VC Big Ventures Into World Of Romance

How many people listen to their ex-wives? Tom Perkins did.

How many people listen to their ex-wives? Tom Perkins did. He had a novel idea, one that his former spouse, author Danielle Steel, pushed for him to pen. And that’s how Perkins, of VC firm Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers, began his venture as a novelist with his first opus, Sex and the Single Zillionaire. The 74-year-old Perkins, whose firm name flew off the pages of newspapers recently with the launch of its avian-flu-inspired KPCB Pandemic and Bio Defense Fund, told The New York Times that the book is somewhat autobiographical, with the plot centering on an older millionaire tapped to appear on a reality show on which young women would compete for his hand in marriage. He says he had been approached to appear on such a show but declined. Perkins, who The Times says is an insomniac, completed the 288-page romance in 100 hours over 30 days. It’s too soon to tell whether sales will vie with those of his famous former missus (whose works have sold more than 500 million copies), but it did receive something of a rave from Rupert Murdoch, owner of HarperCollins, whose ReganBooks unit published it. Murdoch, in a quote worthy of the book’s back cover, declares, “Fun, fast – a great read!” No word, however, whether the energetic Perkins will give up his day job yet.