Skip to Content

Best of the news
from abroad

Arriving at
6:00 AM

August 31 2019
Back to the issue
Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor in Bridgehampton, New York.

Over my many years writing editorials about New York for The New York Times, the city’s political class had a preferred list of adjectives for then mayor Michael Bloomberg: staid, stoic, irritable, irritating, distant, insensitive, gray—or any synonym for boring. Bloomberg can indeed earn all of those descriptions, I found, as I produced an unauthorized biography of this powerful billionaire. But underneath the cardboard, he is a complicated man who can be funny, smart, raunchy, generous, gutsy (an early foe of the N.R.A.), persuasive, and hell-bent on being the kind of better billionaire that Donald Trump isn’t.

At heart, Bloomberg is also a salesman who wants you to buy into his view of the world (or, failing that, what about one of his Bloomberg data terminals at $24,000 a year?). A trained engineer, he wants to fix things, even a gun-plagued America and a warming planet. He’s announced plans to spend $500 million fighting climate change and even more on the elections next year. At about one percent of his net worth, that is almost certainly a down payment.

Back to the issue