Peterson was forced to consider his own mortality after the Blackstone Group went public. Although $1.9 billion richer—paid to him in a single money wire the day of the IPO—he was already a billionaire. “Several things happened to me around the same time,” he says. “I left Blackstone, I retired as the chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, I was no longer the chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, and I had two falls walking down the stairs. When you’re old, the combination of physical illness with the loss of who you were in your career becomes a metaphor for the process of dying.” The ensuing depression sent him back into therapy and onto antidepressants—which he wrote about, against friends’ advice, in his recent memoir, The Education of an American Dreamer. “They think going for therapy shows some kind of weakness,” he scoffs.

— Peter Peterson makes a billion and is sad  

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