Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman has a new book out, entitled What It Takes, and last night I had the opportunity to interview him about it in front of a group of admirers at the New York Public Library (in the Stephen A. Schwarzman building.)
The book is a fascinating portrait of a man who, from a very early age, was determined to do BIG things. And he certainly did, co-creating the Blackstone Group, with a market cap today of $56 billion, and in more recent years, donating a substantial fraction of his wealth to create the Schwarzman Scholars program in China, the Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing at MIT, the Schwarzman Center for the Humanities at Oxford, the Schwarzman Center (formerly The Commons) at Yale, and so on. In the book he recounts a conversation in which the president of MIT said of his school: “We like to fly under the radar,” to which Schwarzman responded, “I like to live above the radar.” And so he has.
The book includes Schwarzman’s “25 Rules for Work and Life.” The most memorable, and the most characteristic of the man, is the first:
“It’s as easy to do something big as it is to do something small, so reach for a fantasy worthy of your pursuit, with rewards commensurate to your efforts.”
More news below.
There’s yet another report of Facebook’s partners in the Libra cryptocurrency project getting cold feet, thanks to regulatory scrutiny. The Wall Street Journal says the likes of Visa and Mastercard have turned down Facebook’s requests to publicly support the scheme that they tentatively signed onto a few months ago. WSJ
Warren and Big Tech
Elizabeth Warren’s plans to break up Big Tech may be freaking out Mark Zuckerberg, who said in leaked audio of an internal meeting that the social network would “go to the mat” in fighting her, but others in Silicon Valley are warming to her. CNBC interviewed a bunch of Democrat-supporting investors there, and they increasingly see her as the best chance of ousting President Trump. CNBC
Johnson & Johnson has reached a $20.4 million settlement over the opioid crisis—and if you’re thinking that’s chump change, well, it’s a deal struck with just two Ohio counties. Still, that’s one federal trial J&J doesn’t have to worry about. CNN
Nissan is reportedly reconsidering the future of a major U.K. plant in the even of a no-deal Brexit. The automaker is urging U.K. and EU negotiators to ensure an “orderly balanced Brexit.” Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil a final proposal to the EU today that would place a time-limit on the “Irish backstop” insurance policy for the event of no future trade deal being struck between the two sides. The EU is unlikely to accept neither this nor the 10-mile-wide “buffer” zone between Ireland and Northern Ireland that the Brits are reportedly proposing. Financial Times
AROUND THE WATER COOLER
Dave Lewis will step down as the CEO of the U.K.’s largest retailer, Tesco, after completing a significant turnaround. He says next summer will be the right time to depart in a smooth and orderly succession—his replacement will be Ken Murphy, a former Walgreens Boots Alliance executive. Reuters
Some “Amazon’s Choice” security cameras come with dreadful security flaws, a new study by the British consumer advocacy group Which? has noted. The organization accuses Amazon of having “no quality control” when awarding off-brand manufacturers the seal of approval. Amazon did not answer a question about how it chooses the security cameras that become labeled as “Amazon’s Choice.” Fortune
The World Trade Organization warns living standards and jobs may be casualties of slowing trade growth. It’s slashed its forecast for growth this year by more than half—thank trade wars, Brexit uncertainty and a general malaise for that—and says businesses are delaying investments and hiring. BBC
A report from Wells Fargo estimates that around 200,000 banking jobs will probably be cut in the next decade, thanks to technological advances. The cuts would likely be back office, bank branch, call center and corporate roles, with tech, sales and consulting workers being less vulnerable. Bloomberg