Richard C. Morais collected works.

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Buddhaland Brooklyn, now available in bookstores, is Mr. Morais’ novel about a repressed Buddhist priest who has lived a remote existence in the mountains of Japan before he is sent by his superior to open up a temple in New York. The Hundred-Foot Journey, Mr. Morais’ first novel, is both an international and New York Times bestseller about a lowly Indian chef who conquers the elite world of French haute cuisine. The Hundred-Foot Journey is published in 30 territories across the globe and has been made into a film by DreamWorks Studio and Harpo Films. Produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Juliet Blake, The Hundred-Foot Journey film was directed by Lasse Hallstrom and stars Dame Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, and Charlotte le Bon. It was released globally in the summer of 2014.

Mr. Morais is the editor of Barron’s Penta, a quarterly magazine and website offering insights and advice to wealthy families. Prior to Barron’s, Mr. Morais worked for Forbes magazine for 25 years. His brief at Forbes allowed him to write on any subject he chose and to travel the world. He joined Forbes in 1984 as a Reporter in New York.

An American born in Portugal and raised in Switzerland, Mr. Morais has lived most of his life overseas, returning to the U.S. in late 2003. He was stationed in London for 17 years as Forbes’ European Correspondent (1986 to 1989), Senior European Correspondent (1991 to 1998), and European Bureau Chief (1998 to 2003.) He wrote numerous cover stories for Forbes, from billionaire profiles to corporate dissections, but he was best known for unusual business stories on everything from the hashish entrepreneurs of Holland, to the ship breakers of India, to the human organ traders of China. Mr. Morais’s news-making political interviews have been with the likes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and the Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus.

Mr. Morais has won six nominations and three awards from the London-based Business Journalist of the Year Awards, the industry standard for international business coverage. He was named the 2015 Citizen Diplomat of the Year — the highest honor granted by Global Ties U.S., a private-public organization sponsored by the U.S. State Department — “for promoting cross-cultural understanding in all of his literary works.”

Mr. Morais started his career in New York as a news intern for the PBS TV program, The MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour, and eventually rose to selling freelance film features to The New York Times. Mr. Morais is the author of the unauthorized biography, Pierre Cardin: The Man Who Became a Label (Bantam Press,) published in 1991 to critical acclaim: “This is not a hagiography; neither is it a hatchet job. He has caught the essence of the man.” (Financial Times.) “There is extraordinary, often startling information throughout this book but the pleasure is in the writing. I hope Morais is working on a second book.” (Sunday Telegraph.) “Thorough, excellently researched, racy and entertaining.” (International Herald Tribune.)

While he was in the UK, Mr. Morais appeared regularly on Sky News, BBC News, ITV News, and various radio stations, including the influential “Today” show on the BBC’s Radio 4. In the U.S., his work has led to an editorial credit on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” plus appearances on Ted Koppel’s “Nightline,” ABC, CNN, and various NPR radio stations.

Mr. Morais is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

When I Am Sad

October 15th, 2017

When I am sad, and the dark state of the world is weighing on me, I rely on a two-step system to get me out of my funk: I first retreat to my comfort read, Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals; and then I attend a Wealth & Giving Forum event, which shares philanthropic best practices and inspirational tales among wealthy families, so that they give smarter and better to charitable causes. This cool organization exists largely because of co-founder and chairman Glen D. Macdonald, who has made it his labor of love and gift to the world. It’s a small jewel of an outfit.

The Wealth & Giving Forum’s event theme on Wednesday was the epiphany – that intuitive insight into reality that usually inspires action. Bruce DeBoskey, president and founder of The DeBoskey Group, a Colorado-based consulting firm for philanthropists, started the night with a riveting story about the time he went backpacking through Turkey in his 20s. On that trip, DeBoskey witnessed an entire village physically taunting and mocking a mentally-simple man the same age as DeBoskey. The villagers threw rocks at the bewildered young fellow, poked him with sticks, put a bag over his head.

Afraid the mob would turn on him if he spoke up, DeBoskey walked away from the scene, uttering a prayer, as he left, “that god will help me never to be a bystander again.” It was his epiphany and led him to become an acclaimed trial lawyer “raging against the machine” and a philanthropist. He could not speak of the horrific event he witnessed for 40 years, even though the vision of that tortured young man “worked in me – and continues to work on me in powerful ways.”

What followed that evening were similarly inspiring tales by Katie Meyler, the founder of the More Than Me Foundation, who, among other things, is shaking up Liberia’s education system; Gary Oppenheimer, a self-confessed New Jersey gardener geek who has built a Web-based platform at Ampleharvest.org that allows amateur gardeners to deliver their surplus produce to food pantries around the country; Tom Rutledge, a hedge-fund fixed income manager who is also the chairman of GiveWell.org; and the overachieving Chandrika Tandon, who is a Grammy-nominated composer and vocalist, after she had a Blue Chip business career that included a long stint as a McKinsey & Co. partner.

But my favorite speaker of the night was Walter D. Woods, a high-ranking executive at AARP before having a crisis of the soul when he entered his 50s. A cri de coeur led him to a two-week horse trek through Mongolia — and his epiphany.

The sheer stamina and endurance needed on that trip reintroduced him to his “timeless self,” he says, and, back in Washington D.C., it led him to a career change. He is now devoted, as president of The Good Samaritan Foundation, to helping the elderly in our nation find their resilience and “feel loved, valued, and at peace” – those intangible psychic bedrocks that his own parents instilled in him as a child.

My heavy tread of just a few days ago is both lighter and more determined.

 

 

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