The autobiography of the larger-than-life financier and philanthropist who led the World Bank through one of its most intense and tumultuous decades in the struggle against global poverty
As President of the World Bank for a decade, James Wolfensohn tackled global poverty and its consequences with a passion and energy that made him a uniquely important figure in this fundamental arena of change. Now the renowned financier, philanthropist, and public citizen writes of his life and his beliefs in an autobiography with international appeal.
Born in Australia, Wolfensohn was an Olympic fencer, a skilled cellist, and a man of surpassing imagination and drive. He was educated at the University of Sydney and at Harvard and became a prominent banker in London and New York. He served as chairman of the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall and amassed a reputation for effective leadership in the private and non-profit sectors. But it was his tenure at the World Bank that made him an international force. Since its creation after World War II, the Bank has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into projects to alleviate poverty. At times it has been seen as a symbol of what can be done. At times, it has been a symbol of frustration and misunderstanding. James Wolfensohn in his work, and in this book, explores the causes of continuing poverty and his approach to fighting it. Using a lifetime of experience in the banking sector, Wolfensohn motivated, devised, schemed, charmed, and bullied all the constituencies at his command to increase the world's wealth. Here Wolfensohn assesses his successes and his failures.
The book is also an exploration of Wolfensohn's personality and character. As a Jew, he faced anti-Semitism in the merchant banking world of London, as an Australian, he navigated New York and Washington with uncommon skill, and as an international public servant, he carved a distinct path in Asia, Africa, and Europe for the World Bank. In 2005, he was a special envoy in managing the transition in the aftermath of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, an undertaking that tragically collapsed.
This is the story of an astonishing career and an endlessly fascinating personality.
James D. Wolfensohn was born in Australia on December 1, 1933 and is a naturalized United States citizen. He served as an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, and was a member of the 1956 Australian Olympic Fencing Team. Wolfensohn established his career as an international investment banker with a parallel involvement in development issues and the global environment. In 1995, he became President of the World Bank and served until 2005. Upon leaving the World Bank in May 2005, Wolfensohn assumed the post of special envoy for Gaza disengagement for the Quartet on the Middle East. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society. He has been the recipient of many awards for his volunteer work, including the first David Rockefeller Prize of the Museum of Modern Art in New York for his work for culture and the arts. He and his wife, Elaine, have three children.
Pub date: 10/12/10
Price: $29.95/37.95 Canada
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 pp b/w photos
Selling Territory: WxANZ