HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Harlan Steinbaum

Business Leader, Innovator, Author of Tough Calls from the Corner Office


  • Tough Calls from the Corner Office: Top Business Leaders Reveal Their Career-Defining Moments
  • Entrepreneurship: Taking and Managing Business Risks
  • How to Form and Maintain Successful Business Partnerships
  • Changing Business Models: How to Refocus and Reposition Your Company
  • How to Change Your Corporate Culture



Harlan Steinbaum has had a long and successful career in business as an innovator and leading executive in the drug retailing industry. The former chairman and CEO of Medicare-Glaser, one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the U.S, he was also chairman of Express Scripts, Inc., a leading pharmacy benefit management company that has grown into a multi-billion dollar public corporation ranked number 135 on the Fortune 500. The author of Tough Calls from the Corner Office: Top Business Leaders Reveal Their Career-Defining Moments (HarperBusiness), Steinbaum invites audiences to listen as he reveals how the world's top business leaders made the calls that defined their careers. An ideal keynote speaker for industry associations, trade groups, corporate conferences, and business schools, Steinbaum's presentations inspire confidence in audiences that tough decisions can lead to extraordinary success.

What if you could have private conversations with some of the best CEOs and business leaders in the country? In his "Tough Calls from the Corner Office" presentations, Steinbaum shares a treasure trove of rich business wisdom. Intuitively organized around the classic arc of a successful businessperson's career - from early key career choices, to important decisions and risks, to critical management tasks to final leave-taking from the world of work - Steinbaum's speeches feature conversations with such executives as:

  • Gerald Greenwald, United Airlines, Chrysler Corporation
  • Bill Rasmussen, ESPN
  • Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • Jack C. Taylor, Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Reginald Brack, Time, Inc.
  • Ron Shaich, Panera Bread Company
  • Tachi Yamada, Global Health Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

A graduate of the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania and Tulane University, Steinbaum also served in the United States Air Force before attending Columbia University's Graduate School of Business Executive Program. He lives in St. Louis.

Praise for Tough Calls from the Corner Office:

"With all the heavy breathing inflating the latest technology bubble, Harlan Steinbaum's Tough Calls from the Corner Office is a reminder that there are still executives who take years, rather than months, to build their careers and still businesses where value is still tethered to earnings . . . Mr. Steinbaum has elicited useful stories of life in the entrepreneurial and management trenches."
-- Philip Delves Broughton, Wall Street Journal

"Tough Calls from the Corner Office offers invaluable insight into the mind of the CEO. Harlann Steinbaum's book reveals how companies are only as good as the instincts, and the guiding principles of the people who run them."
-- Bill Steere, former President, Chairman, and CEO of Pfizer

"Harlan Steinbaum has developed a fascinating account of how senior executives faced their single most important decision. His notion of "career defining moments" provides insights rarely derived on management decision-making under difficult conditions. His executives are a "Who's Who" across global industries, who speak from the heart about their defining moments and the consequences of their decisions."
-- Thomas S. Robertson, Dean, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania

"This book is wonderful. I enjoyed every story -- every part of it. The stories in this book should inspire and give confidence to the many people looking to make their mark in business, or for that matter life."
-- General Richard B. Myers, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired

"If you have a work schedule that lets you go out and meet with 40 top business leaders and speak with them about their most significant business decisions, perhaps you might be able to learn from that experience. If not, read Steinbaum's book -- it will be time well invested."
-- Mukul Pandya, Director, Knowledge@Wharton, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

"I believe that Harlan Steinbaum's book is powerful and important reading for anyone seeking to be successful in a world where people skills and ethics are critical. The book relates stories about real people, their defining moments, and how they handled interpersonal situations. I have been a stock market strategist for 50 years with an undergraduate degree in business and have taken a number of business training courses. However, my personal defining moment was over 50 years ago in graduate studies in clinical psychology. It taught me to better understand human nature and that is what the stock market and life are all about. Doctor, lawyer, and merchant chief we all deal with people and must communicate constantly and honestly. This book will help readers achieve their goals in life."
-- Al Goldman, Chief Stock Market Strategist, A.G. Edwards, 48 years

"Tough Calls from the Corner Office is a treasure of a book. Stories from a wide array of remarkable and wise business talent reward the reader with invaluable insight into what it means to follow one's dreams, lead people and maintain a moral compass."
-- Jim Gold, President/CEO, Bergdorf Goodman

"Tough Calls from the Corner Office is a great read for anyone who is interested in the interplay between character, luck, and talent in the lives of successful people. I had heard of many of these business leaders before, but these stories help fill in the blanks of their careers and teach us that nobody's outcome is preordained. Everyone faces defining moments, and these stories can help all of us recognize when that fork in the road has arrived."
-- Bill DeWitt III, President, St. Louis Cardinals

"Refreshingly intimate and candid, these personal reflections from some of America's top business leaders offer insight into their choices and decisions. CEOs and those aspiring to lead will find inspiration here."
-- Jessica Bibliowicz, CEO, National Financial Partners Corp.

"I believe there are a lot of life lessons here, and I think Harlan Steinbaum has done a great job so the reader will come away with a better understanding and appreciation of those lessons and how they helped these leaders to their successes - sometimes even in the face of failure."
-- Angelo S. DeNisi, Dean, A.B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University

"A former CEO of two leading pharmaceutical companies, Steinbaum compiles interviews with 39 industry captains into a real-life textbook for honing leadership skills and making difficult choices in today's ever-changing economy. Often deeply revealing, frequently dealing with tough situations like strikes, layoffs, or bankruptcy, these must-read stories will resonate with business owners, leaders, and managers at all levels who find themselves at crossroads, confronting difficult decisions, or simply striving for excellence and alignment with their true passions."
-- Publishers Weekly

". . . an inspiring and enjoyable read."
-- Library Journal