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Robert Lenzner
Robert Lenzner is a former Contributing Editor for Forbes magazine and a former columnist for He joined Forbes as a Senior Editor in September 1992 and has also served as National Editor. His areas of expertise include Wall Street, investment banking, finance, the oil industry, corporate takeovers, insider trading and litigation. Prior to joining Forbes, Mr. Lenzner was a Columnist for the Boston Globe and the Dallas Morning News from 1990 to 1992. He was New York Correspondent for the Boston Globe from 1971 to 1982 and their New York Bureau Chief from 1983 to 1990. He was also a Correspondent for The Economist from 1973 to 1992. From 1969 to 1970 Mr. Lenzner was Manager of the Arbitrage Department at Oppenheimer & Co., and he was assistant to the partner in charge of trading and arbitrage at Goldman Sachs & Co. from 1962 to 1968. Mr. Lenzner has appeared on "Forbes on Fox," "Forbes on Radio," the BBC, CNN, CNBC and MSNBC. He can address Wall Street, the market, interest rates, white-collar crime, housing, the dollar and corporate governance. He is the author of The Great Getty, a biography of J. Paul Getty, which spent 13 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, rising to number three. His articles have also appeared in Barron's, Vanity Fair, the (London) Financial Times, the New York Observer and the Rocky Mountain News, among others. Mr. Lenzner has a B.A. (cum laude) from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. He also attended Oxford University from 1957 to 1958.

Entries by Robert Lenzner

John Whitehead, Financier, Statesman, Philanthropist

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 1:37 PM

John Whitehead, who died at 92 several days ago, was the classic personification of the American Dream come true. The son of a lowly telephone utility workman, John financed himself through Haverford College by setting up the pins at a local bowling alley, and then hiring others to work for...

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Why There Will Never Be Another Warren Buffett

(2) Comments | Posted May 7, 2012 | 5:36 PM

I want to tell you a story about Warren Buffett that I personally cherish, and that sheds light on his admirable character.

My son, Jed Lenzner, was just a tot when the notes from Omaha started coming to inquire when I was bringing him to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting....

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Jamie Dimon's 8 Reasons for Buying JP Morgan Shares

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2012 | 5:20 PM

Jamie Dimon emulates Warren Buffett in his 38-page letter to JPM shareholders -- as argument for why JP Morgan Chase is exceptionally good value for long term investors, still bruised from the collapse of bank shares in the 2008 meltdown. Buffett talks about how BRK intrinsic value is...

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You Can't Trust the Wise Men of Finance

(4) Comments | Posted April 9, 2012 | 10:35 AM

I have my doubts about the the wisdom of our entrusted Wise Men in understanding the past in order to predict the future.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told a George Washington University class last week ( I saw it on C-Span) that the 2008 financial crisis took place because "nobody...

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Obama's Inept, Elitist Political Warfare

(135) Comments | Posted April 6, 2012 | 3:24 PM

Your talk to the Society of Newspaper Editors was more political warfare than a primer in math or or an effective attack on class warfare, Mr. President. You lost me and most of America with all your talk about Trojan Horses and Social Darwinism, as I thought I...

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The Folie De Grandeur of Rogue Traders

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2011 | 8:13 PM

Listen up! I have just finished reading the brilliant, fast-paced How To Be A Rogue Trader in global finance by the prize-winning Associate Editor of the Financial Times, John Gapper and hereby recommend it as required reading (ASAP) by the CEOs, risk officers, derivatives traders, boards of directors, accountants and...

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FDR vs. the House of Morgan Over Who Caused Crash of 1929

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 8:40 AM

This debate has been going on ever since there were crises, bear markets, even depressions.

Let's go to the record book (thanks to MM Thomas, a partner in the old Lehman Bros., and later at Drexel Burnham)

In 1932, before election day, Russell Leffingwell, a top partner of of the...

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Obama's Incoherent Economic Policy-Making

(68) Comments | Posted September 26, 2011 | 5:17 PM

The only conclusion you can reach from reading Ron Suskind's Confidence Men, an informal history of Wall Street and the White House under Barack Obama, is one of childish rivalries, a lack of decisiveness and follow-through -- in short a chapter in White House Amateursville and morale-killing that had nothing...

