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Forbes is an Americanmarker publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, Forbes magazine, is published fortnightly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published fortnightly, and Business Week. The magazine is well-known for its lists, including its lists of the richest Americans (the Forbes 400) and its list of billionaires. The motto of Forbes magazine is "The Capitalist Tool." Its editor-in-chief is Steve Forbes.

Company history

B. C. Forbes, a financial columnist for the Hearst papers, and his partner Walter Drey, the general manager of the Magazine of Wall Street, founded Forbes magazine in 1917. Forbes provided the money and the name and Drey provided the publishing expertise. The original name of the magazine was Forbes: Devoted to Doers and Doings. Drey became vice-president of the B.C. Forbes Publishing Company, while B.C. Forbes became editor-in-chief, a post he held until his death in 1954. B.C. Forbes was assisted in his later years by his two eldest sons, Bruce Charles Forbes (1916–1964) and Malcolm Stevenson Forbes (1917–1990).

Bruce Forbes took over on his father's death, and his strengths lay in streamlining operations and developing marketing. During his tenure, 1954-1964, the magazine's circulation nearly doubled. Although credit for increased circulation must also be given to the magazine's increased outspokenness on the part of investors.

When Malcolm Forbes took over, he had a more hands-off approach on operations, but did provide two strategic initiatives that changed Forbes forever. He instituted an in-house editorial staff, instead of the previous heavy reliance on freelancers, and he started the first of the rankings articles for which Forbes became famous.

On Malcolm's death, his eldest son Malcolm Stevenson "Steve" Forbes Jr. (1947–) became President and Chief Executive of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine. Between 1961 and 1999 the magazine was edited by James Michaels. In 1993, under Michaels, Forbes was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. In 2006, an investment group Elevation Partners that includes rock star Bono bought a minority interest in the company. A 2009 New York Times report said: "40 percent of the enterprise was sold ... for a reported $300 million, setting the value of the enterprise at $750 million. According to Mark M. Edmiston of AdMedia Partners, 'It’s probably not worth half of that now.'"

The popularity of Forbes magazine has extended to mainstream and Hip-Hop culture. 50 Cent has released the official remix to his hit single, "I Get Money" off his September 11, 2008 album, Curtis, entitled Forbes 1,2,3 (also known as the "Billion Dollar Remix"). The title of the song comes from the fact that Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Diddy were listed as Forbes' Top 3 money-making Kings of Hip-Hop, respectively. The unfinished video for Forbes 1,2,3 can be seen as the intro to 50 Cent's single, "I Still Kill" featuring Akon, off his multi-platinum album Curtis.

Other publications

Apart from Forbes and its lifestyle supplement, ForbesLife, other titles are published, including Forbes Asia and eight local language editions. Steve Forbes and his magazine's writers offer investment advice on the weekly Fox TV show Forbes on Fox and on Forbes On Radio. Other company groups include Forbes Conference Group, Forbes Investment Advisory Group and Forbes Custom Media. From the 2009 Times report: "Steve Forbes recently returned from opening up a Forbes magazine in Indiamarker, bringing the number of foreign editions to 10. In addition, this year the company began publishing ForbesWoman, a quarterly magazine with a companion Web site."

The company formerly published American Legacy magazine as a joint venture, although that magazine separated from Forbes as of May 14, 2007.

The company also formerly published American Heritage and Invention & Technology magazines. After failing to find a buyer, Forbes suspended publication of these two magazines as of May 14, 2007. Those magazines have since been purchased by the American Heritage Publishing Company, and have resumed publication as of Spring 2008 .

David Churbuck founded Forbes Web site in 1996. The site uncovered Stephen Glass' journalistic fraud in The New Republic in 1998, an article that drew attention to internet journalism. The site, like the magazine, publishes many lists focusing on billionaires and their possessions, especially expensive homes, a critical aspect of the website's apparent popularity. See a list of lists below. employs the slogan "Home Page For The World's Business Leaders" and sometimes claims to be the world's most widely visited business web site. The current president and chief executive officer is James J. Spanfeller; the current editor is Paul Maidment; the current managing editor is Carl Lavin, who succeeded founding managing editor Michael Noer and Dan Bigman.

According to, the Web site is among the most trusted resources for senior business executives, providing them the real-time reporting, uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and community they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning. also publishes subscription investment newsletters, a luxury-vehicles site, ForbesAutos edited by Matthew De Paula, and a luxury travel site, ForbesTraveler, edited by G. Barry Golson, the former executive editor of Playboy and TV Guide and former editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Internet Life, and an online guide to web sites, Best Of The Web. is part of Forbes’ Digital, a division of Forbes Media LLC. and affiliated properties include:

Together these sites reach more than 27 million business people each month.

