Byrne Murphy has more than thirty years experience in international development and investment. After developing high-end mixed-use projects in Washington D.C. in the 1980s and 90s, he has dedicated the last 30 years to transplanting three concepts from the United States to Europe, namely outlet centers, data centers, and private residence clubs.
Byrne authored the book Le Deal: How a Young American, in Business, in Love, and in Over His Head, Kick-Started a Multibillion Dollar Industry in Europe, published by St. Martin’s Press in 2008, and republished by Lyons Press in 2021. Le Deal received the Axiom Gold Medal Award for “Best Memoir” and was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as “a picaresque memoir…filled with insight.”
Favorite place to visit in France, and why?
Belle ile en Mer, Brittany. My wife Pamela and I are both sailors and we met sailing in Maine. But it was on Bell ile en Mer that we had our first trip together, when still dating, 35 years ago.
Favorite place to visit in America, and why?
Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. That’s the body of water (America’s largest estuary) on which I grew up, where I learned to sail and go crabbing, and still do to this day.
What do you think the French can learn from Americans?
How to encourage the younger generation to take risks, and to be entrepreneurs, whether for profit or for positive social impact.
What do you think Americans can learn from the French?
How to live in today, and not always plan for tomorrow.
Favorite French film?
Favorite American film?
Favorite French actor or actress?
Favorite American actor or actress?
Most important French figure in history and why?
Answering from an American’s perspective, I select Voltaire because of his influence on Thomas Jefferson, which in turn influenced our Declaration of Independence, our separation of church and state, and the intellectual underpinnings of what was at the time the great U.S. experiment: launching a liberal democracy.
Most influential American figure and why?
Thomas Jefferson for being the liaison between the Enlightenment of Europe (France, in particular) and the launching of democracy in America.
What is your favorite American luxury?
Being surrounded by two oceans, which historically has granted Americans the room and security to determine our own futures, to think “big” just as the oceans around us are big, and our land within is big.
What is your favorite French extravagance?
Country pate with a fabulous bottle of St. Emilion
Favorite American food?
Lobster from Maine
Favorite French food?
The quality you most admire about the French and Americans?
I admire that the French, many of whom are great traditionalists at their core, harbor quiet respect for much of what America represents, even if we Americans live up to our potential only so well. In Americans, I greatly admire our optimism that, no matter how tough it gets, we can make tomorrow better than today.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to SING fabulously well!
Name three people, dead or alive, who you would most like to have dinner with?
Socrates, Thomas Jefferson, Dali Lama
Relative to your field of study, what is the most important tradition to keep alive?
My field of study was economics. And economics within the American context is ever-evolving. Classic Keynesianism made room, over time, for supply-side economics. Today, macro-economics are also adapting, evolving and changing as the way in which the world interacts changes, evolves and advances.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sailing on a broad reach on our family boat, with my wife Pamela and our four daughters on board, in grand sunny weather with a fair breeze and clear skies.