“Why would anyone invest in the stock market?”

Hamilton “Tony” James looked up from his notes and peered out at the audience over the rims of his glasses. The investors seated in the chandelier-adorned meeting room of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel had been in their chairs for hours. Yet James paused to let his point sink in. Someone laughed. James, president since 2005 of Blackstone Group LP, was stone-faced.

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