What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence (Audio Download): Amazon.co.uk: Stephen A. Schwarzman, Drew Birdseye, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Simon & Schuster Audio UK: Audible Audiobooks From Blackstone chairman, CEO and cofounder Stephen A Schwarzman, a long awaited book that uses impactful episodes from Schwarzman s life to show listeners how to build, transform and lead thriving organisations Whether you are a student, entrepreneur, philanthropist, executive or simply someone looking for ways to maximise your potential, the same lessons apply People know who Stephen Schwarzman is at least they think they do He s the man who took , and cofounded Blackstone, the investment firm that manages overbillion as of JanuaryHe s the CEO whose views are sought by heads of state He s the billionaire philanthropist who founded Schwarzman Scholars, this century s version of the Rhodes Scholarship, in China But behind these achievements is a man who has spent his life learning and reflecting on what it takes to achieve excellence, make an impact and live a life of consequence Folding handkerchiefs in his father s linen shop, Schwarzman dreamed of a larger life, filled with purpose and adventure His grades and athleticism got him into Yale After starting his career in finance with a short stint at a financial firm called DLJ, 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 Building Blackstone into the leading global financial institution it is today didn t come easily Schwarzman focused intensely on culture, hiring great talent and establishing processes that allow the firm to systematically analyse and evaluate risk 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, their innovative approach to deal making, 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 than a billion dollars In philanthropy, as in business, he is drawn to situations where his capital and energy can be applied to drive transformative solutions and change paradigms, notably in education He uses the skills learned over a lifetime in finance to design, establish and support impactful and innovative organisations and initiatives His gifts have ranged from creating a new College of Computing at MIT for the study of artificial intelligence, to establishing a first of its kind student and performing arts centre at Yale, to enabling the renovation of the iconic New York Public Library, to founding the Schwarzman Scholars fellowship programme at Tsinghua University in Beijing the single largest philanthropic effort in China s history from international donors Schwarzman s story is an empowering, entertaining and informative guide for anyone striving for greater personal impact From deal making to investing, leadership to entrepreneurship, philanthropy to diplomacy, Schwarzman 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 listeners a thoughtful reflection on all his own experiences but in doing so provides a practical blueprint for success


7 thoughts on “What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence (Audio Download): Amazon.co.uk: Stephen A. Schwarzman, Drew Birdseye, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Simon & Schuster Audio UK: Audible Audiobooks

  1. Tom Rubython Tom Rubython says:

    This is a very well written business autobiography Probably in the top ten of all time It s remarkably honest and there are some excellent management and life lessons contained therein And I give it five stars based on that as the words are 90% of what a book is.But that is where the praise stops The book itself is very poorly produced and shows almost zero creativity in the production process The words may be top ten but the production is bottom ten Steve Schwarzman should be very disappointed with what Simon Schuster have wrapped his words up in.Specific criticisms The first chapter is a jumbled mess The photos are terrible, mostly blurred poorly curated and certainly Photoshop is an unknown process to the picture editor if there was one The covers UK and US are totally uninspiring.The acknowledgments shower praise on the team Schwarzman assembled to produce his biography but in reality they have let him down badly.But definitely buy and read it because it is otherwise a great book.


  2. Liam Kelleher Liam Kelleher says:

    The title of the book might make you think this book belongs in the self help section In reality the book is a biography of Stephen Schwarzman and is all the better for it.Schwarzman gives each section and chapter a heading in the lesson in what it takes But actually what really drove his success is not listed in a summary at the end of the book He has worked 18 hours a day for years and sleeps 5 hours a night To me, this is what it takes to have a heart attack but it is what it took for Schwarzman to become a wealthy and well known figure.This book is a great insight into a how private equity investors think and operate He goes through the many deals he has done in many industries We are talked through his early life and career, leading to the creation of Blackstone and anglophone construction of his name and his business partner He covers how they too got into the business of high leveraged buyouts LBOs The company goes public, he makes a packet but the stress doesn t end there The financial crisis comes and they just about survive despite the intense pressure of a Chinese investors.The final part of the book shines a light on his philanthropic endeavours, notably the construction of a new building for American students in China There is a lot to be admired about Stephen Schwartzman He is hard worker and succeeded in the finance industry without necessarily having a strong background in finance He lays some of his greatest failures out in a book where he personally could have done better He has an appreciation of finer things such as old world architecture and craft and tangible assets He displays that Blackstone were not the asset stripping PE company of others overall.I don t buy all of the chat that company was evangelical while spinning great profits and cutting jobs I am suspect of some of the company he keeps I don t plan on working 18 hours a day and sleeping 5 hours a night I didn t get a lot of applicable lessons out of the book But it s a really interesting story, an easy read and a great insight into investment banking.


  3. ebbw ebbw says:

    Absolutely blown away by this book I ve worked in the investment industry for many years, and this should be recommended reading for anyone thinking of working in the sector.It s also a great read for those who want to achieve their goals in every other area of work.I mentor university students interested in the investment sector This is going to be mandatory reading for them.Since reading, I ve set much bigger goals for the assets under management I want to manage.


  4. alan smith alan smith says:

    As the founder and owner of a financial services business, it was great to see inside the mind of such a legendary business entrepreneur Some very useful ideas, tips, and recommendations and thoughts which are practical and can be applied to most cases.The author does, however, spend a disproportionate amount of time promoting his own philanthropic endeavours and political activity in a very self indulgent way.Overall a solid four out of five


  5. Andrew Andrew says:

    Great start to the book practical lessons second half is a rich mans view of his own private world irrelevant to the rest of us


  6. Florin Vasvari Florin Vasvari says:

    Stephen Schwarzman provides an open and honest look into the challenges, failures, and achievements that he faced at various turning points of his life and career The book offers great insights into how one can succeed in life while providing lots of fascinating facts with valuable lessons about investing and leadership It is an inspiring read that anyone, not just in the business world, can enjoy.


  7. akinpelu akinpelu says:

    The beginning of this book reflects mine and of course, gradually deviated from high school.I love the way this book highlighted both the difficulties and successes he had It is very practical and not some esoteric unimaginable stories.This book has increased my resolve to be successful with determination and diligence.Whenever I listen to the news and hear about the US Chinese trade talks, I imagine what role and thoughts you were having in shaping the biggest trade policies of our generation.I have recommended this book to several friends and I have added this man to the list of my role models I look forward to the day I will receive a response from Mr Schwarzman.Great book to read in one week despite huge demand for my time with work.


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