The 2009 Times report said that, while "one of the top five financial sites by traffic [throwing] off an estimated $70 million to $80 million a year in revenue, [it] never yielded the hoped-for public offering." and

Launched in May 2005 by, is a web site designed specifically for luxury car buyers and enthusiasts. The editorial content is written specifically for affluent consumers, with an emphasis on objectivity, comprehensive analysis and intelligent insight. is designed for the affluent, discerning traveler. Launched in September 2006 by, ForbesTraveler is dedicated to inspiring, planning and booking the world’s most distinctive travel experiences.


Forbes creates many lists under various topics, the most popular being perhaps the list of billionaires.



In popular culture Forbes is perhaps best-known for its many periodic lists of net worth. As it often takes considerable detective work to determine the actual wealth of an individual, Forbes' figures are widely cited as nearly-definitive.

Fidel Castro conflict

In 2005, Forbes listed Fidel Castro among the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $550 million USD. In the 2006 article "Fortunes Of Kings, Queens And Dictators", Forbes increased their estimate to $900 million USD. The article notes that estimating net worth for government leaders is "more art than science", and points out that in the case of Castro the authors used a discounted cash flow method for several state-owned companies, and assumed a portion of that profit stream went to Castro.

Castro responded that he has a net worth of less than $1 USD, and challenged any one to prove that he has any money in overseas accounts. Castro also stated that Forbes should place a bucket over their head.


  • Best Cities For Singles
  • Best Places For Business (e.g. 2008 list).
  • Top Universities [37711]
  • Most Expensive Zip Codes
  • Most Expensive Rental Markets In The U.S.


  1. "Notes of a Business Quizzer: Forbes" (6 July 2007)
  2. Gorman, Robert F. (ed.) (2007) "September 15, 1917: Forbes Magazine is founded" The Twentieth Century, 1901-1940 (Volume III) Salem Press, Pasadena, California, pp.1374-1376, p. 1375, ISBN 978-1-58765-327-8
  3. Commerce and Industry Association of New York (18 November 1922) "The Association Prepares for New Demands: The Volunteer Workers" Greater New York: Bulletin of the Merchants' Association of New York Commerce and Industry Association of New York, New York, p. 6, OCLC 2447287
  4. Gorman, Robert F. (ed.) (2007) "September 15, 1917: Forbes Magazine is founded" The Twentieth Century, 1901-1940 (Volume III) Salem Press, Pasadena, California, pp.1374-1376, p. 1376, ISBN 978-1-58765-327-8
  5. 'Forbes Announce Elevation Partners Investment in Family Held Company' Elevation Partners press release, August 6, 2006.
  6. "Even Forbes is Pinching Pennies" by David Carr, The New York Times, June 14, 2009 (6/15/09 on p. B1 of the NY ed.). Retrieved 6/15/09.
  7. With The May 14 Announced Separation: Twelve-Year-Old "American Legacy"/"Forbes" Partnership Was Mutually Beneficial. Industry & Business Article - Research, News, Information, Contacts, Divisions, Subsidiaries, Business Associations
  8. American Heritage - Magazines - New York Times
  9. / Thank You for Your Feedback on the American Heritage Winter 2008 Issue
  10. Cuba Keeps Forbes in Hot Seat. Radio Habana Cuba. Retrieved on 2008-01-05.

Further reading

  • Forbes, Malcolm S. (1974) Fact and Comment Knopf, New York, ISBN 0-394-49187-4; twenty-five years of the editor's columns from Forbes
  • Grunwald, Edgar A. (1988) The Business Press Editor New York University Press, New York, ISBN 0-8147-3016-7
  • Holliday, Karen Kahler (1987)A Content Analysis of Business Week, Forbes and Fortune from 1966-1986 Masters of Journalism thesis from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 69 pages, OCLC 18772376, available on microfilm
  • Kohlmeier, Louis M.; Udell, Jon G. and Anderson, Laird B. (eds.) (1981) Reporting on Business and the Economy Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, ISBN 0-13-773879-X
  • Kurtz, Howard (2000) The Fortune Tellers: Inside Wall Street’s Game of Money, Media, and Manipulation Free Press, New York, ISBN 0-684-86879-2
  • Tebbel, John William and Zuckerman, Mary Ellen (1991) The Magazine in America, 1741-1990 Oxford University Press, New York, ISBN 0-19-505127-0
  • Parsons, D. W. (1989) The Power of the Financial Press: Journalism and Economic Opinion in Britain and America Rutgers University Press, New Jersey, ISBN 0-8135-1497-5

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