Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday Feature Book Review: The Whims of Fortune (Billionaire Memoirs) by Guy de Rothschild ロスチャイルド自伝!(億万長者の回顧録) ギー・ド ロスチャイルド

These billionaire memoirs by the late Guy de Rothschild do not disappoint. His famous family, the Rothschilds, perhaps the richest family in the world, is full of history. The original German founder in the 1760s, asked his sons, the core five Rothschild brothers, to build the very first multi-national bank in Europe. The 5 arrows in various coats of arms and symbols represented the family motto of being industrious certainly has been true.

This innovative jewish family were the first to create a cross border letter of credit. They continued to have had strong banking DNA that passed on well across the generations. Guy took over the bank's direction in Paris, and stretched it further to New York and the US market. Although a later generation, I see him as a key sixth member of the family to expand the firm's reach and making them truly global in ability. 

Although personal memoirs, are the perfect window into a Ultra High Net Worth family, they have great business balance to them as well. The glamorous lifestyle of the 1% is all here. The race horses, French chateau properties, hunting & shooting weekends, support for the arts, and a long list of galas full of celebrities are all well documented here. The Bordeaux wine of great fame, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, owned by the family for over 100 years, has always helped spread the fame of the family's wealth & prestige globally.

What is most surprising to the reader though, may be Guy's military career during World War Two. He seems to have been very happy to be a simple soldier and came out well, once tested in battle. He was given a medal for his valor and got recognized by General Charles de Gaulle. The circle of life recrossed again when both paths after de Gaulle became head of state. 

Another clear connection is a politician who started out as a manager within the Rothschild bank in Paris, Georges Pompidou. A brilliant man of high EQ (emotional intelligence) not just high IQ, he later replaced de Gaulle as the president of France. Maria Callas, Coco Chanel, and even Salvador Dali, was a famous artist of the time all feature here. They were often at the same parties with George and Guy. Queen Elizabeth, and her love of horses also make an appearance in this memoir full of many varied and rich slices of life. Some of these parties have been legendary and discussed as part of the illuminati crowd. The bizarre dress at one of those remarkable events held at a the family castle, even inspired a scene from "Eyes Wide Shut" starring Tom Cruise,  can only be described visually as Dali-esque!

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a clear intermingling with multi-generational HNWI families and their wealth and politics. Wealth is about any decent return of capital learned by family members internally!

2) The Rothschilds are not technically aristocrats within British society has they have not survived as English nobles for 500+ years.

3) Keeping strong economically after initial financial success has never been easy to families to continue past many generations, but the Rothschilds have always found a way for over 250+ years.

How this key individual Guy de Rothschild, criss-crossed among politicians, statesman, celebrities, businessmen, and the world of horse racing is fascinating. The very revealing and open access to one of the world's wealthiest families is a pleasant surprise. It also leaves any reader with a great satisfaction into a life well lived and fully enjoyed. Highly recommended, without question.

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