In this podcast, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of private equity firm Blackstone, discusses his new book Lessons In the Pursuit Of Excellence. He discusses his early days at Lehmans, describing its cutthroat culture. He was told ‘you don’t get stabbed in the back…you get stabbed in the front’ – a harbinger of what was to come in 2008. Schwarzman spend most of the podcast discussing the business lessons from running one of the largest private equity firms in the world: how over 500 contacts ignored his letters when started out; how you need to be irrationally confident about success given that nine out of ten firms fail; and, crucially, how you need some lucky breaks early on. He also believes that you can learn to be a manager, but you can’t learn to be an entrepreneur. He also touches on US-China relations – as someone with close ties to China, it’s interesting to hear him give an optimistic view.
Why does this matter? Schwarzman is a heavyweight in the financial industry and his advice is useful for any entrepreneurs. A cynic may also say that by publishing a book – he is soon to retire.
(The commentary contained in the above article does not constitute an offer or a solicitation, or a recommendation to implement or liquidate an investment or to carry out any other transaction. It should not be used as a basis for any investment decision or other decision. Any investment decision should be based on appropriate professional advice specific to your needs.)
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