One thing you may have picked up from Bill Ackman’s investing style is that he gets involved with companies he believes, very passionately, can benefit from his help. He comes in armed with a plan, and while some people might not be open to the unsolicited suggestions for improvement, few can argue that he’s just trying to make the world a better place. What you may not know is that what Bill does during his 9-5 doesn’t stop when he punches the clock and gets off his shift as as foreman at Pershing Square. The make-overs (aesthetic and spiritual) aren’t just for Target but for you, too. ”Bill’s a fixer,” former Bloomberg reporter Christine Richard told the Observer. “He just looks at everything as how can I sort this out, including people.” For instance…
Your ass. Can you deny it could benefit from some squat thrusts?
Almost everyone who has met Mr. Ackman has either been complimented or insulted regarding his or her appearance, and those falling into the latter group usually find themselves with an appointment to see his nutritionist and sometimes his personal trainer, too. He has been known to stop people on the street corner and give them advice or even find them a job in the time it takes for the light to change.
Or how about your love life? Wasn’t it time you stopped running around with these slag heaps and got serious about settling down?
Mr. Ackman claims to have yenta’d at least four marriages, though that score is in dispute; and he and Karen host singles parties at their $26 million Beresford apartment to add to that tally. (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.)
What about your inability to be honest with people. You need to figure out why you’re lying to them, and yourself.
For the notoriously blunt Mr. Ackman, it comes down to almost indecorous levels of honesty. “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,” Mr. Ackman explained. “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.”
And your tennis game, my god. You want to get better? You’re gonna have to get serious and start hitting with real players who aren’t going to let you off the hook.
After her practice, [Ackman's daughter] Eloise crossed the green-and-blue hard court for a round of doubles, joining Morgan Stanley across the net from Mr. Ackman and Marius. Nearly every shot that left Mr. Ackman’s racket barreled toward his daughter, many barely missing her as she gamely tried to volley them back. One of his shots did actually connect with its unintended target, causing Ms. Ackman to jump back. Dad rushed over for a quick hug and a peck on the forehead.
Lest anyone think Bill is a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ type of guy, think again. He holds himself to the same standard, if not higher.
…a job with a bigger firm would have made it harder for Mr. Ackman to hold most of the records in the office gym, as he does at Pershing’s 40-person concern on the 42nd floor of 888 Seventh Avenue. Mr. Ackman has even been known to cross-train to reclaim record times on the treadmill or the rowing machine, according to colleagues.”
While Pershing Square investors can rest easy knowing Bill has no plans to abandon running the fund to take over for Clinton Kelly on What Not To Wear (a dream), he is accepting applications for his next Extreme Makeover candidates this summer. If the watchful eye of Ackman sounds like something from which you could benefit, get in touch today. You’ll be awoken at 4:30 am to skip rope over broken glass while shouting out “Williams Rules For Romance,” and likely have food slapped out of your hands when he’s decided you’ve had one bit too many, but it’ll be worth it.
The Busybody of the Beresford: Bill Ackman Fixed His Own Image—and Now He’ll Fix You! [NYO]