Joe De Sena, Founder and CEO of Spartan, the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand, is an All-Star member of The Atlas Society. One of the sponsors of our Gala last year at the Morgan Library in New York City, Joe –– always up for a challenge –– has generously agreed to sponsor this year’s Gala in Los Angeles on October 14 and to team up with last year’s honoree, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, for an Athletes Round Table during the event.  Joe founded Spartan in 2010 to give amateur athletes a chance to compete. Best-selling author of The Spartan Way, Spartan Up, and Spartan Fit, he’s also a big fan of our favorite book, Atlas Shrugged –– but Joe is far from shrugging in these times, which present unique challenges for events. He’s connecting with the Spartan community virtually, and advancing an empowering message of getting fit both physically, mentally and professionally.  Like our honoree Peter Diamandis, Joe’s an...
 “I’m calling the police,” my mother said from her upstairs office.  When I ran upstairs to find out what she was talking about, she was on the line with 911, telling them about the partially clothed adult male stumbling around the drive to the terrace where my parents and immediate neighbors live.  I took a video here.   As my mother recounted to the dispatch officer, the man seemed “quite impaired.”  He was.  And so is San Francisco when it comes to dealing with the rising tide of drug-addicted, increasingly aggressive vagrants who are harassing passers by, breaking into homes and cars in our neighborhood, and defecating on the city streets when not in hotel rooms at taxpayer expense. Both the man and the city remind me of Ayn Rand’s observation that “Man is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see.” There’s not a ton of upside when a half-naked, adult man in a stupor puts on a disgraceful spectacle in front of families, including small children locked in their homes (other than the one child who was whizzing by on a scooter in the middle of this episode), but there is this: A teachable moment. A moment when the abyss stumbles down our road, and each of us is confronted by the increasingly difficult to ignore reality that we have invited the abyss in. But, no….you can’t really mean that?  What could we, the ordinary people here in San Francisco,...
Editor’s Note: Alan J. Dlugash, CPA, is a consultant primarily concentrating on tax planning and financial analysis for high net worth individuals and their related business entities. He also consults to small businesses on executive compensation and foreign tax matters and assists accountants and lawyers in understanding the tax ramifications of their clients’ activities and transactions. Mr. Dlugash has over 40 years of accounting and taxation experience, beginning his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers (then Price Waterhouse), advancing to the position of tax manager. He then co-founded Dlugash & Kevelson, where he spent 23 years as the managing partner until his firm merged with Marks Paneth & Shron in 2003. He retired from Marks Paneth in 2012 and continues to be a tax advisor and consultant through Alan J. Dlugash, LLC. Mr. Dlugash is a member of the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPAs) serving on the Individual Tax Committee (and a previous chair), and is currently also a member of the IRS Relations Committee. He has also served on the Society’s Task Force on Tax Simplification as well as on the Special Committee for Reform of the Tax System whose report had been widely circulated.  Additionally, he is a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and its Tax Division. A prominent industry thought-leader, Mr. Dlugash has been a regular speaker at the NYSSCPAs’ annual conferences and has appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and NY1 to discuss...
Peter Diamandis has agreed to be the recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's fall gala on October 14th, 2020, in Los Angeles –– and equally exciting, last year’s recipient, Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson, will personally be the one to present it. Diamandis is the Founder of the XPRIZE and Singularity University, and a pioneer of commercial space flight and cellular/genomic therapies among his many other accomplishments.   “I’m honored by the opportunity to receive the award,” says Diamandis, “The work of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged is very important in my life as well.  I’ve read the book no less than five times, and it gave me a new world view that I cherish.” As an entrepreneur, Diamandis has started over 20 companies in the areas of longevity, space, venture capital and education. He is co-founder of BOLD Capital Partners, a venture fund with $250M investing in exponential technologies, and co-founder and Vice Chairman of Celularity, Inc., a cellular therapeutics company which recently announced FDA clearance for an Investigational New Drug representing a significant step toward a potential treatment of patients infected with COVID-19 virus. Diamandis is a New York Times bestselling author of several books including Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think and ...
Editor’s Note: At 70, John Bechtel is on his third career, and writing and communication skills have been a critical component of his success in all of them. From humble beginnings, and getting a late start, he began working his way through college as a janitor-for-hire, which he developed into a multi-state cleaning and facility management businesses. He achieved recognition as a frequent author in trade magazines, which often led to new business. For one large insurance company, he even researched and wrote a working manual for managing an Asian flu pandemic. When he retired from business 30 years later, he was a frequent speaker, consultant, and seminar leader for two national education companies, and led programs on dealing with difficult people, and improving reading, writing, and presentation skills for federal and state government, military,  and Fortune 500 companies in the fields of banking, manufacturing, and service. He has also ghostwritten books for several clients, the most recent being a book on medical malpractice published in 2017. In 2014 he attended a seminar for those interested in the travel writing profession, and a year later became a regular contributor to a glossy niche cultural magazine called Scandinavian Press.  MM: You are a longtime Objectivist, but you were raised a Jehovah’s Witness (JW). As we were planning this interview, you mentioned that you aren’t bitter about the years you spent as a JW. That’s not easy to do. How did you...

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