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Most Spectacular Source of Income

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Obama: Books — That He Wrote Himself!
It's not the income itself that's spectacular, but how he earned it: After his 2004 Democratic convention speech and the success of his first book, Dreams From My Father, Obama signed a $1.9 million three-book deal with Random House. Dreams and The Audacity of Hope topped best-seller lists, but unlike many other politicians who have achieved that feat, Obama actually wrote the books himself, without the assistance of “collaborators.” Obama dabbled in poetry at Occidental College and used to consider writing fiction as a possible career, and his command of language is on display in both titles. “One of the things about having written this first one is, the threshold is a little higher,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times, discussing the expectations for Audacity. “People know what my voice sounds like. I can't fake it with a ghostwriter.” (Hillary Clinton, by comparison, used three collaborators in composing Living History.)

Romney: Bain Capital
In 1983, Bill Bain asked Mitt Romney to run Bain Capital, a spinoff from Bain Consulting that found underfunded or poorly run businesses, invested in them or bought them outright, and then sold them off several years later. As New York’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells reported: “The senior partners were awash in cash that they were looking to invest; its more junior partners needed something to do. The original plan was vague in the details, but a bowl was soon passed around the Bain & Company boardroom so each partner could write his first name and the amount he wanted to invest on a scrap of paper and slip it in. Romney’s reputation was strong enough that he picked up $12 million in pledges in that meeting alone.” Starting with $37 million under management in 1984, the fund grew to $500 million in 1994, and $65 billion today. "After fifteen years of effort, Bain Capital had become extraordinarily lucrative," Romney wrote in Turnaround, his book remembering his work with the 2002 Winter Olympics. It was a "golden goose," he said.


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