Richard Rainwater is one of the most vital men I've ever met. Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Walt Disney (DIS), described the Texas billionaire to me this way: "Of anybody I ever met, Richard was the most charismatic, the most outgoing, most hands-on, huggy, high-fiving, jumping-up-and-down, vivacious executive."
So it is terribly ironic and terribly cruel to see Rainwater, a self-made success and one of the greatest dealmakers ever, suffering from a brain disease called PSP. Before two years ago, when he was diagnosed and I heard whispers from his friends that he was very sick, I had never heard of PSP. Neither had Rainwater. PSP stands for progressive supranuclear palsy. As it turns out, it is, according to certain measures by experts of degenerative brain diseases, the worst disease that you can get. Eisner said this to me about the brilliant dealmaker with the quick and beautiful mind: "To have him relegated to this condition that incapacitates him? It's the irony of human existence."
For me, it was a thrill—a poignant thrill—to tell the definitive story of Richard Rainwater. I had first met him in 1997 when I wrote a cover story about his wife Darla, The Toughest Babe in Business—and it was fascinating to reconnect with her as my Fortune colleague Peter Elkind and I partnered on this story. (Darla nicknamed us P-squared.) Not only is Peter a renowned investigative reporter (he co-wrote the Enron book, The Smartest Guys in the Room). He is also a resident of Fort Worth, Rainwater's hometown. So it was an honor all around. And while it is awkward to tell you to "enjoy" The Fight of Richard Rainwater's Life, there is plenty of joy and inspiration in this story. The fun-loving Rainwater himself would want you to enjoy his story, so click here and please do.
Wendy Kopp, the founder and CEO of Teach for America, is one of the most impressive social entrepreneurs I've ever met. Anyone who writes her college thesis about recruiting America's top young people to education—and then spends the next 22 years building an organization that now hires more college seniors than most any Fortune 500 company—gets my vote.
But I'm not here to tell you about Kopp. (She's had many profiles MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 1, 2011 1:25 PM ET
Sean Maloney was on his way to being the chipmaker's next CEO when a stroke crippled his body -- and took away his ability to talk. This is the story of how he returned to work (he's now head of Intel China) -- and found his voice again.
FORTUNE -- Sean Maloney grew up in gritty South East London, last in a line of six kids, and got kicked out of MOREPatricia Sellers - Sep 9, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Last Monday evening, in the backyard of her Silicon Valley home, Marissa Mayer stood before a crowd of 200 fellow Googlers and their significant others, fed them roast quail and herb-crusted roast bison loin, and feted them for going mobile.
"We walked more than once around the earth at the equator—or 16.7 times around the moon," Mayer declared at the award celebration for the fourth annual "100 Mile Month Challenge."
This is MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 29, 2011 1:06 PM ET
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