What It Takes - Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

How much do I want to read more? 7/10

The book presents itself not as a biography, but as a series of key events in one highly successful businessman. Along with his take away, and lessons from it.
This definitely is a great book to get a life's perspective from a rich angle. We're fortunate people like this are willing to share their experience, and that books exist to reach almost anyone who can read.


Most people said it was impossible. But I’ve always believed that it’s just as hard to achieve big goals as it is small ones. The only difference is that bigger goals have much more significant consequences. Since you can tackle only one personally defining effort at a time, it’s important to pursue a goal that is truly worthy of the focus it will require to ensure its success.

Every entrepreneur knows the feeling: that moment of despair when the only thing you are aware of is the giant gap between where you find yourself and the life and business you imagine.
Once you succeed, people see only the success. If you fail, they see only the failure. Rarely do they see the turning points that could have taken you in a completely different direction. But it’s at these inflection points that the most important lessons in business and life are learned.

“The best executives are made, not born. They absorb information, study their own experiences, learn from their mistakes, and evolve.”
I never wanted to write a memoir chronicling every moment of my life. I never considered myself worthy enough. Instead I decided to pick events and episodes where I learned something important about the world and my work in it. This book is a collection of some of the inflection points that led to who I am today and the lessons they taught me

My parents taught me the values of honesty, common decency, and achievement, and the importance of generosity toward others
My high school track coach, Jack Armstrong, helped me develop a high tolerance for pain and to understand the power of preparation.

Finance proved to be the means for me to learn about the world.
It also allowed me to refine my ability to simplify complex problems by focusing on only the two or three issues that will determine the outcome.

The companies we invest in employ more than 500,000 people, making Blackstone and its portfolio companies one of the largest US–based employers.
Blackstone is a remarkable success because of our culture.
We believe in meritocracy and excellence, openness and integrity. And we work hard to hire only people who share those beliefs.
We are strong believers in innovation and growth.

For me, the greatest rewards in life have come from creating something new, unexpected, and impactful. I am constantly in pursuit of excellence. When people ask me how I succeed, my basic answer is always the same: I see a unique opportunity, and I go for it with everything I have.
And I never give up.