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DealBreaker Special Section

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It’s a new era for DealBreaker.

For the first time, The New York Times has published a separate section of the newspaper devoted to DealBook coverage, available in Wednesday’s print edition or here on their Web site. It features the latest dispatches from the deal economy, including “The Money Binge,” our cover story that looks behind the torrent of money driving the buyout boom, and a profile of Kenneth Griffin, the hedge fund upstart who may be creating the next Goldman Sachs.
There’s also “Masters of the New Universe,” a graphical guide that connects 100 buyout kingpins, investment bankers, lawyers and other professionals with some of the biggest deals of recent years. Also in the section: the next big buyout candidates, how venture firms are grooming the next generation, and what M.B.A.’s can expect on a job interview.

Where does DealBreaker come in? Here and there. We’ll be going through this special section and filling in the gaps, so to speak, where we think the DealBookies could’ve shed a little more light. Adding some DealBreaker flourishes, if you will. Garnishes, if you’d like. Why? Because we’ve got a lot of time on our hands. And because our graphics guy was pretty psyched about that pic you’re looking at right now.
See all our coverage online.
And now, let’s get started.
DealBook seems to have spoken with a few MBA students on the job hunt and found out that sometimes interviewers like to ask thorn in your side questions like "How many gas stations are there in the United States?" MICHAEL J. de la MERCED was good enough to offer some advice about working through the problem and some helpful breathing techniques, but that's where he stopped. Enter DealBreaker. This is a classic Fermi equation. We'll go through it with you here, step by step; then you can practice on your own and be sure to wow recruiters during your next round of interviews. You can thank us later. (NB: the first Fermi problem we ever had to solve was "How many basketballs can you get out of one cow" so consider this business with the gas stations an easy one.)
(Also, at one point, we'll need to use an average town in the United States as a reference point. We'll be using Livingston, NJ, 'cause that's how we roll.)
U.S. population = 3 * 108
Cars per people = 1/3
U.S. Cars = U.S. population * (cars per perople) = (3 * 108) * 1/3 = 108
Livingston population = 3 * 104
Livingston cars = Livingston pop. * (cars per people) = (3 * 104) * 1/3= 10 4
Livingston gas stations = 10
Cars per gas station = Livingston cars / Livingston gas stations = 104 / 10= 103
108 U.S. Cars / ??? U. S. Gas Stations = 104 Livingston cars / 10 Livingston gas stations
??? = 105 U. S. Gas Stations
Additional reporting by Sarah K. Rothbard.