Despite its title, this book isn’t a guide for everyday investors wondering how to plan for their retirement. Rather, it’s an intriguing look into the careers of upper-echelon financiers of exceptional ability. In this collection of interviews with more than 20 Wall Street superstars, David M. Rubenstein – a prominent investor himself – delves into the backstories of such luminaries as BlackRock founder Larry Fink, real estate titan Sam Zell and hedge fund operator John Paulson. Rubenstein puts his subjects at ease, leading to some valuable insights into how the wealthiest investors view their craft.
When he founded BlackRock in 1988, Larry Fink didn’t think he’d become rich.
Fink’s firm now controls $9.6 trillion in assets, and he’s so revered for his financial acumen that many think he should become US Treasury Secretary or Federal Reserve chairman. But Fink insists that his ambitions were modest when he launched a bond fund; he wanted simply to build a viable firm. Fink started BlackRock after becoming disillusioned at his first job as a trader at First Boston. After years of profitable returns, Fink became a pariah at the company because his trading group hit a rough patch and lost $100 million. Fink was disappointed that the bank scapegoated him, and he decided to go out on his own.
BlackRock’s rise has come in large part because of the growth of its iShares exchange-traded funds. In 2009, Fink negotiated to buy Barclays Global Investors and its iShares ETF unit. At the time, iShares held client assets totaling $340 billion; by 2022, that figure was $3 trillion. Despite BlackRock’s size, Fink sees room to grow – the company holds less than 2% of all assets globally. Fink contrasts that with banks, which might hold 10% to ...
David M. Rubenstein is the bestselling author of How to Lead, The American Experiment and The American Story. He is co-founder and co-chairman of the Carlyle Group, a global private equity investment firm.