Steven Ujifusa : Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Steven Ujifusa

American Business and Maritime Historian

Steven Ujifusa specializes in telling stories of American business leadership, both as an acclaimed popular historian for Simon & Schuster and as a writer of “works for hire” for public and private companies.

In 2012, The Wall Street Journal named his first book A Man and His Ship: America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States (Simon & Schuster) as one of the 10 best nonfiction books of the year. His second book for Simon & Schuster, Barons of the Sea: And Their Race to Build the Fastest Clipper Ship, will cover the the 19th century American clipper ships and the merchant dynasties they created. Barons of the Sea will be released on July 17, 2018.

He has recently completed the official corporate history of Airgas, Inc., having worked directly with founding chairman/CEO Peter McCausland for the past two years. The manuscript is based on over 60 interviews of the company's executives, employees,consultants, and attorneys, as well as extensive archival research. Founded in 1982 with an initial market capitalization of $5 million, Airgas became the largest American distributor of packaged gases, and survived the longest hostile takeover battle in recent history. The company was sold to French-based Air Liquide in 2016 for over $10 billion.

He lectures on American business, urban, and maritime history at venues around the country and aboard the ships of Seabourn Cruises. He has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, Knowledge@Wharton, and numerous other media outlets. He is also a frequent contributor to the urban history website

A native of New York City, Steven was raised in Chappaqua, New York. Steven received his undergraduate degree in history from Harvard University and a joint masters in historic preservation and real estate development from the University of Pennsylvania.

He serves on the boards of the Independence Seaport Museum, the Japan-American Society of Greater of Philadelphia (co-chair, Subaru of America Cherry Blossom Festival),and the Boys Latin Charter School of Philadelphia. He also serves on the advisory council of the SS United States Conservancy, a national nonprofit dedicated to saving the great ship and preserving her historical legacy.

He is a member of the University Barge Club of Philadelphia, the Union Club of New York, and the Orpheus Club of Philadelphia.

Professional Endorsements

“Steven Ujifusa has done something remarkable in his book, A Man and His Ship: he has brought back an era of American dominance in shipbuilding through the life of one of its giants: William Francis Gibbs. In some ways, Gibbs was the Steve Jobs of his era – a perfectionist with few people skills who nevertheless was single-handedly able to change his industry by the power of his vision and overwhelming professional competence. We need more public historians like Ujifusa working in business history. Using the highest research standards, he has written a great book that tells great story.”

–G. RICHARD SHELL, Thomas Gerrity Professor, The Wharton School of Business, and author of Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People.

“A terrific book! By entertaining, informing and ultimately inspiring, A Man and His Ship transforms its readers into passengers traveling across an ocean and through time. A skilled verbal navigator, Steven Ujifusa has charted an efficient and yet immensely satisfying course through a sea of facts, images and stories…”

-DAVID MACAULAY, best-selling author/illustrator of Cathedral, Castle, and The Way Things Work.

Advance Praise

“As learned as it is entertaining. Ujifusa has brought the golden age of American maritime commerce to vivid life. Extraordinary people and the wondrous clipper ships they built fill its pages with both great stories and deep insight into what makes humans of any age tick.”

-John Steele Gordon, author of An Empire of Wealth and The Great Game

Barons of the Sea captures both the majesty of clipper ships and the heart of the bold men who wanted to see them go faster and carry more. This story of ambition, innovation, and technology in the age of swift-sailing merchant ships will keep you enthralled.”

-Dean King, bestselling author of Skeletons on the Zahara

“Barons of the Sea moves as fast as a clipper ship at full sail. With a seemingly effortless command of the shared history of China and the United States in the nineteenth century, Ujifusa takes the reader on a rare and intoxicating journey back in time.”

-Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author of River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

“'Barons of the Sea' is a riveting, raucous book. If you love the sea, it’s all here: dreams, money, ambition, and competition.”

-Jay Winik, bestselling author of April 1865 and
Historian-in-Residence at the Council on Foreign Relations

“This crisply told story of the race to build the fastest ship in the world reads like a thriller, reminiscent of the best of Nathaniel Philbrick’s sea writing. It carries the reader along like a precious cargo on the high seas. I simply could not put it down.”

-Admiral James Stavridis, Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, Chairman of the U.S. Naval Institute, and former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO

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