The Wall Street Journal dubbed Berggruen the "homeless billionaire," because he has no residence or car. "I am at home wherever I am," he told The Times. "I am at home as a human being on this Earth. That is home. I don't have a house."
Flying in his private jet, staying at luxury hotels and hosting parties at the Chateau Marmont with guests such as Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio are part of his lifestyle. Forbes magazine pegs Berggruen as America's 164th-richest person, worth $2.2 billion.
The Berggruen Institute, his think tank, is in New York City. It has a Beverly Hills office, where operations of the Think Long Committee for California will be based. The institute's focus on improving government stems from Berggruen's belief that the cause is among the highest and best uses of charitable giving because the benefits filter down to all of society.
California, he says, presents an ideal test case for reform: There is demand for change and an apparatus — the initiative process — for implementing it.
"Are we coming up with wild ideas? No," said Berggruen. "It is very common-sense…. It is a question of being able to implement it."