Reading about Teddy Forstmann, an original Master of the Universe, in Vanity Fair this weekend. And whether money really can’t buy happiness.

This weekend was pretty busy, but I finally had some time to myself.

My barometer for this is the fact that I’ve finally been able to get through the back issues of the publications I regularly read, that have been piling up by my night table.

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I’ve already blogged about the publications that I read regularly, aside from Travelife  Magazine, the leading travel & lifestyle publication.

For the record, there are only three I read religiously and almost cover to cover.

These include: Vanity Fair, as long as it’s not an issue about movie stars or Hollywood; Architectural Digest, again except for their occasional Hollywood issue; and the FT Weekend.

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This afternoon, I read an article in an old issue of Vanity Fair about Teddy Forstmann, the New York-based financier who was one of the original Masters of the Universe of the world.

Like many very successful people, he lived a life with a public side and a private side, and he had to cope with demons and challenges that not many other people can really imagine unless they too are playing in the big leagues.

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The article was written in a very witty way by a man hired to be his ghostwriter for his autobiography.

Unfortunately he and Teddy Forstmann  had a falling out midway and then Forstmann died of brain cancer before the book could ever be completed.

The man painted a portrait of Forstmann as an incredibly rich but incredibly lonely man. His life was reportedly full of glamour and excitement, but behind the scenes it was largely an unhappy one.

It was a terribly interesting read, but it also left me slightly uncomfortable about how someone who had not really lived Forstmann’s life — both the good and the bad aspects of it — could be so judgmental about the kind of life Forstmann led, and whether he was truly happy or not.

Especially as Forstmann is dead so he can’t refute anything written about him.

I don’t really know anyone in Teddy Forstmann’s league, but I do know a number of people who would be considered in the minor leagues of this game in New York, Tokyo and London.

And one thing I’ve realized is that they are truly special people in both positive and negative ways.

You simply cannot achieve this level of success without being extraordinary, and — unfortunately —without a lot of baggage and a lot of fatalities along the way.


Some things have really got to suffer, when you’re “going for the gold,” as people say, meaning the ultimate prize or the ultimate of whatever it is you want to achieve.

No one extraordinary is really normal. It’s the price they pay for great success and it’s their choice to do so.

It’s also just an entirely different world.

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This got me thinking about how judgmental people can be of lives they’ve never lived, but have just witnessed a part of.

In one sense, we’re all the same: we all want to be happy.

But some people are lucky enough to know exactly what makes them happy and how to go about getting to this state.

I find that very successful people are generally very focused on achieving this, and that their idea of happiness is quite different from 95% of the population.

Sometimes being happy involves money, and other times it doesn’t — so I don’t agree with people who like to keep using that apple-pie statement that “money can’t buy happiness.”

It’s all different for everyone, and everyone is entitled to try their luck at getting and keeping their idea of happiness.

So when people start judging others for the way they live their lives, I change the topic or leave the room.

In this case, I put my magazine down for a cup of tea and some fresh air, on one of my few lazy afternoons in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.