cover image Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince

Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince

Rizwan Khan, . . Morrow, $26.95 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-06-085030-2

Though Prince Alwaleed bin Talal came to public attention in the U.S. when Rudy Giuliani rejected his $10 million donation to the Twin Towers fund, Alwaleed's real significance is as a global financial powerbroker. The Saudi royal is the biggest single foreign investor in the U.S. economy and the world's fourth-richest man, with assets totaling more than $21 billion. His significant holdings in U.S. companies include Citigroup (which he bailed out with $590 million in the early '90s), Apple and News Corp., the corporate entity responsible for this "authorized biography." Khan, who has interviewed high-profile figures for CNN International, tags along with Alwaleed and his entourage as they conduct business in Riyadh and Paris, holiday in Cannes and trek into the Saudi desert for a weekend getaway. The resulting reportage has the breezy flavor of a magazine profile awkwardly stretched to book length. There's plenty of praise for Alwaleed's "financial intelligence" and outsized personality, but Khan doesn't probe beyond the admirable surface (though he notes others have tried to dig up dirt with little success). The glowing descriptions seem carefully crafted—and timed—to raise Alwaleed's profile in the West. (Oct.)