EXCLUSIVE A lot of people have decided to pull their memoirs from publication at the last minute. Oprah did it years ago, Billy Joel more recently.
Now we can add to that list David Rubenstein, the very wealthy head of the secretive billionaire boys club called the Carlyle Group and self-styled philanthropist who took over the Kennedy Center a few years ago. You may recall it was Rubenstein who ousted founding “Kennedy Center Honors” producer George Stevens, Jr. He’s so rich one of his passions is to restore the public monuments in Washington, DC.
A few years ago Rubenstein signed a contract with HarperCollins for a book called “Beyond Wall Street: Inside The Rise Of Private Equity.” It was listed in all the HarperCollins catalogs and due for publication in 2009. Well, calendar pages flew by, and the most recent date scheduled was for December 2015. But that date came and went. Now I’m told that Rubenstein has pulled the book, even though it was written, edited, and ready to be sold.
I asked, Did he give back the big advance? My spy laughed. Rubenstein could probably buy HarperCollins and have it pulped if he wanted.
So what happened? “He realized it would do more harm and than good to his dealings.”
You could see glimmers of Rubenstein emerging as a personality this year. There was a piece on him from “CBS Sunday Morning.” And there’s a terrific piece about him in The New Yorker this week concerning billionaires and tax breaks.
But it may finally be dawning on Rubenstein that his baby steps into the spotlight are making it harder to do his kind of business. A book would be the tipping point, particularly with a p.r. tour on places like Charlie Rose and NPR.