Three Getaways Worth the Money
By Denny Hatch
If you want to recharge your batteries, July is the month to do so at one of three major retreats.
The oldest and most famous is held in the Bohemian Grove, a 2,700-acre luxury campsite in the redwood forest of Monte Rio, Calif. There, some 2,000 of the country's movers and shakers in business, finance, academia, science, the military and government convene for networking, concerts and "Lakeside Talks" by distinguished members ranging from Chris Matthews and George Shultz to William Safire and William F. Buckley. The membership list has included every Republican president since Calvin Coolidge as well as some democrats. Men only. Closed to the public and the media.
Every summer since 1983, the notoriously reclusive Herbert Allen, proprietor of the family-owned venture capital firm Allen & Co., hosts a private get-together in Sun Valley for the wheelers and dealers of the media, entertainment and high-tech industries. The cast can include Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Bezos, to name a few. Yet all who are invited are cautioned that talking to the press is a no-no.This retreat is co-ed, but very private. The agenda is networking and deals.
A newcomer on the block is the Donnelley Group's Information Privacy Forum held in Aspen, Colo. The stars of its fifth annual conference were Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Ph.D., and a whirling dervish named Tom Peters. The Donnelley Forum is open to interested parties, co-ed, and well worth the price of admission.
The Tom Peters Dog and Pony Show
Tom Peters achieved notoriety with his 1982 best seller, "In Search of Excellence," recently named by national public radio as one of the "top three business books of the century."
Before his talk, Peters went for a walk along a mountain path and ran into a fellow hiker yakking on his cell phone. Peters told him to put the cell phone away and get in touch with himself. "A conference is an intellectual time-out," Peters railed. "This is not about picking up tips. It's about looking for gasp-worthy, game-changing breakthroughs!"