"This narrative is a story of the will to overcome the kind of adversity that can crush the spirit…but not this one." -- Sol Gittleman, professor and provost emeritus at Tufts University.
"Ed Hajim's life story makes Horatio Alger look like an underachiever." -- Ken Roman, former CEO of Ogilvy & Mather.
"A bend in the road," says Ed Hajim, "is not the end of the road."
He should know. At the age of three, Hajim was kidnapped by his father, driven cross-country, and told that his mother was dead. He pressed his face against the car window, watched the miles pass and wondered where life would take him. It took him on a journey from one dire situation to the next, from one crowded orphanage to an unfamiliar foster home, from having one semi-present parent to having none. It was a daily struggle to survive.
Yet somehow, not only does Hajim make it through, but using his own grit and determination, he flourishes. His life comes full circle and he lives the American dream as an accomplished Wall Street executive and model family man with great moral fiber and the means to give back to a world that early on seemed intent on rejecting him.
Hajim's vivid memoir, On the Road Less Traveled: An Unlikely Journey from the Orphanage to the Boardroom, is several storylines in one: the improbable tale of how the author overcame the heavy odds against him as a child; the incredible ride up the corporate ladder to a stellar professional career; and a study in the drive, principles, philosophy and character of a man seeking his dream.
Hajim served as a senior investment executive at such firms as E.F. Hutton, Lehman Brothers and other financial institutions, regularly transforming fledgling operations into generating solid growth. He made contributions to the University of Rochester, eventually as chairman of its board. His life accomplishments were rightfully acknowledged in 2015 with the prestigious Horatio Alger Award.
Hajim took every experience as a learning opportunity. The Navy, for example, "trained me to become deliberate in everything I do. It showed me that every mission needs well-defined rules. And it showed me that no mission can be accomplished without a well-motivated team."
Throughout his career, Hajim was guided by his instincts to know when a situation had run its course and it was time to move on. "Sometimes it's better to sever ties and leave on your own, even if the next step is unknown," he writes. "That's often the road less traveled, but it's so worth the journey."
Says Renee Fleming, "On the Road Less Traveled is a moving, personal history that demonstrates the importance of being faithful to one's core values -- a road map for a life well lived."