Read the Book

The Man Who Kept the Secret

by Robert Lockwood Mills with Harry Maurer

Excerpt from the introduction:

This book tells a classic American success story. It is the story of a boy who grew up in a poor immigrant family in a poor neighborhood, and who, by means of brains, hard work, and old-fashioned values, rose to prominence in a mega-corporation and accumulated a sizable fortune — though not fame — along the way. If ever there was one, Thomas Elmezzi is an American boy who made good.

But this is more than a success story — or, better said, it is a story showing that there is more than one way to succeed. Tom Elmezzi, who recently turned 89, has not chosen to turn his success into the material trappings that usually accompany the achievement of wealth. He and his wife, Jeanne, have lived for 50 years in the same five-room rented apartment in Great Neck, New York. He has never owned a home, let alone vacation property, though he could comfortably afford both. He doesn’t possess art treasures or a wine cellar. He was once part owner of a boat, but no more. His one self-indulgence is automotive:

Tom drives a Cadillac Seville and recently bought a silver Rolls-Royce Corniche — an extravagance so unusual for Tom that it seems outlandish. Otherwise, Tom has conserved his fortune and is now devoting it to “helping people,” he says, largely by creating and funding the JET Foundation, which will be aiding the needy and working for the betterment of mankind long after Tom passes away. Tom embodies an ideal central to most of the world’s great religions: to give is more rewarding than to receive. His life illustrates that generosity is the highest form of succes.