PERSONNEL: Forbes's 50

In 1906, a young Scotsman who was earning $25 a week as a financial reporter made an unusual investment. From his savings, he spent $10 a day to live at Manhattan's old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. There he could rub elbows with the rich who gathered nightly in "Peacock Alley" to swap gossip. Before long, Bertie Charles Forbes was on speaking terms with many a tycoon. He became the rich man's Poor Richard and Boswell. As a Hearst columnist and later as publisher of his own Forbes—Magazine of Business, "B.C." found a hundred ways of repeating the obvious ("Dawn will come....

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