Thursday, July 19, 2012

Son of Soros on What It Is Like to be the Son of an Oligarch

By Bess levin

Are there many advantages to being born the son or daughter of a billionaire many times over? Sure. Financial security. Unparalleled opportunities. World is your oyster type stuff. But there’s also a dark side that few people ever see or talk about, which can make being astonishingly wealthy by virtue of birth all the more isolating and hard. And it probably seems like no one cares about your or your plight or what you’ve gone through. Except for one: the New York Times. Today, in an effort to show kids born into immense privilege that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, the Gray Lady has run a profile of Alexander Soros, son of George, which examines the struggles he faced in coming to terms with being rich. They included:

Never getting to live in a McMansion.
Alex Soros spent his youth padding around a Charles A. Platt-designed 14-room house on a sprawling country estate in Katonah, N.Y. His mother, Susan Weber Soros, now divorced from his father, founded the Bard Graduate Center for the decorative arts and adorned the house with Sargents and Cassatts. Their place in the city was a duplex at 1060 Fifth Avenue. While his parents worked, he spent much of his time with his younger brother, Gregory, now 23 and pursuing a career as an artist; his nanny, Ping, from China; and the staff…Mr. Soros was acutely aware that he lived in a privileged bubble, and sometimes dreamed of living in a subdivision, where he could play football in the street with other boys. “As a kid, all you want to be is normal,” he said. “When all you’re being fed is vichyssoise, you want to eat Big Macs like everyone else.”
Not being seen as an intellectual.
After King Low Heywood Thomas, a prep school in Stamford, Conn., he attended New York University, where he tried to come to grips with expectations that came with his last name. For a period, he brooded, and gained weight. “Alex sought anonymity,” said Adam Braun, a former roommate. “He wanted to be known as the intellectual, not the son of the financier.” Alex hated small talk, Mr. Braun added, and he would ditch parties early to go home and curl up with his Baudrillard.
Read the rest here.


  1. I was taught to be compassionate, no matter a person's place and position in this world. Rich, poor, ignorant, informed: we all deserve some compassion. Stories like this one make it a challenge.

    The Soros family has redefined a word:

    Philanthropy, n.: The art and practice of debasing currencies and societies.

  2. I went to the Millbrook School in upstate NY. Alex Soros was a student there for roughly three months and left because our dorm parent walked in on him "having a little quality alone time". He was the laughing stock of the school before and after the incident. This is a true story.

    1. What a humiliating experience. I knew a guy in college who reveled in telling candid stories of getting caught treating his own body like a circus. He always had us laughing until our sides hurt.

      Anyway, what a story. You're the worse for telling it I suppose.

  3. How does he measure the success of his philanthropy? By how much he gives? Sounds like real work to me.

  4. "He wanted to be known as the intellectual..." That was his father's dream as well. Soros has always wanted to remembered for his financial theories more so than his trading prowess. And now finance has given way time his kooky save the world political theories.