A Wall Street Journal bestseller
Pfizer’s celebrated communications leader, Sally Susman, reveals how we can break through all the noise and conventional thinking to get our message across and make positive change.
A global pandemic. A roller-coaster economy. Political tensions ready to ignite, and common civility at an all-time low. For leaders, the pressures and the stakes could not be higher. And in such a stormy, often dangerous world, communications can no longer be considered a soft skill. The ability to lead and drive the public conversation is a rock-hard competency.
In this wise and inspiring book, Sally Susman, the renowned head of corporate affairs at global biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer, tells the fascinating story of how the multinational managed the massive communications challenge that came with Covid and the race to produce an effective vaccine. Just as crucial as creating the vaccine itself was the task of winning people’s hearts and minds, and Susman highlights the principles that enabled her to break through, connect, and help move people forward, not only at Pfizer but over a stellar career. She shows how clarifying and channeling your intention is an essential first step: What are you trying to say? She illustrates how, in order to be effective, leaders need to muster the courage for candor; and how, in order to connect, they must both disarm with humility and delight with humor. As a gay, married woman, she talks forthrightly about the challenges and opportunities of embracing who you are, both at home and in the workplace.
Susman’s stories will draw you in with their warmth, humor, and humanity and will enlighten and motivate you with their insight and passion. Breaking Through is essential reading for any leader as they face the daunting challenge of communicating in our noisy, turbulent world.
Praise for Breaking Through
“Breaking Through: Communicating to Open Minds, Move Hearts, and Change the World avoids the pitfalls of leadership books that can at times be dry and self-serving. Susman offers practical advice from someone who has earned her place as a trusted adviser during crises.” –Axios
“Sally Susman knows a great deal about the importance of clear communication to living an authentic life. Her deeply touching and often humorous stories will stay with you and help you navigate and advance in your own professional life.” –Indra Nooyi, former CEO and Chairperson, PepsiCo; New York Times bestselling author, My Life in Full
“Breaking Through is a beautifully written, essential work on the importance of communication, full of humor and heart. Sally Susman delivers a commanding master class and a must-read.” –Mika Brzezinski, cohost, MSNBC’s Morning Joe; founder, Know Your Value
“Sally Susman has devoted her career to bringing clarity to complexity, change, and crisis, and in this book she shares memorable stories and practical insights to help you get heard.” –Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author, Think Again; host,TED podcast ReThinking
“A brave trailblazer in her field, Sally Susman has helped hundreds of careers flourish—and this book will ensure the success of hundreds of thousands more.” –Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO, Girls Who Code and Marshall Plan for Moms
“People like Sally Susman have always known that communication isn’t a soft skill—it’s the bedrock of business and an absolute requirement for success. Putting her principles to work will help you clarify and reach your goals and be a better leader.” –Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO, Thrive Global
“The world’s best handbook for how to build and maintain trust at work—and why it’s essential for any communications you do. No one could write this book but Sally Susman.” –Daniel Roth, Editor in Chief and Vice President, LinkedIn