David M. Rubenstein is a Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest and most successful private investment firms. Mr. Rubenstein co-founded the firm in 1987. Since then, Carlyle has grown into a firm managing $217 billion from 32 offices around the world. David has also provided to the U.S. government long-term loans of his rare copies of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment, the first map of the U.S. (Abel Buell map), and the first book printed in the U.S. (Bay Psalm Book).

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The Learning Leader Show

  • David is most interested in continuing to learn… He reads six newspapers per day and 100 books per year.
  • Your commencement is the beginning, not the end. “Keep your brain active, it’s a muscle. It will atrophy without use.”
  • David would give all of his money away to be one year younger…
  • Keys to happiness:
    • Thomas Jefferson said we all have the right to be in pursuit of happiness
    • It’s the most elusive thing in life.”
    • Happiness is all about building meaningful relationships
  • The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis — “JFK showed tremendous leadership to avert disaster. He strategically ignored Khrushchev’s second letter and responded to the first one when making a deal to avoid nuclear war. David was in 9th grade at the time and that moment of leadership impacted him in a big way.
  • He worked in the White House for Jimmy Carter. “When I worked in the White House, everyone thought I was the smartest person in the world. When we lost and I didn’t have a job anymore, nobody called, and nobody offered me a job.”
  • Why leave his job as part of a big law firm?
    • “If you don’t love what you do you can’t be great at it.”
  • Launching The Carlyle Group:
    • Raised $5m
    • Hired incredibly competent people
    • New idea: “I wanted to create a private equity one stop shop.”
  • How did he hire well?
    • “I went after the best people I knew and sold them on why they should join me.” What was said?
      • Convince them they will have responsibility
      • They will learn a lot
      • They will make more money
      • It will be enjoyable
  • What does David ask in interviews with candidates to hire?
    • “I want to learn mostly about what motivates them.”
  • Must have qualities to work at The Carlyle Group:
    • Intelligent
    • Hard working
    • Get along well with others
    • Share credit
    • Effective communicator (both written and the spoken word)
    • Help others
    • Honest/High Integrity
  • Why start The Carlyle Group?
    • “I wanted to prove that my idea could work.”
  • What created the success of the company?
    • “It was the luck of meeting great people… Like Bill Conway.”
    • “Prior preparation prevents poor performance.”
  • What are the keys to being a great interviewer?
    • Good listener
    • Enjoy it
    • Sublimate your ego – It’s about the guest, not the interviewer proving how smart they are
  • Why does David like to interview so many people?
    • “My mother said it’s because I’m a ‘yenta.’ I want to know everything.”
  • Why own so many of our countries historical documents? (Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence)
    • “I want to remind people of our history.”
  • He’s one of the first 40 members of the giving pledge and plans to give ALL of his money away to charity.
  • Advice to a young college graduate:
    • Experiment, find things you enjoy
    • Share credit
    • Read a lot… Learn to speak in public
    • Become a skilled writer
    • Retain humility
  • What do most people say on their deathbed? They don’t say, ‘I wish I’d made more money.’ What they say is, ‘I wish I’d spent more time with my family and done more for society or my community.’
  • “Anybody who gives away money is mostly looking at things where they think they can make a difference. I’m trying to help people who helped me, educational institutions that helped me with scholarships, or organizations that were very useful to me in growing up.”
  • Here is WHY joining a Learning Leader Circle is a good idea…


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