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Some people are such founts of generosity that on their birthday, they think not of themselves and what they will receive, but rather of how they can brighten the days of others. Charles Gasparino is one such selfless, gallant human being. On this special day, January 28th, the 50th anniversary of his entrance into the world, Mr. Gasparino has chosen to present us with a priceless gift: the secrets of his success. Print them out, mark them up, use them to advance your own cause, or simply give thanks to the god of journalism for his magnanimous spirit.
The Secrets To My Success
By Charles Gasparino1
Adapted from “Wall Street Watchdog,” Cigar Aficionado, January 2013
1. Bust balls/break chops. If I invite you to my private cigar club on my back porch in Connecticut, it’ll be straight class. All the Macanudos and glasses of house wine (jugs of Carlo Rossi) your heart desires. But if you come into my TV set, there will be no hospitality. I don’t look at you as a guest. I don’t look at you as a sparring partner. This isn’t the sweet science. This is a no holds-barred, no-mercy rumble in the Bronx. There’s honor in boxing. There’s no honor in you crony capitalist scumbags on Wall Street.
2. You gotta know how to act in all the high-class establishments, like Campagnola and the Grand Havana Room. You gotta know how to dress (red tie, loosened just slightly; OR, to show how at ease you are, remove it entirely and undo your top three buttons). You gotta show off a little (throw the broad bringing you drinks a big tip). But most importantly, you gotta ingratiate yourself with the people who belong. Keep a ready supply of Churchills and Upmanns in your shirt pocket. Anyone who’s anyone likes a cigar. My boxing coach back in Westchester, my Uncle Al, and all the power-brokers on Wall Street.
3. Do that, and they’ll be eating out of the palm of your fucking hand. Doing lunch, acting as a source, asking you to phone.
4. Stay in prime physical shape, even if you have the misfortune of lacking my rugged and very Italian good-looks. Up at dawn, hit the gym, wind sprints, whatever it takes. I love soppresata, mortadella, gabbagool as much as the next guy but you can’t just eat limitless quantities of Italian deli meats. If you are not blessed with the extraordinary willpower of a Gasparino, there’s nothing like a Romeo y Julieta to suppress the appetite.
5. I’ve heard people say that a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind. Balls. BALLS TO THAT. I have very little use for spare time or for resting, relaxing, or tidying. My office is a bit of a dump. I’ve got stuff everywhere but I KNOW WHERE EVERYTHING IS. Test me.
6. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I used to box as a kid. MarketWatch has even called me Fox’s Rocky Balboa. I spend my life getting to the heart of just how Wall Street is trying to fuck with people. But don’t you dare fuck with me. Lloyd Blankfein is so sick of me, he says he wishes I would quit. Listen up, [untranslatable epithet for Lloyd Blankfein]: I’ll be here long after you’re gone, verbally abusing your successor’s successor’s successor.
7. Things are different than when I got my start at Bond World and The Bond Buyer. You’ve got to be working all the time, and you’ve got to be on all these Internet things. Tweeting on Twitter and the like. I may be the Don of Fox Business but I spread my shit around all platforms. The Huffington Post, FoxBusiness.com, books, et al. I did a big story for The Huffington Post about why thought the Facebook IPO was a piece of shit,2 listing five reasons why. I do stuff like that.
8. I didn’t listen to my father when he told me to go make $15 an hour as a teamster, but you better listen to me: Stay the fuck out of journalism. It’s my job to come up with a scoop every day; it’s my bread and butter. No, my bread and olive oil. And if you get in my way, I’ll rip your fucking lungs out the same way I do with my other competitors. But, please, come on up to Connecticut. I’d like to show you the good life. And the fast-moving river running through my backyard.