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Carlos Slim: Biography of Mexico's Richest Man Penetrates 'Cloak of Silence'

Nina Lakhani - The Guardian
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December 7, 2015

Carlos Slim regularly competes with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for the title of world’s richest man. (Marcelo Salinas/AP)

Slim: Biografía política del mexicano más rico del mundo
by Diego Enrique Osorno
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Piercing the veil of secrecy surrounding one of world’s richest and most private businessmen was never going to be straightforward. In the end it took eight years, more than 100 interviews, 400 rejections and oodles of patience to write the most comprehensive biography of Carlos Slim to date – a process the author likens to his investigation of another influential enigmatic Mexican: fugitive drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

“The powerful usually create a cloak of silence around them which, in countries such as Mexico, is particularly difficult to pierce,” author Diego Enrique Osorno told the Guardian.

Slim: A Political Biography of the Richest Mexican in the World is the culmination of interviews with influential politicians, business leaders and others close to the world’s second-richest man – and Slim himself. Osorno eventually gained access to him for seven hours over three separate meetings.

Osorno may have convinced Slim to speak; however, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and investment guru Warren Buffett, two of the men who regularly vie with him for the title of world’s richest man, were among 400 people who turned down interview requests. “Many people refused to speak with me because they were scared of upsetting the biographee,” Osorno said.

Patience was key, said Osorno. “For my [earlier] book on the Sinaloa Cartel, I had to prowl around another powerful Mexican businessman, but from the illegal world: Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman. From this I learned that you have to proceed calmly in the land of power.”

Osorno recounts the story of how the son of Lebanese immigrants created one of the world’s biggest fortunes and a business empire that spans telecoms, healthcare, airlines, media, sports and retail. He also offers telling insights into the fiercely private mogul’s personal and professional lives, including a close brush with death in 1997.

Read the rest at The Guardian

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