The Profile: The LeBron James of short selling & the space company that almost failed

Good morning!

At the recommendation of my mom, I’m reading a book called ‘A House in the Sky.’ It’s about a woman trying to carve out a fledgling career as a television reporter. In August 2008, she travels to Somalia to give reporting a shot. On her fourth day, she gets abducted by a group of masked men and held hostage for 460 days. Needless to say, both of my parents have made me swear over and over again that I’ll never do foreign reporting. After this book, point taken.

On a related note, I have some travel coming up, so please reply to this email and give me your best (ideally, non-fiction) book suggestions.

Here we go:

— The woman defending Woody Allen [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The LeBron James of short selling
— The beloved lawyer who fell from grace
— The reformed rap legend
— The space company that almost failed

PEOPLE TO KNOW.

The woman defending Woody AllenBuckle up before you read this roller-coaster of a profile. As controversies swirled around her, Soon-Yi — the daughter of Mia Farrow and wife of Woody Allen — stayed silent for decades. Now, more than 25 years after the stepfather/teenage daughter affair that “broke every taboo,” Soon-Yi is ending her silence. And she has quite a lot to say. Once you start, you won’t be able to put this one down.

“I’m not a retarded little underage flower who was raped, molested, and spoiled by some evil stepfather — not by a long shot.”

The LeBron James of short sellingJim Chanos is the founder of the largest exclusive short selling investment firm, Kynikos Associates. He has been dubbed a "catastrophe capitalist" because he succeeds when others lose money. Kynikos is the lone short-selling hedge fund of any size — and the only one that that has been in business since 1985. He gained star power on Wall Street when he accurately predicted the demise of Enron. His next big short? Tesla Motors.

“People end up getting more enthralled with the story than they are with the numbers. When this market starts to crack, and they always do, there are a lot of investors who will come running to Chanos.”

The beloved lawyer who fell from graceThe last year has been an unprecedented PR disaster for the most prominent lawyer in America, David Boies. In October, his longtime client Harvey Weinstein was branded a sexual predator. Another high-profile client, Theranos, was exposed as a fraud. Now, Boies feels misunderstood. While he concedes he made mistakes, he maintains he was simply defending his clients’ interests to the best of his abilities. After all, isn’t that what a good lawyer is supposed to do? You decide.

“If you represent people who did bad things, the public is going to lash out at you. David may push hard, but that’s what’s required sometimes.”

The reformed rap legendIn the fall of 2013, Gucci Mane was in the midst of a hellacious addiction, drinking a pint of an opiate-laced concoction every day. He would eventually be sentenced to three years in federal prison. There, Gucci endured withdrawal, lost 25 pounds in two weeks & began thinking clearly for the first time. Five years since the incident, he’s skinny, sober, and married. This article chronicles Gucci's journey from “the boogeyman of Atlanta” to an inspiring public figure.

"They wanna see you fall. I get it. People love to see tragedy. You going through the worst things in your life—for somebody else, that's entertainment."

COMPANIES TO WATCH.

The space company that almost failedThree times, in 2006, 2007, and 2008, SpaceX tried to launch the Falcon 1 rocket from Omelek Island in the Pacific Ocean. Less than two months after the last failure, the company’s money was depleting. SpaceX had just one final rocket to launch, with only some spare components left over in its California factory. Under an immense amount of pressure, this attempt had to succeed or otherwise the company was done. This is the story of that launch.

“We all knew that the stakes were incredibly high. It was tense.”