Real estate, publishing, philanthropy—and optimism in the face of troubles—form the core of Francis Greenburger’s fascinating life.
“Hardships give you an ability to empathize with others,” Greenburger says.

FRANCIS GREENBURGER never shied away from hard work. By age 12 he was doing bookkeeping for his dad’s literary agency, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates in New York. Bit by the entrepreneurial bug as a teenager, he left high school for real estate, spinning deals with no capital of his own. He bought rundown properties, fixed them up, and made millions, thriving in the face of personal tragedies. Today, Greenburger, 67, owns a real estate development and investment company whose assets are valued at some $4 billion. Revenue in 2016 was $336 million, and the literary agency he still oversees represents bestselling authors such as Dan Brown. Greenburger’s

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