“We were very pleased with Mr. Forbes’ presentation,” said Jonah Zimiles, the owner of Words Bookstore. “Although Mr. Forbes’ politics are a bit different from those of the average Maplewoodian, we believe that bringing these opinions to Words are part of our commitment to diversity in Maplewood.”
The event began with a Q. & A. facilitated by Jonah. The audience was also invited to ask Steve Forbes questions, and they did.
On the topic of business Mr. Forbes was asked, “Could you identify which leaders were particularly suited to today’s troubling economic times? Steve Forbes responded saying, “The leadership at Cisco and Xenophon are examples of leadership that will work today.”
The Q. & A. touched on big business and also flat taxes. Russia’s implementation of flat taxes was referenced as a model of simplicity by Mr. Forbes.
On the subject of the economy, Steve Forbes stated that last September was the “worst thing he’d seen in his life. Like 1933, we did nearly go off the cliff.” He had strong opinions about national politics. “Obama needs to fire his economic generals. He’s not picking his priorities. Regan did, he picked one thing at a time.” Steve Forbes went on to say about President Obama “The popularity of his policies are now below his popularity as president.”
Mr. Forbes was asked if the magazine industry would face the same challenges as newspapers. He spoke at length about the print industry – magazines and big city daily newspapers. He pointed to signs that indicate otherwise. The demand exists for magazines, he explained, describing magazines as “leisurely,” noting that teenagers buy them.
When asked about the success of his company, Steve Forbes said that his success has been linked to “humility and innovation.” “You realize you’re not immortal. You have to create something that lasts after your death.”
The event ended with the book signing.
I asked Eve Morawski, a Maplewood resident, if she enjoyed the event following her purchase and the subsequent signing of her book. She did. “I am a regular reader of the [Forbes] magazine, and aspire to be on the 400 list, America’s wealthiest 400 people.” “Maybe then I finally wouldn’t stress about paying Jersey property taxes!“
“I think Steve Forbes is a strong, intelligent political voice and I value his contribution to our national dialogue,” Eve continued. “I worked for Hillary and am a fan of President Obama’s but I enjoy the intellectual stimulation provided by the other side of the aisle, particularly by someone with business or economic experience, such as Forbes.”
Eve shared with me that she met Malcolm Forbes, Steve Forbes’ late father. “He promised me a balloon ride … didn’t happen, unfortunately.”
“I admire the Forbes family and their gallery, a little gem on 5th Ave. That’s low on the radar for most. I used to live in the neighborhood so I got to know it well. It has an eclectic mix of wonderful items from American history and the fine jewelry, is b e a u t i f u l.”
The kind words did not end there. “He was extremely gracious,” Jonah said about his guest, “and remained to stay and sign books for the long line of customers eager to speak with him.”
The event was held on Sunday, June 21st 2009.
© 2010 W. S. Hughes