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Europe Is a Sovereign Debt Crisis and a Bank Solvency Crisis

(85) Comments | Posted September 14, 2011 | 5:40 PM

The European crisis looks to be worse than 2008 in the U.S. That's because it is both a sovereign debt problem for Greece, Portugal and possibly Spain, as well as a a crisis for the European banking system, whose shares are losing value almost every day.

In the U.S., you...

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There Is No Cure and Very Little Money to Treat Alzheimer's

(3) Comments | Posted September 13, 2011 | 6:25 PM

Moses Chao, one of the wisest men I know, and a leading NYU neuroscientist, has been warning me for two years about the danger of not finding a cure for Alzheimer's, a debilitating disease of the brain that currently affects some 5 million Americans over the age of...

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500 Million People Will Be Displaced By the Melting Glaciers in Greenland and the Himalyas

(8) Comments | Posted September 6, 2011 | 4:38 PM

The Greenland glaciers are very nearly melted altogether, reports Rob Purves, an Australian environmental consultant and board member of World Wildlife Fund Intl., whom I met last week in Lake Louise, Alberta, one of the wonders of the world and on the UNESCO list of protected places.

Purves, a no-nonsense,...

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The Wishful Thinking Department Of the U.S.A.

(21) Comments | Posted September 6, 2011 | 11:17 AM

There is a powerful lot of wishful thinking going on about the American economy these days, starting at the very top. President Obama has promised that we will always be a Triple A nation -- despite just having had our credit rating reduced for the first time in our history....

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Time Is Running Out on a High Stakes Showdown

(1) Comments | Posted July 24, 2011 | 5:40 PM

We are in a most unpleasant quandary. No win-win in the offing. Lose-lose maybe. At best minor win-win or lose-win. I can't see the financial markets anywhere responding well tomorrow -- except for the golden goldies (GLD).

If Obama folds and accepts cuts on the middle class and old folks...

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The Murdoch Coverup Appears To Be Cracking

(6) Comments | Posted July 22, 2011 | 5:31 PM

Rupert Murdoch cannot be pleased by the aftershocks of the hearing before Parliament.

Two former News International executives whose duties were key to the News of the World scandal have publicly denounced James Murdoch's assertion he knew nothing about the widespread hacking of soccer union leader Gordon Taylor...

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Rebekah Brooks Might Have to Turn on Murdoch

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2011 | 6:06 PM

A wise legal counselor who advises wealthy families suggested to me over lunch today that Rebekah Brooks could find herself in the very same pickle that DeeDee Brooks, the President of Sotheby's, found herself in when the government began its investigation of price fixing in the art world. To ensure...

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A System That Appears Broken to the World

(1) Comments | Posted July 18, 2011 | 4:20 PM

Financial markets are fragile and teetering due to the debt impasse in the US and the unruly contagion of sovereign debt crisis in Europe, says Mihir Desai, Harvard finance professor. "Our (financial) system appears broken to the rest of the world."

MIT economist Simon Johnson lays down the bold challenge...

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Rupert Murdoch Could Take News Corp. Private

(20) Comments | Posted July 15, 2011 | 9:30 AM

Rupert Murdoch's $5 billion share repurchase plan of News Corp. shares is equal to 12% of News Corp's $42 billion market cap. As the Murdoch family has 47% voting control, this $5 billion move could be the first step in taking out the public shareholders -- and ensuring...

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China's 10% Growth Rate Is Over

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2011 | 10:32 AM

Subscribe to the Economist's recorded reading of the entire issue from last week, which gives you a clearer view of what's in store for China. The inflation is still high, and the 10% annual growth rate of the last decade is going to wither to under 5% by...

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The Contagion of Write-Offs in Europe

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2011 | 8:16 AM

There must be a contagion of write-offs, sooner or later. Take Greece for example; its 2 year notes are yielding over 29%, but the institutions holding that debt are still valuing the paper at 100 cents on the dollar. And that's just Greece, a small nation on the eastern border...

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Reduce Debt -- or Face Deflationary Depression

(38) Comments | Posted June 14, 2011 | 12:39 PM

MPD -- the marginal productivity of debt -- all debt that is consumer, corporate and government -- is producing less and less of national income -- wages, profits,and interest income. MPD is suffocating GDP. For decades every new dollar of debt "has created incrementally less and less national income and...

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