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Ed Hajim ’58

Hajim Offers ‘Think-About-It’ Book
photo of book, Fable of the Four Ps, by Ed Hajim(Photograph: J. Adam Fenster)

As someone who turned a harrowing early life into professional success in the upper echelons of Wall Street and educational philanthropy, it might be easy for Ed Hajim ’58 to come up with a commanding list of “how-to’s” for those looking for advice on how to overcome adversity or for professional guidance to a life in business.

But in his second book, the University’s board chair emeritus and namesake for the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences takes a different path of sorts—and suggests that readers, too, should be open to thinking about success in less scripted ways.

In The Island of the Four Ps (Skyhorse, 2023), Hajim offers—as the subtitle puts it—“A Modern Fable about Preparing for Your Future.”

“[The new book] is not a how-to business book,” Hajim writes. “It’s a think-about-it book in the form of a fable. . . . Why a fable? . . . Because I don’t believe there’s only one way to deal with life transitions. And even if you accept my ideas wholly, there’s no single right way to put them into action.”

Illustrated with whimsical drawings by Gabriela Leal, the story follows a young person who travels to the islands of Passions, Principles, Partners, and Plans and realizes that a successful life is built by finding a balance among the cornerstones.

The new book follows Hajim’s 2020 memoir, On the Road Less Traveled, in which he recounted his life as a toddler who was effectively abandoned by his father to be raised in group homes and orphanages. In that book, Hajim credits the University with helping set him on a path to becoming a successful investment executive, University trustee, and philanthropist.

The book also hones ideas that Hajim has been sharing with family, colleagues, and University students for decades.

He jokes that long before there was an iPad, he had a “me-pad,” a yellow pad of paper on which he mapped out the elements of important decisions.

Early in his career, he realized that as he figured out where to go in life, he was guided by the four “islands” that form the bulk of the new book.

Taking time to think seriously about what you value in your life, he says, is a lesson everyone can benefit from.

“People are unique, and each person has got to find his own way or her own way.”