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Book Reco – What It Takes - Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence by Stephen A. Schwarzman
24th April 2019

Most autobiographies tend to be written to portray the subject in the best light, glossing over the bad parts and highlighting the good ones and this one is no different. However what makes this such an interesting read is simply the author’s extensive life experience captured through an easy to read language and personal insight. The author has been an instrumental part of the finance world and his experiences are fascinating and insightful even if he tends to self promote a little bit.

Blackstone today is a name synonymous with private equity and deal making and story of its rise from a small fund manager to the global behemoth is fascinating. The author does share a little bit about the decision making processes and rigor with which Blackstone approaches deal making but would have liked to see a little more depth in that area.

The anecdotes are also interesting and varied and give us a glimpse into the inner workings of the US and world’s financial deal making. His entrepreneurial journey, mixed with gutsy decisions, hard work and plain old luck is amazing in its scope and achievements. Very few businessmen can share such a wide range of experiences as his position in the Private equity business gives him a unique look into multiple industries.

It is hard to judge from a book the kind of person the author is especially if its written by the author himself but the underlying emphasis on candor, honesty and integrity is laudable. But what stands out in the book the most is the sheer scale that can be achieved if you are in the right business and have the right contacts in business.

Overall the life story and the insights shared, although not new, are quite good and offers a perspective on how to approach our daily work life. His idea of going big with everything you try and unrelenting focus on excellence is wonderful.

A whole hearted recommendation for all entrepreneurs to read this book.

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