David Rubenstein, Co-Founder of The Carlyle Group, on Lessons Learned, Jeff Bezos, Raising Billions of Dollars, Advising Presidents, and Sprinting to the End (#495)

David is host of The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations on Bloomberg TV and the author of The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians and How to Lead: Wisdom from the Worlds Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers.

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” Honor your moms and dads.”
David Rubenstein

David is chairman of the boards of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Harvard Corporation, and a regent of the Smithsonian Institution.

David M. Rubenstein (davidrubenstein.com) is co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, an international investment firm with $230 billion under management.

David is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Chicago Law School.

David, an original signer of the Giving Pledge, has made transformative presents for the remediation or repair of the Washington Monument, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian, National Archives, National Zoo, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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When he was in his teenagers, what did David strive to be? [06:35] Who was Ted Sorensen, and when did he enter the picture? [08:33] Why do some of the best speechwriters in the history of politics appear to be incredibly young, and how precise is it to state that Ted Sorensen was JFKs “intellectual blood bank” in his 30s? [10:26] Seeing his career in law as a stepping stone into the world of politics, how did young David take criticisms that possibly he wasnt eliminated to be a legal representative? [12:45] How did David end up as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy during the Carter administration? What did his very first month operating at The White House look like, and how did he find out to satisfy the responsibilities expected of him? [14:27]
In hindsight, what does David think about the finest choices he had made up to this point in his profession? [19:40] David considers speaking, reading, and composing well to be important fundamental abilities for anyone with the aspiration to make something of themselves. What would be his approach for teaching these skills to a college freshman class?
Whats Davids procedure for offering an engaging, action-packed speech without relying on notes? [23:01] Why– and at what age– did David choose to become an entrepreneur, and how might his life have ended up in a different way if Jimmy Carter had been reelected for a 2nd term? [28:32] Deciding to go into organization for himself, David started a buyout company. What does a buyout firm do, and why was this such a thriving service in the early 80s and late 70s?
What are the possible threats of a personal equity deal, and how does David alleviate them? [37:39] How did David and his partners get to the developments that drove the success of the Carlyle Group? [43:11] Described as a virtuoso of private fundraising, did David begin Carlyle with a global, Fidelity-style method in mind? How did Carlyle leverage its association with DC insiders to achieve brand recognition (and in what ways did this backfire when these associations run in the political world)?
When Carlyle was implicated in the court of popular opinion as being a behind-the-scenes player in managing the war in Iraq, how did it affect David? [49:33] What are a few of the most typical errors David sees novice charity events make, and why is it so hard to find out the ropes without making these sort of novice errors? [50:52] Whats the origin story of the Carlyle Group name? [54:33] How much was David trying to drum up throughout Carlyle Groups preliminary round of fundraising, and how did he secure it in spite of no longer being a White House insider? [56:17] What does a good track record look like, and how did David distinguish Carlyle from other companies in its fundraising efforts? 58:02]
How did Carlyle compensate the businesss fundraising personnel in a manner that would keep their services and incentivize them to excel? [1:00:37] What lessons did David find out from Jeff Bezos after interviewing him for his book How to Lead, and what deal does he want Carlyle had made with him early on? [1:01:46] What impressions and lessons did David glean from the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg? [1:05:45] On the interview format as being a relatively contemporary innovation, why its an embarassment Johnny Carson could not have interviewed Henry VIII or Alexander the Great, and the insights we might gain from listening to less-recognized voices. [1:07:51] As somebody whos invested time among the worlds most effective, David weighs in with his impressions of how power manifests itself in the halls of policy– and how it ends up being more than simply status, however a form of currency in certain circles. [1:10:37] What books about power– its beneficent uses and malevolent abuses– does David suggest? [1:13:13] Does David check out fiction? As a ravenous reader who intends to make it through a high volume of books each year, whats the requirements for the ones that make it to his rack?
How does David believe we can best resolve and remedy the widespread issue of illiteracy– a significant source of recidivism and income inequality? [1:21:20] Davids advice to new moms and dads who are financially successful however dont desire to raise kids who are contented or entitled. [1:23:44] At age 71, what worries, is sorry for, and hopes does David hang around believing about? In what methods might we honor our parents if we still have time to do so? [1:27:16]
Must-do container list products. [1:32:24] Called “Clark Kent in a fit and tie” on 60 Minutes, what acts of patriotic philanthropy make David proudest? [1:34:06] What would Davids billboard say? [1:38:05] Parting ideas. [1:38:46]

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In hindsight, what does David think about the finest choices he had made up to this point in his career? What are some of the most common errors David sees novice fundraisers make, and why is it so hard to discover the ropes without making these kinds of rookie mistakes? How much was David attempting to drum up throughout Carlyle Groups preliminary round of fundraising, and how did he protect it in spite of no longer being a White House insider? What does a great track record look like, and how did David differentiate Carlyle from other firms in its fundraising efforts? What lessons did David learn from Jeff Bezos after interviewing him for his book How to Lead, and what deal does he wish Carlyle had made with him early on?

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Want to hear another episode with someone whos hung around studying White House power characteristics? Listen to my discussion with biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin in which we discuss her direct accounts of working with LBJ, the best separator in leadership, how Abe Lincoln turned opponents into buddies, how to have civil discourse in a politically polarized nation, underrated leaders, getting rid of procrastination, and a lot more.

What was your preferred quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me understand in the comments.


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