The Man Who Saw It Coming: Meet Dr. Doom

His work, he said, is holistic in that he relies not just on statistical models but also on empirical experience and history.

Roubini's own history is as complicated as some of his analysis.

The son of an Iranian-Jewish Persian carpet exporter and a homemaker, Roubini lived in three different countries before the age of 5. He was born in Turkey while his parents were there on business, later moved to Tehran and then Tel Aviv, Israel before his family -- Roubini is the oldest of four -- finally settled in Italy.

The 'Little Geek'

It was as a young teenager that Roubini discovered his interest in economics.

"I was already a little geek by the age of 14 or 15," he said.

After graduating college in Italy, Roubini moved to the United States to pursue a h.D. at Harvard University, where he studied under noted economists Jeffrey Sachs and Lawrence Summers, who later served as Treasury Secretary under President Clinton and has been named as a candidate to fill that post again in the Barack Obama administration.

Roubini began his own teaching career at Yale University, where he worked as an assistant professor before transferring to become a tenured professor at NYU's Stern School of Business. For two years, he left his NYU post for D.C., first to work at the White House Council of Economic Advisers and then to join Summers at the Treasury Department.

Along the way, he started an economics blog that grew to become a full-blown business: In addition to its economic analysis subscription service, RGE Monitor -- short for Roubini Global Economics -- advises private and public sector clients around the world.

Today, RGE business accounts for much of Roubini's global travels -- "In the next few weeks I'm going to be traveling to France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain and spending Thanksgiving in Russia, of all places," he said recently -- which he balances against his NYU teaching schedule, economic conferences, speaking engagements and, last but not least, a busy social calendar.

Though Roubini works 12 hours a day, the great thing about New York, he said, is that after work there's always a gallery opening, a museum event, a dinner party or a banquet to attend.

But his social outings have recently garnered Roubini some unwelcome media attention that has evolved into a bizarre feud with the editor of a gossip Web site.

The Birth of Dr. Boom?

Nicholas Denton, the founder of Gawker.com, recently wrote a post labeling Roubini, who is single, as a playboy, citing the numerous party pictures of a smiling Roubini posted on the social networking Web site Facebook. Gawker also published a message that Roubini wrote to a woman, joking about a decadent vacation in St. Tropez and inviting her out for drinks.

The Gawker posts prompted an angry response from Roubini, who excoriated Denton by posting messages on Denton's own Facebook page, accusing him of "Nazi-style anti-Semitism."

Neither man will comment on the situation, but Roubini says he stands by his posts on Denton's page. He is also unapologetic about his social life.

"I don't stay home," he said. "I have a life."

The cheery face that Roubini wears at social gatherings may be finding its way into his professional life … at least a little.

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