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What It Takes

Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence
Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
5 out of 5 stars (148 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From Blackstone chairman, CEO, and co-founder 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 organizations. Whether you are a student, entrepreneur, philanthropist, executive, or simply someone looking for ways to maximize your potential, 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). He’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 easy. Schwarzman focused intensely on culture, hiring great talent, and establishing processes that allow the firm to systematically analyze 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 rigor 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 more 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 organizations 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 center at Yale, to enabling the renovation of the iconic New York Public Library, to founding the Schwarzman Scholars fellowship program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

©2019 Stephen A. Schwarzman (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

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Outstanding story and lessons in business and life

An incredible story about one of the worlds most successful businessman. Themes include thinking big, hiring “10s” out of 10 to form incredible teams, establishing trust while working with people from other countries or political parties, how to be resilient after suffering a setback. How to help other people with their problems, which in turn will have a positive effect on you. How to effectively build trust in business and in government. Finally, lessons in philanthropy. If you had the money, how can you give it away and make a giant difference in the world. Steve Schwarzman is a man of integrity.

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Great inside look at an ultra successful man

Loaded with practical advise for accomplishing success. I also really enjoyed his account of so many significant historical events.

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great read

the narrator in particular was excellent highly recommend and send to everyone you know hello

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Fantastic book, truly inspiring

It’s always interesting to hear stories about how individuals built incredible businesses. This book is one of those truly inspiring accounts with great insights. Thank you Steve

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Candid.

Intimate depiction of what it took to achieve success with emphasis on networking and pedigree.

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Best book I’ve ever read on private equity

Steve’s book, What It Takes: Lessons in the pursuit of excellence is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Blackstone’s story is one of the most unique and inspiring stories told. Steve gave a lot of insight on business and life. Highly recommended!

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Great insight into Blackstone

Thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was a quick listen because I could hardly put it down. The author was not as good as speaker as Drew Birdseye, so I had to struggle a little with with his chapters. The book definitely shows you that everything is not easy in life you have to work at what you want.

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Amazing insights on success and making a fortune!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book for the stories, learning that Stephen so generously shared on becoming successful and making a fortune in private equity. Highly recommend it!!

Arturo Nava
Logra Tu Dream

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Inside look on what happens at the highest level

Unique book that shared how the highest levels of politics, business, and non-profits work. Enjoyed it so much that I went through it in 2 days. 🤯

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Bravo Bravo👏👏👏👏

What a great Book

I really enjoyed this book, I finished it in one day. What an amazing story Steven has.

I am going to listen to it again.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful