1964 — A Pivotal Year

Malcolm Forbes (1919–1991)

A Perfect Revolution

Revolutions are hard when you are third in line for succession to the throne, perhaps delusional. Any meaningful assault on the enemy is dubious. The glitterati went to great pains to remind him those who have everything should do nothing. But he knew better. Those who have everything should be willing to risk it for the cause. If they managed to bid on a few art pieces along the way, more power to them.

Family Feud

As the years passed, Malcolm withered, albeit on a delicious vine. He knew the day would come but just not when. He waited, dreamed, wondered. What neither Bruce nor the world at large considered was that Malcolm was a contrarian who loved the Sisyphean struggle, that twist of fate that sends the boulder back down the mountain every time until it doesn’t. That time you break it into pieces and clean up with a dustpan. The broken bits would form stepping stones that became visible only in hindsight. Malcolm thrived on adversity, and he had a plan to win.

The Egg Man

In 1936, Macmillan had taken a risk on a newcomer by the name of Margaret Mitchell. Her book was “Gone With The Wind.” It made him the most successful publisher in America. Nearly thirty years later, the new occupant had grander ambitions and would take even more significant risks not just with his magazine but his life and his money. Within a year, according to Forbes Magazine, he bid on a priceless jewel, one of the Fabergé eggs called “Duchess of Marlborough.” It sold for “three and a half times the estimated ceiling. The CFO later told me that he asked Malcolm how we pay for it?

The Boss

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