The Profile: Prince Harry’s ghostwriter & the Ponzi scheme mastermind who hooked Warren Buffett
This edition of The Profile features Heather Wilson, J.R. Moehringer, Martha Stewart, Bob Lee, and more.
Good morning, friends!
This week, I published my interview with former U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. It was truly one of my favorite interviews to date.
I was so impressed with how honest she was about her experiences, failures, and learnings as a leader. If you are in any sort of management role, I highly encourage you to check out our interview. I can guarantee you’ll learn something.
Here’s an excerpt and one thing that I keep thinking about since she said it:
I interviewed the former CEO of General Electric Jeff Immelt, who was heavily criticized during his time at the helm of the company. But he said something that really struck me: “There were days when hundreds of thousands of people hated me, but one person loved me, and that was enough to keep persevering into the future.” How have you managed to keep your personal life strong even through all of the challenges you faced in your professional life?
As a young woman, I probably wouldn't have said this, because, you know, I was so focused on being successful professionally, that I didn't want to mix these things or something. But of all the decisions I've made in life, the most important one was who I decided I'd have as a roommate. It’s who I married, and I married well. There is nothing that has made my life better than that.
I would also say that when I was a teenager, I wasn't, you know, babysitting the neighbor's kids. And to be very honest, my family life at home wasn't sometimes all that great. And leaving at 17 was a really good idea. Although I wouldn't have admitted that at the time either because we weren't supposed to talk about those things.
To me, your success has been something that you can achieve. But your joy is a gift to revel in, and something that you're just thankful for every day. I have two great kids, and they both married wonderful people, and I now have my first grandchild.
When I was the head of the Children, Youth and Families department in New Mexico, I was a member of the cabinet. I had to spend a lot more time on the budget and in front of the legislature there on child welfare reform. Unlike the federal legislature where every legislator has five minutes, there's no time limit in Santa Fe. So if you're there, you're there for like three hours testifying. It can be brutal. I usually had my notebook and all my things in front of me to testify, but I always had a picture of my kids where I could see them. The reason was that I knew that no matter what happened in that hearing room, I was going home for supper. And for a hearing that I thought was going to be particularly awful, my husband would drive up from Albuquerque, and I knew that nobody in that room mattered to me as much as him. And no matter what, we were going home together.
Anyway, there’s so much more. In a wide-ranging interview, we discuss developing mental resilience, making decisions in times of crisis, and some of the biggest lessons she’s learned after decades in leadership. I really enjoyed our conversation, and I think you will too.
— Prince Harry’s ghostwriter [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The Ponzi scheme mastermind who hooked Warren Buffett
— The oldest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover star
— The tech entrepreneur who was brutally murdered
— The prince with no throne
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
Prince Harry’s ghostwriter: For two years, J.R. Moehringer was the ghostwriter on Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare.” Moehringer is also behind Phil Knight’s wildly popular “Shoe Dog” and Andre Agassi’s “Open.” It’s no surprise he’s the world’s best paid ghostwriter. So if you’re wondering: “What kind of person becomes a ghostwriter, whose work is published under someone else’s name?” This is a captivating profile in which Moehringer explains how his life led him to this very career. (The New Yorker; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“Everyone says they want to get raw until they see how raw feels.”
The Ponzi scheme mastermind who hooked Warren Buffett: Jeff Carpoff was a good mechanic. But as a businessman, he struggled. In the two decades since high school, he’d lost one repair shop after another, filed for personal bankruptcy, and watched a lender foreclose on the small house in a California refinery town where he’d lived with his wife and two young kids. By 2007, he was 36, jobless, and adrift. Yet there, at his life’s lowest, the remarkable happened. A contraption he’d rigged up in his driveway—a car trailer decked with solar panels and a heavy battery—got the attention of people with real money. His invention, he thought, was “crazy, harebrained.” But investors saw the makings of a clean-energy revolution. (The Atlantic)
“I’m kind of entrepreneur — more ‘manure’ than ‘entre’.”
The oldest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover star: Is there anything Martha Stewart hasn’t done? She is impossible to put in a box: Stewart is a homemaker-slash-lifestyle guru, television personality, publisher, canny entrepreneur-turned-white-collar criminal, and Snoop Dogg’s unlikely BFF. Now, at age 81, Stewart appears on one of the four covers of the storied Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. In this interview, Stewart talked about flirting, Madonna, how she came by her sexual confidence and more. For more, check out Martha Stewart’s Profile Dossier here.)
“How else would I, as an 81-year-old, have talked myself into feeling good about getting into a bathing suit?”
The tech entrepreneur who was brutally murdered: I’m not entirely sure what to make of this profile on the late tech entrepreneur Bob Lee. Lee was stabbed with a kitchen knife and left to bleed out on a street in San Francisco. On the one hand, it does clear up some things about his killer, but at the same time, I don’t know that the disclosure of his lifestyle is all that illuminating. There are plenty of people who do drugs, drink alcohol, and lead an unconventional lifestyle who don’t get murdered. I’ll let you make your own conclusions, which is why I ultimately decided to include it. (The WSJ; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“He was kind and generous—he saw the good in everybody.”
The prince with no throne: Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen is the 25-year-old heir apparent to the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. His great-grandfather was Charles I, the last emperor of Austria and the king of Hungary. Before him, other ancestors ruled for more than 600 years, presiding over a vast global empire. In 1918, at the end of World War I, Austria became a republic, and the Habsburgs were dethroned and sent into exile. The Habsburgs were allowed back into Austria if they renounced their claims to rule, which Habsburg’s grandfather Otto did in 1961. Today Austria is a democratic republic with a president, chancellor, and Parliament, and while some members of the former ruling family, like Habsburg himself, are living in Austria again, they still have no power or privilege.
“I’m so proud of my family and what they’ve done. But I get to live a different life.”
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