And randomly, while walking down the street, Ackman will compliment or disparage people’s appearance.
If he says something negative, he sometimes follows it up with an offer to introduce them to his personal trainer or nutritionist.
When the Observer sat down with Ackman at a cafe, he 'ordered an egg white omelet with spinach and onions, insisting on no cheese even after repeated offers from the waitress. He turned down coffee, as well...'
He has a nutritionist and a personal trainer.
Bill Ackman gave a single tip to fellow hedge funder and Harvard grad, Whitney Tilson, when he was just starting out: read all of Warren Buffett's investor letters.
Plus, he looks to Buffett for his investment record goals: 'That's why I have to be healthy. It's not just compounding a high rate; it's living a long time. Buffett has a 55-year-old record. I've got a seven-and-a-half-year-old record.'
Both Carl Icahn and Ackman are activist investors 'known for... taking huge stakes in the bluest of blue-chip companies and then agitating for changes.' So the comparison is often made.
But Ackman, 'who considers his work as benevolent and beneficial... hates the comparison to the notorious corporate raider.'
Eliot Spitzer and the SEC began investigating Ackman's old firm, Gotham Partners in 2003, after muni-bond insurer MBIA alleged there was a 'conspiracy to drive down its stock price.'
Funnily, after the scandal had died down, 'Spitzer even turned to him for advice, meeting him at a diner off the Taconic Parkway... Mr. Ackman had prepared a long list of suggestions on how to recapitalize MBIA.'
He has a masterful trick for getting people to value his advice: tell them what they DON'T want to hear
According to Ackman: 'If your wife asks you whether she looks good in a dress, and every time you tell her she looks beautiful, she won't believe you. But if you tell her, 'Well ... ,' and then other times, 'Wow, that's a really beautiful dress,' then she really appreciates it. And it's the same thing with friendships and CEOs.'
Almost anyone who has met Ackman 'has either been complimented or insulted regarding his or her appearance... He has been known to stop people on the street corner and give them advice...'
An ex-Bloomberg reporter described this insult issue like this: 'Bill's a fixer. He just looks at everything as how can I sort this out, including people, and it can take some people aback. I guess it's like, does he care, or does it just bug him?'
Ackman and his wife Karen 'host singles parties at their $26 million Beresford apartment... They are demure, catered affairs with a minimum of alcohol and a maximum of conversation, say former attendees, where 10 married couples bring their 10 most eligible friends.'
Ackman says he's 'yenta'd at least four marriages.'
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