Almost a year to the day after visiting Legoland, I was walking with my wife and sons down a stretch of Broadway, just above Columbus Circle in Manhattan. We’d just spent the afternoon at the American Museum of Natural History looking at dinosaur bones and learning about the solar system. Now we were headed for dinner and I was pointing out various sites of personal significance—where their uncle had gone to law school; an outpost of my favorite burger place; the spot where the Big Apple Circus sets up every year. And there on Broadway, just north of West 62nd Street, was an entrance to the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. I pointed. My wife just shook her head.

Through the course of reporting and writing this book, I became ...

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