Being Dead is Bad for Business

Stanley Weiss
“Rumbustious, warm and disarmingly candid … This is an astonishing life, recounted with humor and wit.”
—The Wall Street Journal

Most of us spend our lives talking ourselves out of things. But what could you accomplish if you never held yourself back?  

​What if, despite your fears, you went for broke every time?

You might live a life as extraordinary as the one Stanley Weiss has lived for nearly a century.  

A skinny Jewish kid from Philadelphia training to fight and likely die in the U.S. invasion of Japan in 1945, Stanley Weiss came home to the death of his loving but weak father, who left his mother penniless. Vowing on the spot not to let his insecurities limit him as they had his father, Weiss pledged that his mother would never have to worry. Later, a humiliation suffered at the hands of his wealthy girlfriend’s famous father ignited in him a determination to better himself in every way and live life to the fullest. 

Inspired by a Humphrey Bogart movie, Weiss moved to a foreign country to hunt for treasure—where Rule Number One was “Don’t Die.” Along the way, his zest for living has taken him from the company of legendary artists and poets in Mexico, to writers and beatniks in 1960s San Francisco and Hollywood; from drunken nights with a notorious spy to friendships with three of the men who played James Bond; from glamorous parties in Gstaad and Phuket to power politics in London and Washington, DC. A story of growth, tenacious focus, and good humor, it stretches from the days of “Don’t Die” to Weiss’s response when asked why business executives were interested in preventing nuclear war: “Being dead is bad for business.”

For those who believe the world is shaped by ordinary people who push themselves to do extraordinary things, Stanley Weiss’s story will inspire and surprise while reminding us all that being dead is bad for business—and being boring is bad for life.  

Stanley A. Weiss was formerly Chairman of American Premier, Inc., a mining, refractories, chemicals, and mineral processing company. He is Founding Chairman of Business Executives for National Security (BENS), a nonpartisan organization of senior executives who use the best practices of business to strengthen the nation’s security. Mr. Weiss has written widely on public policy matters. His work has appeared in The Huffington Post, the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Washington Times. His book, Manganese: The Other Uses, is the definitive work on the non-metallurgical uses of manganese. A former fellow at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs, Mr. Weiss is the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Premier Chemicals and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Ditchley Foundation, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Royal Institution in the UK. Mr. Weiss has served on the Board of Directors of Harman International Industries; the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; and the Advisory Boards of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy and the International Crisis Group. Mr. Weiss is married with two children. He divides his time between his residences in London and Gstaad, and his office in Washington, DC.