Photo by Doug Levy

Howard Stevenson


Howard Stevenson has led a storied life. Raised in rural Holladay, Utah, by parents of modest means, he went to Stanford on a National Merit Scholarship, then earned both an MBA and a doctorate of business administration at Harvard. After alternating between teaching and the private sector, Stevenson cofounded wealth management powerhouse the Baupost Group, which now has about $29 billion in AUM, in 1982. During 40 years at HBS, he founded the school’s Entrepreneurial Management Program and held numerous leadership positions. Along the way, he has been a director or trustee of over 20 organizations, is an active philanthropist and has coauthored 13 books on entrepreneurship and wealth.

In other words, Stevenson—who today runs a family office with his son for his own money and that of another family—knows something about creating and managing wealth. In Wealth and Families, his newest book, he uses his unique combination of investing experience, academic insights and unpretentious wisdom to offer practical advice. “A lot of the thinking on how to deal with wealth and families is somewhere between wrong and dangerous,” says Stevenson. One example? “Most people would rather talk to their kids about sex than money. You have to educate kids from a very early age to take responsibility and live with the consequences.”


Readers will find lessons on how to help children raised in affluence develop self-esteem, how to build a strong work ethic and how to pass wealth on successfully. Underlying Stevenson’s advice is an emphasis on what makes a life well lived. “Income is more serendipitous than most imagine,” he says. “Did you join Lehman or Goldman? The issue of how you measure your life is so critical, and it’s not just about wealth.”