A Nose for Trouble: Sotheby's, Lehman Brothers, and My Life of Redefining Adversity

A Nose for Trouble: Sotheby's, Lehman Brothers, and My Life of Redefining Adversity

by Michael Ainslie, Richard Evans


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This is the remarkable memoir of Michael Ainslie, a man who has always embraced the adventures and misadventures of business and life. In A Nose for Trouble,he describes his personal experience with several high profile events, including the 2008 bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers: He was one of ten people in the Lehman boardroom on the evening of September 14, 2008 who saw firsthand the events that led to the largest bankruptcy filing in US history. And he offers readers an insider’s view of the situations surrounding the price-fixing scandal between Sotheby’s and Christie’s, a scandal that rocked the art world and sent the ex-chair of Sotheby’s to prison.

Ainslie also shares about his early beginnings in life; his career as president, CEO, and board member across numerous companies and institutions; and his work to transform kids’ lives through the Posse Foundation. Whether he’s being carried out of his high school graduation on a stretcher, escaping a riot in Vietnam, facing death threats in NYC, battling a worldwide oil embargo, meeting with First Lady Nancy Reagan on the day her husband was shot, or revamping the USTA, Ainslie’s memoir shows that sometimes, the greatest lessons in life are a direct result of the adversities we face.

A Nose for Trouble is about accepting a challenge, redefining misfortune, and rising above. In this fascinating life story of leadership and change, Michael Ainslie teaches readers that the best parts of ourselves often come out of our hardest moments.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626346710
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 01/07/2020
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 493,030
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Michael Ainslie is the former president and CEO of Sotheby’s, the former president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Prevention, and a former director of Lehman Brothers. He was also the founding chairman of the Posse Foundation, serving in that role for 13 years and continuing today as an active board member and mentor to scores of Posse scholars and alums. Posse has sent over 9,200 young urban leaders in 10-person cohorts (posses) to elite universities on full-tuition leadership scholarships. 90% of Posse scholars graduate, and they are taking on leadership roles in the workplace.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Lehman Brothers-September 14, 2008 4

1 The Vote in the Boardroom 5

Early Years 10

2 Early Lessons in Life 11

3 Addison's Disease and the End of My Athletic Dreams 16

Vanderbilt Years 20

4 Learning to Lead 21

Traveling the World in My Twenties 24

5 Expanding My Worldview 25

6 Corkscrew Landing in Vietnam 37

Career Beginnings 43

7 Death Threats in New York City 44

Work and Life in Puerto Rico 50

8 My First Real Business Venture and the Oil Embargo That Swamped It 51

Refocusing the National Trust 61

9 My Path to Public Service 62

10 Partner Building 68

Modernizing Sotheby's 80

11 The Changing of an Institution 81

12 Unconventional Approaches 91

13 The Building of the Top Auction House 103

14 Behind the Scenes 111

15 The Sotheby's Price-Fixing Scandal 122

Revamping the USTA 131

16 Serving in Professional Tennis 132

The Lehman Collapse 143

17 An Inside View 144

18 The Truth of the Matter 156

Family 163

19 Suzanne and Family Life 164

20 The Riches of Family 175

Changing the Trajectory of Vanderbilt 184

21 A University That Makes Opportunities Happen 185

Finding My Posse 191

22 The Posse Foundation 192

Doing What I Love 207

23 Raising Funds for Causes 208

24 Connecting People, Creating Beginnings 217

Moving Forward 229

25 Living a Good Life 230

Acknowledgments 231

Notes 233

Index 241

About the Authors 249

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