Bernie Swain and Doris Kearns Goodwin


What Made Me Who I Am

Tickets on sale now

This event includes a book signing


May 19, 2017
7:00 PM ET
(Doors at 6:30)


First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


$5.00 - On Sale Now

Harvard Book Store welcomes Washington Speakers Bureau co-founder BERNIE SWAIN and Pulitzer Prize–winning historian DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN for a discussion of Swain's book, What Made Me Who I Am—a collection of profiles on thirty-four remarkable leaders, including Goodwin, and the influences that shaped them. A signing with both authors will follow the discussion.

About What Made Me Who I Am

Starting a business is a wonderfully naïve venture. Only a fortunate few will survive—and very few of those who thrive will have something special to say about failure, success, and leadership.  
Bernie Swain is one of those few very fortunate people. He quit his job in 1980 to start a lecture agency with his wife and a friend. By the end of their first rocky year—just as his savings were running out—Swain's first revenues trickled in. He began signing every speaker with a handshake; this proved to be the hallmark of trust that helped accelerate the company's growth. Years later, his roster of speakers would be the greatest in history since America's first agency represented a host of notables such as Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick Douglass.  

The best of Swain's fortunes turned out to be the speakers themselves because these remarkable leaders had become his personal friends. What Made Me Who I Am captures the leadership transformations of 34 of those friends—from Doris Kearns Goodwin to Colin Powell, Terry Bradshaw to Tom Brokaw, and Tony Blair to Dave Barry. This assembly of people defines a generation. What were their most powerful influences? Defining moments? Decisions that contributed the most to their character and accomplishments?

Swain captures answers to these questions and more in an inspiring, practical collection of true-life stories for leaders today. What Made Me Who I Am is also a terrific gift book for graduates and others who are just starting out in life.


"When a legend of an industry writes a book, you take notice. Bernie Swain, founder of the nation’s top lecture agency, recounts the watershed moments of a number of well-known clients. What Made Me Who I Am is an insightful guide to what has empowered a generation of leaders. It’s also full of fresh, moving stories that will help you navigate your life and challenges—no matter where or who you are." —Amy Cuddy, Harvard Business School professor and New York Times–bestselling author of Presence

"Imagine having a backstage pass to the most interesting stages of the past three decades. Bernie Swain didn’t just have that seat; he built the stage. In this inspiring book, he convinced many of the great leaders of our time to share the key turning points in their lives. It’s like 34 autobiographies in one volume—full of delightful stories, surprising insights, and practical wisdom." —Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times–bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

"We all have moments when we decide our fate—when we face down a problem, for example, or take a big risk. What Made Me Who I Am focuses on those inflection points for 34 notable people. You learn what has made all the difference in each of their lives and how these influences continue to drive them forward. This is an important book with great meaning for the rising generation." —Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist for the Washington Post and MSNBC analyst

Books by Our Speakers

The featured book for this event is Bernie Swain's What Made Me Who I Am, which will be for sale at the event for 20% off. The following titles by Doris Kearns Goodwin will also be available for purchase this evening:

  • No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II
  • Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir
  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Bernie Swain
Bernie Swain

Bernie Swain

Bernie Swain is co-founder of Washington Speakers Bureau and today's foremost authority on the lecture industry. Over the past 35 years, Swain has represented former US Presidents, cabinet members, business executives, public figures, media leaders, and sports legends.

Doris Kearns Goodwin
Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker, and Pulitzer Prize–winning and bestselling author. Her previous books include The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of JournalismTeam of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln; and No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.

UPDATE: Online ticket sales have now ended. A limited number of tickets are still available at Harvard Book Store or over the phone at 617-661-1515.

Tickets are non-refundable and non-returnable.

First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and look for the newsstand called Crimson Corner. Turn right and proceed north along Mass. Ave. going toward the Cambridge Common. You will pass the Harvard Coop, Bank of America, and CVS. The First Parish Church is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Church St. Please enter through the front door of the church.

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Signing Guidelines

A signing with both authors will follow the discussion.

Purchase the Book
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
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