The Profile: The CEO trying to rebrand CNN & the happiness fixer for the ultra-rich
This edition of The Profile features Chris Licht, Charlie Javice, A.G. Sulzberger, and more.
Good morning, friends!
My book, Hidden Genius, is out in two days! When I started writing in February 2022, the book was just an idea in my head. Then, it turned into a book proposal, then a sample chapter, then an edited chapter, then a manuscript, then a PDF proof, then a proofread PDF proof, and finally a real physical book.
For the duration of this process, the book was mine. And starting this Tuesday, June 20, it will be yours.
I just read Morgan Housel’s brilliant piece on compounding optimism (it starts with the story of an asexual pregnant crocodile. highly recommend you read it). In it, he shares the following quote from Visa founder Dee Hock: “A book is far more than what the author wrote; it is everything you can imagine and read into it as well.”
As we near the end of my journey and the beginning of yours, this is my hope for each and every one of you: I hope you discover a small germ of an idea that sparks something within you and makes you think — something I could’ve never conceived of while writing the book.
Someone who recently read the book recently told me that my book was about the fragility of identity. Someone else told me they thought the book was an investing book even though I only mention investing 21 times in 222 pages. Both of those perspectives are true interpretations of my work because they are personal and true to those who read it.
Ironically, this is my only hope for the book — that you interpret it from your current life lens, become inspired by someone else’s life lens, and go on to discover your own hidden genius.
In his piece, Morgan says how we’re all influenced by someone before us and that ideas live in the most surprising places. He writes, “Did George Wheelwright know that he would influence Edwin Land, who would then influence Steve Jobs, who would then design a phone that 2.5 billion people would use?”
And this is exactly why I believe that reading about other people’s “hidden genius” can help us discover our own. I define “hidden genius” as the differentiator that makes a person truly exceptional. It could be a mental framework, a practical tidbit, or a timeless piece of wisdom that casts them as luminaries of their time.
As Morgan concludes: “It’s so hard to know what an idea, or an invention, or a philosophy, will influence, and what a person who’s influenced by it will go on to create.”
— The CEO trying to rebrand CNN [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The happiness fixer for the ultra-rich
— The founder accused of fooling JPMorgan
— The publisher grappling with battles inside the NYT
— The legendary book editor
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The CEO trying to rebrand CNN: When he took the helm of CNN, in May 2022, Chris Licht had promised a reset with Republican voters—and with their leader. He told his employees that the network had lost its way under former President Jeff Zucker, that their hostile approach to Donald Trump had alienated a broader viewership that craved sober, fact-driven coverage. These assertions thrust Licht into a two-front war: fighting to win back Republicans who had written off the network while also fighting to win over his own journalists, many of whom believed that their new boss was scapegoating them to appease his new boss. But Licht felt he was on a mission to restore the network’s reputation for serious journalism. How did it all go so wrong? (The Atlantic, reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“I don’t want people to think of CNN, Fox, and MSNBC in the same sentence.”
The happiness fixer for the ultra-rich: Rey Flemings has become one of the premiere fixers for the global elite, a Jeeves-like magician who professes to be able to make the wildest dreams of some of the richest people in the world come true. He can get clients into locker rooms, secure them private hospital wings during a pandemic, and help get them into most exclusive places in the world. More than that, though, he gives the rich a place to admit what they can’t say publicly: that they need help finding happiness.
“Nobody wants to cry for rich people and the 1 percent, but it is an odd, lonely world.”
The founder accused of fooling JPMorgan: Entrepreneur Charlie Javice was on track to sell her second startup to JPMorgan for a dizzying $175 million—only to have it all fall apart after she was accused of faking a customer list. In April, Javice was arrested by the Department of Justice and embroiled in a lawsuit with JPMorgan Chase where she was repeatedly and very publicly accused of fraud. Javice has always maintained in various court filings that JPMorgan knew exactly what it was buying and still rushed to do the deal. So who exactly is Charlie Javice (Fortune; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“She struck me as a striver, which is not unusual.”
The publisher grappling with battles inside the NYT: Another profile, another head of a news organizations grappling with the effects of Trump presidency. In this longform Q&A, New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger talks about whether the paper’s coverage “tilted” the 2016 election, the constant criticisms of the paper, and the internal newsroom battles. (The New Yorker)
“I’ve heard thirty different arguments about what tilted the balance of that election. I hate going down any one of these rabbit holes.”
The legendary book editor: Robert Gottlieb turned hundreds of manuscripts into well-received books, many of which sold millions of copies, won awards and made authors wealthy and famous. Colleagues called him incisive but sensitive to writers’ eggshell egos. Most famously, he edited Robert Caro’s Pulitzer-Prize winning biography of Robert Moses, “The Power Broker” (1974), cutting 400,000 words from a million-word manuscript. Despite the brutal cuts, their collaboration endured for five decades. Take a look at the life at one of the most eminent book editors of our time. (The New York Times)
“I never had an editor to touch him, in any country — nobody who could compare with him.”
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