An interview with Steve Schwarzman about what he learned from his father growing up, where his drive comes from, how he decides which charities to donate to, what money hasn’t bought him and his best career advice.
Welcome to the 60th episode of 5 Questions with Dan Schawbel. As your host, my goal is to curate the best advice from the world’s smartest and most interesting people by asking them just 5 questions.
This episodes guest:
My guest today is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, Steve Schwarzman. Born in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, Steve went to Abington Senior High School before enrolling in Yale University. When he graduated, he had a brief stint in the U.S. Army Reserve before enrolling and graduating from Harvard Business School. Steve’s first job was at investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Then, he became a managing director at Lehman Brothers at age 31, before co-founding The Blackstone Group with his former boss and former CEO of Lehman, Peter Peterson. Today, Blackstone manages about $545 billion in assets, with over $7 billion in annual revenue, leaving Steve with a net worth of over $17 billion. I had the opportunity to visit Steve at his New York City offices to talk about the lessons he’s learned and his business perspectives, that are captured in his book “What it Takes”.
Video interview from Blackstone’s New York City headquarters:
The 5 questions questions I ask in this episode:
- Your dad operated a linen store growing up that he never expanded despite its success. What did you learn from that experience and how was that incorporated into your thinking moving forward?
- What drove you to build such a big company and have so much influence and power?
- You’ve donated over $1 billion to charities. How do you select what causes to donate to and what is the criteria for the selection?
- What can money not buy you that brings you happiness and joy into your life?
- What’s your best piece of career advice?
Follow Steve’s journey: