At Harvard in the 1960s, Andrew Tobias ostensibly majored in “Slavic languages and literatures” but spent most of his time running the million-dollar student business conglomerate and publishing Let’s Go: The Student Guide To Europe.
After graduating, he had a brief sojourn in the world of business, becoming vice president of the once high-flying National Student Marketing Corporation (about whose crash he wrote The Funny Money Game, his first book to gain national attention).
Slightly older and only very slightly wiser, at 23, he entered Harvard Business School, writing magazine pieces for New York Magazine on the side, and then, after graduation, full-time.
For New York he covered the world of finance. When the magazine was sold, he followed its editor, Clay Felker, to Esquire.
For several years he had a column in Time and frequently appeared in Parade, the widely read Sunday supplement.
His work has also appeared in such places as The New York Times Sunday Magazine and on the cover of Harvard Magazine.
His twelve books include three New York Times best-sellers Fire And Ice, a biography of Revlon founder Charles Revson; The Invisible Bankers, about the insurance industry; and The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need, which, with more than a million copies sold and translated into Chinese, proved to be the only investment guide he would ever need.
Another of his books, The Best Little Boy In The World, about growing up gay, has been continuously in print since 1973, added to the Modern Library Series 25 years later to coincide with publication of its sequel, The Best Little Boy In The World Grows Up.
In the early days of personal computers, his Managing Your Money software dominated the personal finance category. It helped hundreds of thousands take control of their finances. He himself still uses it — Managing Your Money for DOS, version 12.
His anti-smoking commercials have run throughout the former Soviet Union.
Here in America he hired planes with anti-smoking banners to fly up and down Long Island beaches in pursuit of the Newport Cigarettes planes.
His work on auto insurance reform led to the placement of three initiatives on the March 1996 California ballot. Backers ranged from former Secretary of State George Shultz to former San Francisco councilwoman Roberta Achtenberg to Quicken co-creator Tom Proulx. The measures lost — “and now look at the mess California is in,” he says.
He has appeared on such shows as Today, Tonight, Tomorrow, Good Morning America, Oprah, and Face the Nation.
With Jane Bryant Quinn, he co-hosted Beyond Wall Street, an eight-part PBS documentary.
He has received the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, Harvard Magazine’s Smith-Weld Prize, GLSEN’s first Valedictorian Award, and the Consumer Federation of America Media Service Award.
He claims quite a few Republican friends, but since 1999 has been Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee.
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You have to watch out for the railroad analyst who can tell you the number of ties between New York and Chicago, but not when to sell Penn Central.~Nicholas Thorndike
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