The Profile: The wealth detective & the most toxic family in America

Good morning, friends.

To me, The Profile is not just a newsletter. It’s a community of really smart people who share a love for thought-provoking articles, books, and ideas. (If you haven’t already joined the Telegram channel, check it out here.)

Over the last year, I’ve published several guest posts, and they have not disappointed. Here are some of insightful excerpts:

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits

“A habit must be established before it can be improved. You have to make it the standard in your life before you can worry about making it better. Master the art of showing up. Reinforce this new identity. Make it your new normal. There will be plenty of time for optimization once you show up each day.”

Shane Parrish, founder of Farnam Street:

“Inversion is a powerful tool to improve your thinking because it helps you identify and remove obstacles to success. The root of inversion is ‘invert,’ which means to upend or turn upside down. As a thinking tool, it means approaching a situation from the opposite end of the natural starting point. Most of us tend to think one way about a problem: forward. Inversion allows us to flip the problem around and think backward. Sometimes it’s good to start at the beginning, but it can be more useful to start at the end.”

Katie Hawkins-Gaar, writer & journalist:

“That flicker of fear — what if something bad happens? — will always exist. But that doesn’t mean it has to take over. Brené Brown found through her research that the happiest people have learned not to feed their worries when they arise. So what’s the secret? There are some key things you can do to avoid transforming joy into fear.”

Kara Lynn Joyce, three-time U.S. Olympic swimmer:

“Athletes are built to be resilient. It’s in our DNA, it’s who we are, and it’s something we learned at a very young age. Every athlete has experienced trying times, and what we all have in common is that we have picked ourselves up and tried again. The same applies to business. After many years of training, I’ve learned that you can’t expect immediate success. It takes years of practice, patience, trial and error, and relentless repetition in order to achieve anything remotely close to success.”

If you’re interested in writing a guest post on a certain topic, please fill out this form & I will reach out to you to discuss further.

PS: I read a lot of newsletters every day. This afternoon, I will send you a copy of one that I’ve come to really enjoy, and I hope you will too. Just making sure you have plenty of reading material for the long weekend :)

In the meantime, this week’s articles are absolute must-reads:

The most toxic family in America [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The wealth detective
— The actor coping with trauma
 The powerful lawyer who fell from grace
— The meatless burger empire
— The retailer that self-destructed
The world’s most polarizing pop star


👉 If you enjoy reading profiles of the most successful people and companies, click here to tweet so others can enjoy it too.


PEOPLE TO KNOW.

The most toxic family in America: Joss Sackler (yep, of those Sacklers) should never, ever, ever have agreed to speak to a reporter. But for some unknown reason, she did. While her husband and his family are being sued for making billions off the opioid crisis, she’s promoting a fashion line. This profile asks the question: Can you just go about the business of living your life, even though the life you have would not be the life you have if it weren’t for all that  “blood” money?

“Are you going to write about what I choose? Or describe how I look off into the distance angrily when the name Sackler comes up?”

The wealth detective: Gabriel Zucman, 32, is the world’s foremost expert on where the wealthy hide their money. Zucman has discovered that the world’s rich were stowing at least $7.6 trillion in offshore accounts; 80% of those assets were hidden from governments, resulting in about $200 billion in lost tax revenue per year. Meet the man devoting his career to probing the secrets of the ultra-rich.

“The wealth is not visible in plain sight—it’s visible in the data.”

The actor coping with trauma: Keanu Reeves has carved out a stellar career, but it hasn’t come without personal tragedy. His father left the family when he was a teenager. In 1999, his long-term girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, gave birth to their daughter Ava, who was stillborn. Two years later Syme died in a car accident. Reeves has never married, had any other children or even been linked to other romantic partners since. This profile explores grief, family, fame, and trauma.

“Grief and loss, those are things that don’t ever go away. They stay with you.”

The powerful lawyer who fell from grace: Remember the glowing Michael Avenatti profile from last summer? How the tide has turned. Avenatti, the lawyer who represented porn star Stormy Daniels, is now described as a hyper-aggressive narcissist with shadows in his past. For a few months, he even thought he could be president. Then his demons caught up with him.

“Keep your feet moving. As soon as you put your head down or your feet stop moving, they tackle you.”

COMPANIES TO WATCH.

The meatless burger empire: Impossible Foods did the impossible — it made a genetically engineered vegan burger trendy. The company wants 2019 to be its breakout year. It’s about to launch a new sausage product, the first expansion beyond ground beef. It aims to be in both grocery stores and Burger King locations nationwide by December. Ultimately, Impossible wants to create a world that eliminates the use of animals in the food industry. Will that be possible?

"We're not just a technology company. We are, right now, the most important technology company on earth."

The retailer that self-destructed: Sears’ bankruptcy filing last year sparked torrents of criticism for its current leaders. But the problems that brought down this former stalwart date way back to the Eisenhower era. Here’s a look inside Sears’ seven-decades of self-destruction.

“Decline is just like ascent, a cumulative process. The decline of a great company only looks instantaneous because you notice it when it’s acute. That’s what’s so dangerous about it.”

THROWBACK.

The world’s most polarizing pop star: Depending on how you feel about Taylor Swift, you either think she’s calculating or strategic. Manipulative or thoughtful. Fake or authentic. In this 2015 GQ profile, Swift sets the record straight — she’s calculating, she says, but not in the negative sense. “You can be accidentally successful for three or four years. Accidents happen. But careers take hard work,” she says.

“Am I shooting from the hip? Would any of this have happened if I was?”