A Nose For Trouble

This is the remarkable memoir of Michael Ainslie, a man who has always embraced the adventures and misadventures of business and life. In A Nose for Trouble, he describes his personal experience with several high profile events, including the 2008 bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers: He was one of ten people in the Lehman boardroom on the evening of September 14, 2008 who saw firsthand the events that led to the largest bankruptcy filing in US history. And he offers readers a former CEO’s view of the situation surrounding the price-fixing scandal between Sotheby’s and Christie’s, a scandal that rocked the art world and sent the ex-chair of Sotheby’s to prison.

Ainslie also shares about his early beginnings in life; his career as president, CEO, and board member across numerous companies and institutions; and his work to transform kids’ lives through the Posse Foundation. Whether he’s being carried out of his high school graduation on a stretcher, escaping a riot in Vietnam, facing death threats in NYC, battling a worldwide oil embargo, meeting with First Lady Nancy Reagan on the day her husband was shot, or revamping the USTA, Ainslie’s memoir shows that sometimes, the greatest lessons in life are a direct result of the adversities we face.

A Nose for Trouble is about accepting a challenge, redefining misfortune, and rising above. In this fascinating life story of leadership and change, Michael Ainslie teaches readers that the best parts of ourselves often come out of our hardest moments.


“Anyone who knows Michael Ainslie—as I do—is better for the experience. Anyone who reads Michael’s fascinating story will be better for the experience as well. A Nose for Trouble is a smart testament to a life well-lived.”
—James Patterson, best-selling author

“Michael Ainslie has led many different lives—all well-lived. He has been an entrepreneur, a CEO, a board member, a consultant, and a mentor to countless people. These roles have involved him with both commercial enterprises and with not-for-profit organizations. He has led this fast- paced life hardly pausing for breath between assignments. The reader will share Michael’s exciting career and marvel at how much he has accomplished.”
—Ron Daniel, Managing Partner Emeritus, McKinsey

A Nose for Trouble turns out to be the story of a fascinating life’s adventures—from high-stakes bank collapse to mentoring young women and men. His life’s chapters are captivating. A most enjoyable read.”
—Peter Georgescu, Chairman Emeritus, Young & Rubicam

“In A Nose for Trouble, Michael Ainslie shares his unique and transformative relationship with Vanderbilt University, from undergraduate to Board of Trust member. His book explores not just his trajectory, but the potential for an elite college experience, like his own, to transform anyone into a great leader. I am proud to count Michael as a friend, colleague, and confidant.”
—Nicholas S. Zeppos, Chancellor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University

“Michael Ainslie gives us an inside look into how strong leadership can address major challenges in both the corporate and nonprofit arenas. Our partnership, as we developed The Posse Foundation over the years, is a shining example of his commitment to contributing to a more equitable society. As a man with great compassion and intense belief in the promise of new ideas, he has made an enormous positive difference in the world.”
—Deborah Bial, President and Founder, The Posse Foundation

“Very few people have lived a life that so reflects the touchstones that have defined our country in the last half century to now: in fine art, real estate, and finance. An insider on all fronts, Michael Ainslie’s story is the stuff of high adventure—rarely lived and more rarely told.”
—Joni Evans; Co-founder, wowOwow.com and PureWow.com; former Publisher, Simon and Schuster; former Publisher, Random House; former Vice President and Senior Literary Agent, the William Morris Agency

“Michael captures the grit and heart of mission-driven leadership in this revealing book that demonstrates the power of vulnerability, authenticity and courage when organizational change is imperative.”
—Shirley M. Collado, PhD; President, Ithaca College; Posse 1, Vanderbilt University Class of 1994