What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

Stephen A. Schwarzman
'This story literally has what it takes: the anecdotes, the insights and, most of all, the values to guide the next generation of entrepreneurs' Mark Carney

'The real story of what it takes from a man who could turn dreams into realities' Ray Dalio

From Blackstone chairman, CEO and co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman, a long-awaited book that uses key episodes from Schwarzman's life to show readers how to build, transform and lead thriving organisations. Whatever stage of your life you are at, the same lessons apply.

People know who Stephen Schwarzman is - at least they think they do. He’s the man who took $400,000 and co-founded Blackstone, the investment firm that manages over $500 billion (as of January 2019); the CEO and billionaire philanthropist whose views are sought by heads of state. But behind these achievements is a man who has spent his life reflecting on what it takes to achieve excellence and make an impact.

After graduating from Yale, Schwarzman began working at Lehman Brothers where he ascended to run the mergers and acquisitions practice. He eventually partnered with his mentor and friend Pete Peterson to found Blackstone, vowing to create a new and different kind of financial institution. Schwarzman’s simple mantra 'don’t lose money' has helped Blackstone become a leading private equity and real estate investor, and manager of alternative assets for institutional investors globally. Both he and the firm are known for the rigour of their investment process, the diversification of their business lines and a conviction to be the best at everything they do.

Schwarzman is also an active philanthropist, having given away more than a billion dollars. He is drawn to situations where his capital and energy can be applied to drive transformative solutions, notably in education. His gifts have ranged from creating a new College of Computing at MIT for the study of AI, to donating £150 million to Oxford University to investigate the ethics of AI, to founding the Schwarzman Scholars fellowship in Beijing.

Schwarzman’s story is an empowering, entertaining and informative guide for anyone striving for greater personal impact. From deal-making to investing, he has lessons for how to think about ambition and scale, risk and opportunities, and how to achieve success through the relentless pursuit of excellence. Schwarzman not only offers readers a thoughtful reflection on his own experiences, but in doing so provides a practical blueprint for success.
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