Sidney Harman

Sidney Harman was one of the great businessmen and philanthropists of our time. He was also a gifted storyteller with a great sense of humor. He was the former CEO of Harman Kardon, a leader in the audio and video entertainment industry. In 2010, he became the publisher of Newsweek. He was a true business pioneer and was a thought leader in the human resources field, through quality of life initiatives he implemented at Harman. He played an instrumental role at the Aspen Institute and was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was married to California congresswoman Jane Harman. Sidney passed away in April 2011 and at 92 was still shaping the business and arts world.


Type of people I admire

There is a lovely passage in Arthur Mills’ Death of a Salesman that will answer this question for you. The protagonist in the play, Willy Loman, was visiting a former neighbor, now a flourishing attorney, essentially looking for a handout. While waiting, he catches up with the attorney’s son.. Finally, the attorney ushers his client out the door, turns to Willy and says, “What do you think of that boy? Do you know that tomorrow morning he will plead a case before the Supreme Court of the United States of America?!” Willy is aghast, “We spoke for 40 minutes, he never mentioned it.” “Hey Willy, he doesn’t have to mention it, he’s doing it!!” I love that story. I am definitely attracted to the type of people that do not need to tell you how consequential they are, but are more focused on doing it. I deflect the blowhards, the guys who buy up art by the square foot and build libraries by the yard. Whose response to what they do is to tell you how much they’ve made. The rest of the world I embrace. The people who’ve worked in our companies have, I’m talking about the guys on the floor, they’re not replaceable parts of the machine, they are the stuff out of which I’ve prospered.

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