Fifth Avenue

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.

Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:

  1. It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
  2. All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
  3. I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
  4. I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
  5. If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
  6. The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.

Ronald Lauder’s passion is art. The younger son of cosmetics mogul Estée Lauder and worth $3.3 billion, Ronald Lauder bought an elegant Fifth Avenue mansion across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and turned it into the Neue Gallery dedicated to German and Austrian art. In June 2006 he privately acquired one of the most extraordinary pictures in the world—a 1907 portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, wife of a wealthy Viennese industrialist, painted by Austrian master Gustav Klimt. It had been looted by the Nazis during World War II and, when repatriated, wound up in a museum in Vienna. The Austrian government fought

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