Crazy And In Charge

Brilliant tycoons have had a tendency to get eccentric, or worse

At first glance, the business world of the 20th century would not seem a propitious breeding ground for eccentricity. Businessmen and -women, in the main, pride themselves on probity, predictability. "Sober" and "well-rounded" are considered compliments. Little wonder, then, that a hectare of executives contains fewer kooks than just about any other sampling of humanity. Compared with poets and philosophers, bankers and industrialists have been relatively late adopters of berets, ferrets and home brewing. Yet, even so, the century has hatched its share of "true originals"--some of whom won fame and fortune, others who left only a gaudy afterglow.

The...

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