David M. Rubenstein is Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest and most successful private investment firms. Established in 1987, Carlyle now manages $325 billion from 26 offices around the world. David is the host of The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations on Bloomberg TV and PBS and Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein on Bloomberg TV; and the author of The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians, a book published by Simon & Schuster in 2019, How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers, a book published in 2020, and The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream, a book published in 2021.

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  • How David defines success – “Other people tell you that what you’ve done is useful. They admire you. And you help people.”
  • David’s goals:
    • Don’t do anything to get in public trouble
    • Give away the bulk of his money
  • 4 Key Decisions David made that helped him:
    • Going to law school
    • Working in the Carter White House
    • Starting the Carlyle Group
    • Becoming a philanthropist
  • Why The Carlyle Group?
    • “I fell in love with building something from scratch.”
  • “Great ideas don’t come from people who are busy.”
  • Why does David enjoy interviewing leaders?
    • It gives him an opportunity to follow his intellectual curiosity
  • How does he prepare for his interviews?
    • Reads their books
    • Gets help from a research assistant
    • Digests all the material
    • Writes questions
    • Looks for humor opportunities
  • Humor breaks the tension and produces a common bond
    • “John Kennedy had a great sense of humor.”
  • David has lent his home in Nantucket to President Biden.
  • Benjamin Franklin said, “it’s a republic if you can keep it.” Republics are not easy to keep.
  • David had the opportunity to invest in Facebook when Mark Zuckerberg was in college… But he said no.
  • The keys to the Wright Brother’s Success —
    • Tons of books in their house growing up
    • Their inquisitive nature
    • Their passion to prove a point
  • Commonalities of excellent leaders:
    • Vision
    • Determination – must walk the walk
    • Influence others
    • Communication skill
    • Humility
    • Highly ethical
    • Doesn’t need all the credit
    • Higher goals than just money
  • Persist – don’t take no for an answer. If you’re happy to sit at your desk and not take any risk, you’ll be sitting at your desk for the next 20 years.
  • “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.”
  • “Moneymaking was never anything to me. I was happy never making money; I just was happy doing things I liked. But I fell into the money thing. I now don’t feel guilty about it, but I am determined to give away the bulk of it and enjoy doing it.”
  • “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.”
  • “It’s clear to me that when you do private equity well, you’re making companies more efficient and helping them grow and become more profitable. That success means our investors – such as public pension funds – benefit, which contributes to the economic wealth of society.”
  • “I regard food as fuel. I am not a brunch person.”
  • Life and Career advice:
    • Find something you enjoy
    • Experiment
    • Read
    • Keep an open mind
  • Apply to be part of my Leadership Circle

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