In the May issue of New Criterion, Theodore Dalrymple writes about the life of Horatio Bottomley, a British press baron and famous fraudster who lived from 1860-1933.
Horatio attended debating societies in the East End of London and became an accomplished speaker—or demagogue. He launched a company that published the proceedings of the societies and never looked back from there as a company promoter. In the course of his life he launched at least seventy-seven companies, most of them soon liquidated, restructured, or declared bankrupt, to the great loss of the shareholders but to the great (if only temporary) enrichment of one Horatio Bottomley. In his career, he is estimated to have raised the modern equivalent of two billion dollars, practically all of it lost.