Seth Kahan
Author, consultant

Seth Kahan

Change expert and author who has advised executives in 50-plus organizations, including Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps and NASA. He can be reached at


Hitting the highlife

Q: How hard is it to stay grounded when you've had as much success as Oprah? Kitty Kelley's new biography discusses her charitable giving and her big-time indulgences. Should anyone begrudge her $500 mink eyelashes or $365,000 Bentley? And why do we love reading about the foibles of the rich and famous?

Lavish success is known for taking people to extremes. When money is no object, why not pay $365,000 for your car?

Bentley has been selling their cars for almost 100 years. They are known for providing craftsmanship that draws people in for six-figure vehicles. There is nothing wrong with the wealthy enjoying their prosperity, nor manufacturers who can achieve extraordinary value and charge for it.

Oprah may have her days, but who does not? She has earned her place in society and is today a force of nature, shaping the destiny of entrepreneurs, providing a unique contribution in the media, and doing more than her fair share of good works. I have a lot of tolerance for someone whose benevolence is as far-reaching as hers.

I think we enjoy reading about those who enter the public eye in grand ways. I find it often too personal. Nonetheless, it is a popular pastime and comes with the territory if you are going to generate a larger-than-life position, as Oprah has. The pressure can be huge.

I don't find it any wonder that celebrities make demands that appear unreasonable. They must navigate a different world with its own set of challenges. Their privacy is precious and measured in small increments.

For those of us who value success, inside stories of those who have achieved remarkable fortune provide narratives that shed light on what we may or may not choose to strive for. Ultimately, they help us to refine our dreams.

By Seth Kahan  |  April 22, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  The lush life Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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