MALCOLM FORBES: Peripatetic Millionaire by Arthur Jones

MALCOLM FORBES: Peripatetic Millionaire

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Once upon a time, a wee Scotsman emigrated to America, toiled as a columnist for the fabled Hearst, and started a magazine which was devoted to ""doers and doings"" and which bore his own name. Now, 60 years later, Forbes magazine is owned, lock, stock and typefont, by the founder's son, Malcolm Forbes, who has a prepossessing accumulation of worldly goods and no small quantity of chutzpah. Though we lack the sainted Mencken to tell the story, Arthur Jones, formerly a Forbes staffer, doesn't miss many of Laird Malcolm's tricks. Less concerned with the publisher's craft displayed in his Fact and Comment page of Forbes or the interesting fundamentalist muckraking-on-the-fight tone of the magazine itself, Jones is at his best with Mr. Forbes' fun and money. The book is written with occasional shifts in time and place not uncharacteristic of its subject. From this account, Malcolm seems to have been infected in his youth by a surfeit of Douglas Fairbanks movies. The graying Rover Boy is seen alternately as cut-up Pincetonian, lordly collector, Moroccan adventurer, daredevil aeronaut, firm pater familias, dynamic capitalist, Fiji headman, and a variety of other cool disguises. All are tax deductible, because it's all promoting Forbes magazine, of course. Malcolm has sold his golden DC-9 jetliner, The Capitalist Tool, and has grounded his beautiful million-dollar balloon. (The weighted laundry carts were unstable launching devices). But the FabergÉ collection, the motorcycles, the Colorado ranch, the Wren townhouse in London, the palace in Tangier, the French chateau, the South Pacific island, the magazine, all represent Malcolm Forbes. He's the kind of guy who gives tax reform a good name--and has the wherewithal for a good story.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1977
Publisher: Harper & Row