EP 416: Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman on What It Takes

October 14, 2019

Blackstone Co-founder, CEO, and Chairman Stephen Schwarzman shares lessons for how to think about ambition and scale, risk and opportunities, and how to achieve success through the relentless pursuit of excellence.  He talks about his middle class beginnings as the son of a linen salesman in Philadelphia, getting paired with a literal Nazi for a roommate at Yale University, and his own version of a summer at sea - working on Scandinavian shipping boats.  He reveals how a famous statesman convinced him to go into business instead of politics and how he was completely unqualified for his first job in finance.  He recalls how he took $400,000 in 1985 and turned Blackstone into an investment firm that today manages over $500 billion, and how he capitalized the fund just days before Black Monday.  He shares how an early loss completely changed how Blackstone evaluates risk, why the firm jumped into real estate at a time when no one was buying or selling, and how the company weathered the 2008 financial crisis.  Plus Stephen Schwarzman discusses his his friendship with President Donald Trump, his efforts to backchannel trade negotiations between the US and China, and why the Chinese know him by the nickname “Farmer Blackstone.”

 

Order Stephen Schwarzman's book What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence on Amazon, Audible, or wherever books are sold.  Today’s episode was sponsored by Avalara Sales Tax Solutions. 

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