Reading about Australia’s richest man Kerry Packer passing away this week was a shock.
The diversity of comment I’m reading now about KP is quite interesting. Probably the only theme that seems important to me is that time is our most important currency, none are granted special favours or allocations in this regard.
I feel like I knew this person as most Australians did no doubt. Yet everything I know about him has been filtered through the huge distortion lense of the popular media, for which I have the lowest respect in terms of accuracy.
I remember reading ‘The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer” by Paul Barry; the only theme I can remember from this book though (I read it some time ago) is that Kerry was a great businessman and opportunist, I don’t remember much of the personal insights except that Kerry’s father was a tyrant and Kerry also had a ruthless streak.
I also have a low opinion of those who waste the opportunity for philanthropy that great wealth brings, I wish people like Frank Lowy were more common and more visible with their philanthropy.
I read KP was a philanthropist somewhat out of the public eye, but the facts will probably take years to emerge.
A relevant poem:
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley