The lessons of Stephen Schwarzman

AS A CHILD growing up in Philadelphia, Stephen Schwarzman had a part-time job selling handkerchiefs to old ladies at his father’s shop, Schwarzman’s Curtains and Linens. He hated it. His main consolation was imagining how the firm could expand across post-war America, like Sears. But his father was not interested. He was happy with a house, two cars and some money. He was no entrepreneur. The younger Mr Schwarzman, who went on to co-found Blackstone, the world’s largest alternative-asset manager, and become an Olympian of modern-day capitalism worth $18bn, recounts that story at the start of his memoir, “What It Takes”. It is one of the few times a mere mortal appears in his account—only to be swiftly shunted aside.

Mr Schwarzman has little time in the book for the little guy. Other financiers wring their hands over the wealth gap between bosses and workers. Not him. He was a rare executive in America’s Business Roundtable not to sign a charter last month calling for an end to the shareholder-led model of capitalism. His private life appears to be one of lavish parties and glamorous schmoozing. Acknowledgments in the book stretch to 14 pages and he name-drops five American presidents, four French ones and China’s Xi Jinping.

Yet Mr Schwarzman avoids footling with life’s foot-soldiers for a reason. The book has a...

via Business Feeds

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