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Forbes® Best Business Mistakes: How Today's Top Business Leaders Turned Missteps into Success by Bob Sellers

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Chapter 27. ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

Founder, HuffingtonPost.com

On list of Forbes's "Most Influential Women in Media"

Author, columnist, candidate for governor of California

Those of us who are baby boomers remember a time when political debate was pure. Oh, that's not to say that politics wasn't a dirty game—it always has been. But before radio show hosts feigned political outrage for the sake of stirring up antigovernment sentiment, or Capitol Hill operatives launched ad campaigns designed to turn out the base on election day, political debate was engaged in by highly educated, accomplished, erudite, and idealistically thoughtful participants. (Sure, it's idealistic. But humor me here, it's a good story.) It was an intellectual remnant of the 1960s revolution that lasted into the 1970s. And for one day, an undergraduate named Arianna Huffington found herself in the middle of it. She learned a lesson from it that stays with her even now.

"In my Cambridge years, as an undergraduate," she says, "I was in the debating society, and I was chosen to make the opening speech on J. K. Galbraith's side against Bill Buckley."

John Kenneth Galbraith was literally a friend of the Kennedys. He was a noted liberal economist who believed in the power of the government to right many of the ills of society and the inequities of the free market. He served under Democratic presidents and published popular books on economics with intellectually progressive arguments that he espoused as a professor at Harvard. ...

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