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March 22, 2005
The billionaire next door
In The New Yorker, James Surowiecki takes a closer look at the "cult of the billionaire next door." Hotshot CEOs like Ebbers, Rigas, Lay and Scrushy all were local boys who made it big before seeing their hometown empires crumble away. They were "outsiders and visionaries" who also turned out to be "hucksters":
"They all presided over companies that they essentially built from nothing. They all treated these companies as their own personal property. And they all came to be dominant figures in their home towns... Some of these ponds are smaller than others, but in each instance the soon-to-be-disgraced C.E.O. was the biggest fish around."
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