How to Lead

David M. Rubenstein

How to Lead



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Leaders come "in all shapes and sizes", as Nike creator Phil Knight puts it, and in fact there are as many different kinds of leaders as there are professions and market sectors in which they operate. In spite of there being such a vast range of management styles, it is nevertheless possible to find some common traits that, on learning of people’s experiences, seem to outline a clear recipe for leadership. Billionaire and philanthropist, David Mark Rubenstein, interviewed some of the most prominent American personalities in contemporary history, to find out what sets a leader apart from the rest of society, and has compiled these conversations in his book How to Lead: Wisdom from the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers.

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Analysis and key concepts


Leaders can be extremely different kinds of people, but they all share some common traits


Many leaders have been able to seize opportunities created by luck


To be a leader you need to know how to react positively to defeats


Prominent personalities often have an explosive combination of ambition and tenacity


To become a leader, you need to work hard but the most important thing is to have passion


Rather than ever feeling like they have made it, a true leader strives to continue learning


Listening, humility, and recognising your team’s worth are important tools used by all leaders


When they reach the top, true leaders start trying to make the world better




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand the character traits that make a leader unique.
  • Learn the stories behind some of the most famous and important personalities of our time.
  • Discover how leaders can come from different geographic, social, and economic backgrounds.

David Mark Rubenstein is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author. From humble family beginnings in Baltimore, Maryland, he went on to become a businessman that built a billion-dollar fortune: after graduating cum laude from Duke University and completing a law degree at the University of Chicago Law School, he began his brilliant career as a lawyer in the mid-seventies, which included holding the position of deputy adviser to US President Jimmy Carter. In 1987, he founded the Carlyle Group, which soon became a global investment company. He is the author of three books: The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians, The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream, and How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers.

Publishing house:

Simon & Schuster