On a sunny Friday afternoon in June 2003, Rajat Gupta was greeted at his waterfront home in Westport, Connecticut, by scores of his McKinsey & Co. partners. They had come from London, Frankfurt, New Delhi and other cities around the world -- and brought along an elephant, which they tethered on the front lawn.
Imagine this: A society divided between haves and have-nots. The former lounge by aquamarine pools on verdant estates accessorized with shiny medical machines that cure anything and everything. The latter are jammed into roasting slums where health care barely exists.
I left home at 14 to be a kitchen apprentice and spent most of my early career in some of France's best restaurants. If you wanted to be a respected chef, that was the best training you could have. By the 1970s, when I was at Ma Maison [a French bistro in Los Angeles], I decided to open my own restaurant. The easy choice would have been to open a French restaurant, but I decided on a pizzeria called Spago. I thought you could have fun with the ingredients and create delicious simple food, but newspapers ridiculed me, saying you couldn't create a gourmet experience around pizza. The editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit even took me to dinner to try to convince me not to open it. I had my own ideas, and it became a huge success.