As has been discussed at length in the past, should hedge fund manager Bill Ackman ever decide to take up a new line of work, he would no doubt have a bright future hosting a guerrilla-style makeover show wherein he and a sidekick drive around in a van looking for people who could benefit from his discerning eye and then ambush them on the street and weigh in on what's wrong with their [choose all that apply: bangs/clothes/arms/ass/life in general].1 Although not classically trained, the Pershing Square founder has years of experience, dating all the way back to his days as a Harvard Business School student, when fellow classmates were asked if streetwalker was the look they were going for.
One money manager said Mr. Ackman was a trustworthy and loyal friend, but also “an acquired taste” because of his tendency to speak very directly where others might tread gingerly—or not at all. When Mr. Ackman was a student at Harvard Business School, the friend recalled, he took it upon himself to tell at least one woman she was overly made up. The delivery: “You know, I’m just saying this because I have your best interests at heart, but you have too much makeup on.”
Those who can get past the bluntness to see that Ackman's constructive criticism comes from a place of love ultimately benefit from his counsel. According to one testimonial:
...that honesty can be for the good, said Stephen Fraidin, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis who sits on the advisory board of Mr. Ackman’s firm. Awhile back, he recalled, Mr. Ackman said to him, “You’re old, you’re fat and you’re invaluable, and I want you to lose weight.”
“And I was old and fat and, hopefully invaluable,” said Mr. Fraidin, who has known Mr. Ackman for decades, “and now I’m 60 pounds lighter.”
Bill Ackman: ‘I Don’t Need to Be Loved by Everyone’ [Deal Journal]
Related: Bill Ackman Will Get Rid Of Your Gut, Set You Up With Your Wife, Beat Your Ass On The Rowing Machine
1.Web extras would include 30 second mini-makeovers involving Bill giving people the name of a good nutritionist and trainer, plus a quick (but MUCH NEEDED) trim with the shearing scissors he keeps on his utility belt 'all before the light changes.'