“I haven’t read it yet,” admitted Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein at Monday’s book party at The Lambs Club for Carol Loomis’s Tap Dancing to Work, a collection of Warren Buffett’s wit and wisdom as published in Fortune over the years. (Mr. Blankfein strode briskly away when the Transom asked his thoughts on the upcoming “fiscal cliff.”)
There are no beggars, no factory workers, no coal miners, hospital nurses, outsourced office hands or middle school teachers who figure prominently in Plutocrats (Penguin Press, 336 pages, $27.95), Chrystia Freeland’s new book on rising income disparity. (Call-center workers at startup whiz Tony Hsieh’s Zappos do make a cameo.) That’s by design. It’s Ms. Freeland’s stated intent to examine the widening gap between the mega-rich and the rest of us through the lives and careers of the men—yes, men—at the top. (The book’s full, ominous title is Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.) That means, as her discussion of the distaste affluent Americans have for the word “rich” suggests, a study of the plutocrats on their own terms, and not, say, according to the 99/1 rhetoric posited by Occupy Wall Street.
And so the book is populated by financial, technological and emerging-market entrepreneurs peering down from their mountaintops, as well as the closest cousins of the fortunate few: the elite artists, artisans and thinkers who cater to, study or simply swim in the slipstream of the extremely rich.
Better to give
Maybe not what Bill Gates and Warren Buffett had in mind when they created the Giving Pledge, a campaign to convince billionaires to promise to donate at least half of their net worth (but maybe!): Peter B. Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance and one of 11 billionaires to take the pledge today, said he would continue to support, among other projects, the movement for medical marijuana:
Protestors will attempt to surround the New York Stock Exchange on the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, according to Reuters. Looking to meet up with some like-minded people? Want to know which intersections to avoid? Go here, for the tactical map.
The Winklevoss twins are disrupting the sell side, or Read More
HAPPY BIRTHDAY WARREN BUFFETT
Warren Buffett, you may have heard, is hell-bent on giving his fortune away. In 2006, he pledged $30 billion in shares of his company, Berkshire Hathaway, to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and billions more to charitable foundations operated by his three children. Today, the Berkshire chairman and chief executive officer’s 82nd birthday, he Read More
Nearly a month after former Citigroup chief executive Sandy Weill called for the break-up of the biggest U.S. banks, current Citi CEO Vikram Pandit told the Financial Times that the bank is sized just right.
How to define ‘subprime?’ The answer may determine the fate of the government’s case against three Freddie Mac Read More
New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson announced Monday that Margaret M. Sullivan, editor and vice president of The Buffalo News, will replace Arthur Brisbane as the paper’s public editor.
Speaking on the phone from Buffalo Monday afternoon, Ms. Sullivan told Off The Record that she had lusted after the gig for years.
“Now that there’s going to be much more of a digital job,” she said, “it’s a very good fit for me.”
She described the Times search as broad and the vetting process as lengthy and thorough.
“It was not a slam dunk,” she admitted.
Whither Europe: Greece’s center-right New Democracy party won 29.7 of the vote in parliamentary elections yesterday, claiming the 50-seat bonus for winning the most votes and positioning the party to form a coalition that would keep the country in the bailout-for-austerity agreement signed with European rescuers. Alex Tsipras’ Syriza party, which had promised to Read More
Apparently, a high-rise Manhattan condo didn’t really suit Peter Buffett. The youngest son of the famously frugal, resolutely Midwestern clan of the Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett has dumped his 18th-floor pad at 23 East 22nd Street for $4.25 million. The sale, which was previously reported by The New York Post, has finally hit city records.
Despite his hesitance to pass on financial advice or anything beyond a $90,000 inheritance to his children (the oracle of Omaha does not, reportedly, believe in inherited wealth), the elder Buffett obviously passed on some investing savoir faire.
JPMorgan fallout: Jamie Dimon couldn’t sleep after seeing the CIO positions! He had a hard time breathing! Mr. Dimon drank vodka, others drank wine and the JPMorgan chief executive officer struggled to fire “sister” Ina Drew. Ms. Drew told executives at an April 9 operating committee meeting that early press reports of the London Whale were Read More