A few years ago, for reasons I won’t go into deeply, I ran out of money. It had something to do with the birth of my third child in five years and the way my old lazy life gave way to a terrible need to earn. Had money not been such a concern, I might have written a novel about high school or a book of sonnets, but it was such a concern, and that’s how I came to know Teddy Forstmann.
Teddy was what Tom Wolfe described as a Master of the Universe, a pioneer of the private-equity industry, a legend in the buyout trade. Over the course of his career, he became one of the richest men in America.
The first time I met Teddy, in the spring of 2010, he said he wanted to dedicate the upcoming year to “the three B’s: Business, Book, Body.” That was at Cipriani on Fifth Avenue between 59th and 60th, across from Central Park, where, for several minutes before the meeting, I sat on a bench thinking, What do I want with this rich man? The lunch had been arranged by my agent—a new agent. I’d go...