From Publishers Weekly
Now 76 years old, Wolfensohn (Voice of the World's Poor) has had a rich and varied life as an investment banker, chairman of Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, head of the World Bank, and finally advocate of peace as special envoy to the Middle East. The first third of the book is devoted to a fascinating chronicle of his early life growing up in a close-knit, middle-class Jewish family. His parents, who emigrated from Britain to Australia, faced tough financial times during the Great Depression and over-coddled the young Wolfensohn, expecting him to excel. Though he nearly flunked out of Sidney University, he ultimately earned a law degree and went on to receive an MBA at Harvard and become a U.S. citizen. He writes candidly of the mistakes he made during his long and successful career and the lessons they taught him. Married to his college sweetheart, with three children, he claims that the idea of writing this book, "grew out of a desire to leave... a record of the events that shaped me" for his adult children, and in the hope that younger readers might be encouraged to "follow at least some part of the path he has taken."
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Wolfensohn, investment banker, diplomat, musician, arts patron, and influential player on the global stage, recounts his boyhood in Australia, his education there and abroad, and his marriage and return to Australia to engage in investments and merchant banking while his young family grew. In 1968 he moved to Schroders in London, participating in the Eurodollar revolution, which created the impetus for a new phase of globalization in financial markets, and over time led their New York and London efforts. He joined Salomon Brothers in New York in the early 1980s, where he witnessed the fierce competition and the innovative skills of Wall Street as he built their corporate-finance department and then later formed his own firm. The wide reach of his community interests included chairmanships of Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington before being named president of the World Bank in 1995. He notes themes that inspired my presidency: fighting poverty, using technology and education to document and spread knowledge, and protecting the environment. --Mary Whaley