That weekend I spent with you, Jen and the girls in February, 2009 you were still reeling from the loss of your business, your dream, your job, your life savings. Your company went bankrupt, you filed for unemployment. You were still guilty from not meeting payroll and having to let your staff go, many of whom were your friends.
You were hurting, more even than I can imagine. And late on that cold Friday night in lower Manhattan, after the girls were in bed, I reminded you that through your magazines and events for Wall Streeters, you had seen it all. Not as a rich man, but as an insider. It was a unique position, dead center, among but not of. You were observing as a journalist and then you became an integral part of the scene you were covering, kind of like Nick Carraway, in The Great Gatsby. And you became them, but not quite.
I said to you, almost under my breath, "There's a book there."
You were too shaken to agree. But the next morning, after a little sleep, you got it. There was a book there. Not just a book, but maybe the book about the era from 2001 to 2009.
You, Jen and I spent the weekend recalling the stories and anecdotes: about the ultra-rich of the Street, of course, but also McCain, Gore, Travolta, Diana Ross, Peter Max, Martha Stewart, Jesse Jackson and on and on and on. And most of all, the former baseball player, Lenny Dysktra. He alone could be a symbol for the obscene decade you called The Zeroes.
And so you wrote the detailed outline, and got the agent you wanted, and the publisher you wanted, Penguin, which took the book as fast as they could. (I always loved penguins!) And at the same time the book was taken, you were asked to join The Daily Beast, as editor-at-large. So you went from unemployment to two jobs, practically in one day. An embarrassment of almost-riches.
The next year and a half would be crammed with research and work. You hoped to write the memoir in six months, but you took almost a year, working nights and weekends. You worked slowly. Jen and I waited for the chapters, and we made some comments. I turned them around as fast as I could.
And just like in 10th grade when you wrote about the Spanish Armada, and in 11th grade when you wrote about waiting in line for Springsteen tickets (and the New York Times bought the article!), there was little I could fault.
I think The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade Wall Street Went Insane is great, but I'm your mom. Jen think's it's great, but she's your wife. Now we have to see what others think.
Whatever happens, Rand, I couldn't be prouder of you. I'm more excited for you than I possibly could be for myself. I will follow your journey on your website, as the reviews come in.
I wish you the best of luck, because no matter how interesting and well-written The Zeroes may be, you'll need it. And you'll also need great marketing. And timing, which maybe is luck.
An exciting adventure is beginning. Enjoy the moment. And know that I love you always, and no matter what.