Mona Lisa

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

Last week I did a column on the simultaneous bankruptcies of two famous catalogs—Lillian Vernon and The Sharper Image—and received a long comment from Michael Muoio, president and CEO of Lillian Vernon. (See the image below.) His comment ran beyond 1,500 characters, and I quickly e-mailed him with effusive thanks for taking the time to write and to ask him to either cut it or finish it so I could run it as two entries with “continued” on the first one. Muoio e-mailed me back and said, “Wanna do a phone call?” I e-mailed him back and said sure, and that I would write

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

On Monday of this week, The New York Times launched a delicious, old-fashioned hatchet job on Australian/UK/U.S. media lord Rupert Murdoch, whose bid for The Wall Street Journal is a threat to the Pinch Sulzberger’s flagging advertising. The gist of the Times’ Monday story is that Murdoch uses his newspapers and TV networks to further his own agenda. In addition, reports the Times, he has built his $68 billion empire by bribing important politicians with campaign contributions and juicy book contracts and they, in turn, pass legislation that bends the rules to his News Corporation’s advantage. Tuesday’s story in the Times was all about

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