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Running with Grace

“Having had the privilege of witnessing this journey from ideation to release, the resounding theme has been Lori's courage.” —Ian J. Wilson, MD, philanthropist and founder WALLTHERAPY


Nothing about Lori Van Dusen’s childhood indicated she’d become one of the nation’s top independent financial advisors. She was born prematurely on the wrong side of the tracks and with a genetic blood disorder. Her parents divorced when she and her twin brother were less than a year old. But her big, boisterous, loving Italian family, led by her beloved grandfather, a first-generation American with only an eighth-grade education, taught her that the only limitations in life are those we impose on ourselves.

As a young person, Lori wanted to sing on Broadway, not manage money on Wall Street. But in 1986, this quiet, serious young woman walked into the rough-and-tumble, eat-what-you-kill world of Shearson Lehman Brothers and never looked back. She fought her way to the top by thinking outside the box and working her ass off despite the jeers, insults, and sideways glances. Her secret weapon? A need to prove herself so strong she could outwork anyone.

But Lori’s trajectory to the top was not a straight, upward line; it was a rollercoaster. She hit the pinnacle of success only to have it ripped away in a legal battle with one of the biggest banks in the world. She was raped by a PhD candidate at Harvard, swindled by a business partner, and battled two life-altering medical diagnoses. None of that, though, would compare to having the two people she loved most in the world taken way too soon.

Despite the fear and pain, Lori remained hopeful and resilient. In this memorable, poignant, and inspiring memoir, she shares her lowest lows and highest highs as well as hard-earned wisdom from her bumpy personal, professional, and spiritual journey. Life was never meant to be fair, she learned, but we must keep running with grace if we are to find purpose and joy in the face of adversity.


In this emotional and inspiring memoir, Van Dusen shares the triumphs and tragedies of a life—and a deep resilience—that took her from “nothing” to being one of the nation’s top financial advisers. “Nothing about my childhood indicated I had a shot in hell” at that kind of success, Van Dusen writes, though her portrait of growing up in a boisterous Italian family split by divorce and lacking any tradition of wealth is often warm and inviting. Starting her career in the go-go 1980s, Van Dusen experienced the scandals, economic crises, and relentless work culture of Wall Street, plus the added challenges of thriving as a woman in a deeply entrenched boys club.

Her story frankly covers wrenching events, including a rape, and builds to the devastating events of 9/11, and her direct, inviting telling of it is always focused on the bottom line, as you would hope for a trailblazer in the stock trade. Running with Grace is deeply personal but also rich with lessons, as Van Dusen digs deep into her drive to make it in the male-dominated business of investment, plus what it takes to bet on oneself against all odds. With anecdotes about run-ins with notorious figures like Bernie Madoff ("eerily calm as he threw me out of his office”), plus moving stories about family, especially her late husband and the grandfather who helped raise her, Van Dusen’s brisk debut is equally heart-warming and motivating, as no matter what life throws at her Van Dusen never stops running after her goals.

That title is somewhat literal. Running and exercise became a major part of Van Dusen's everyday life as a form of healing and peace amid all of the injuries, sickness, tragedy and stress formulating in her personal life and her career. Fans of upbeat business memoirs full of feeling will be engaged as Van Dusen sets the pace.

Takeaway: Inspiring memoir of Wall Street success and never slowing down.

Comparable Titles: Barbara Chase-Riboud's I Always Knew, Tessa Fontaine's The Electric Woman.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A