Because of a jam-packed week, my time at this year's World Economic Forum was limited. But as is always the case with Davos, there were more than a few snapshot-worthy moments.
Things got off to an interesting start before I even arrived. I happened to be on the same flight from D.C. to Zurich as Larry Summers, who was reading Martin Jacques' weighty tome, "When China Rules the World. His review: "Interesting...and disturbing."
I arrived in Davos and went straight to the Newsweek lunch hosted by Lally Weymouth and Fareed Zakaria. Lally had Israeli president Shimon Peres seated on her right and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on her left. But the real tension at her table was between Barney Frank and Gary Cohn, the president and COO of Goldman Sachs.
After the lunch, I chatted with Harvard's Niall Ferguson about the State of the Union speech. "The president's spending freeze is a joke," he exclaimed. Finally, I told him, something you and Paul Krugman agree on!
Then it was off to CNBC's outdoor studio where I was interviewed by Becky Quick for Squawk Box. Here is the clip. Never mind what I said; just take in the gorgeous surroundings -- it's all about the Davos backdrop!
Friday night brought a wave of end-of-week parties.
At the Towers Watson/Wall Street Journal gathering, I ran into Alan Murray, executive editor of the Journal's online operations. Alan and I go way back, and found ourselves reminiscing about the days when our children were in kindergarten and elementary school together in Washington. Back then, neither one of us could ever have imagined that, 15 years later, we'd both be up to our necks in the digital world, living and breathing online news.
As usual, the Google party was packed. Maybe, for Davos, they can temporarily replace "Do No Evil" with "Get More Room." On my way out, I ran into Jacob Weisberg, who had been imbibing at the flavored oxygen bar. I asked him how it was. "Great," he told me, a smile breaking across his face. "It gave me enough energy to last for another hour." His favorite O2 flavor? Eucalyptus.
On Saturday morning I took part in a CNBC debate on gender parity with Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Orit Gadiesh, chairman of Bain and Company. (Read more about the debate here.)
One of the "challengers" at the event was Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. At the end of the discussion, which included much talk about how things would be different if women were in charge, Kristof wondered what would have happened if Lehman Brothers had, in fact, been Lehman Brothers and Sisters.
I said it might still be standing, since the highest form of leadership is the ability to look around corners and see the iceberg before it hits the Titanic. If women are better at maintaining the work-life balance, a less-frazzled, less sleep-deprived Lehman sister might have been able to spot the looming iceberg through the fog of highly leveraged profits and sound the alarm in time.
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