Weill's company was a law firm (Weill liked his confidence). He won over a company full of skeptical Brits after becoming CEO of Willis by refusing to act like a boss in an ivory tower. He had the Sears Tower in Chicago renamed to the Willis Tower just by having the bravery to ask if it could be done. In some of the book's most moving sections Plumeri writes about his late son Chris, who died too young after years of drug addiction and abuse. Plumeri exhorts every reader to the make time for the things that matter most. While work can be hugely satisfying, he writes, at the end of our lives it is not what we will wish we had spent more time on.
Plumeri's story offers us all lessons for succeeding in all areas of life today. The Power of Being Yourself is an inspirational read for our times.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe Plumeri is the former CEO of Willis Group and Citibank North America. He now serves as vice chairman of First Data Corporation and a member of its Board of Directors. He lives in New York City. You can learn more at his website, www.joeplumeri.com