Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maria Bartiromo's Barometer

Maria Bartiromo came alone.

That alone was a show stopper.

I figured when she entered the office for our interview, she'd have an entourage worthy of Floyd Mayweather.

After all, Bartiromo is a heavyweight, a few classes above the unbeaten welterweight. As host of two shows on CNBC, she's all business.

She's also a knockout, the original Money Honey.

Now she has a new book out. It's called "The 10 Laws of Enduring Success." After our chat, I can see why she's expert enough to have written it.

The main reason? She sure seems like the woman who arrived without airs. The only thing she carried was a smile.

Here's how she put it in her book: People respond to authenticity, even if you make mistakes or trip over a few words. They want to see a live human being, not a cardboard cutout.

Indeed. More reasons to like Bartiromo and her "10 Laws":

She's armed. Ready to throw out the first pitch before a Yankee Stadium game, I was in front of 60,000 screaming fans, with the wind blowing in my eyes and home plate looking a million miles away, and I thought, "Oh no, I'm not going to do it. I'm going to be booed." And then I took a deep breath and said, "You're exactly where you're supposed to be." And I threw the ball. It sailed over the plate into the catcher's mitt, and the crowd went wild.

She's nails. On her 34th birthday came 9/11. And she found herself in the midst of the terror attack's smoke. One woman was crying hysterically, and I remember thinking that this was not the time for panic or tears, that we had to keep our heads. I went over to her and said loudly and firmly, "Please calm down. It's important that you calm down." And she did, even as the floor we were standing on began to shake with the force of the second tower collapsing.

She's of solid stock. It would never have occurred to my parents to gripe about how hard they worked, to think that their lives were tougher than other people's or to feel entitled to have more for less effort. Even today, if I complain about being overworked, my mother rolls her eyes and says, "Come on, Maria, you're not chopping trees."

She's resourceful. Thinking of switching networks in the early '90s, I convinced my boss to allow me to work longer than the typical day. After my regular shift, I'd go into the field with the morning crews and pick up the news and sound bites when the markets opened. I'd write out scripts, and when I was alone with the crew, I'd ask them to shoot me on camera, reporting, so I'd have some clips. ... With their help I created a portfolio of clips: "Maria Bartiromo, reporting for CNN Business News."

She's upbeat. She quoted chess champion Garry Kasparov as saying, "Most people scrutinize their mistakes. ... I always scrutinized my victories." ... I thought his insight was priceless, and it clearly came from the mind of a competitor.

Bartiromo draws wisdom from another guy on top of his game: Joe Torre. It’s all part of a book stacked with wealthy knowledge.

And when Maria said goodbye after our chat? She signed her book, “Thank you so much for everything.”

To that, I'm still sighing "you're welcome."

Bucky Fox is an author and editor who runs and is devoted to his own Maria, wife Maria Fox.

1 comment:

Orlandoed said...

Great piece on Maria B. I'm a big fan as well. Any more celeb interviews on the horizon. You seem to be a natch.