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tv   National Book Festival - David Rubenstein How to Lead  CSPAN  September 27, 2020 12:22am-12:50am EDT

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♪ and this is booktv on c-span2 coverage of the 20th annual national book festival, of course, this year it is virtual. david rubenstein is major funder of the book festival as well as other institutions here in washington. and he's written about three books now. here's his most recent. how to lead and he's in conversation with msnbc andrea mitchell.
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history and biography is sponsored by wells fargo. ♪ god day i am a andrea mitchell from nsnbc and welcome is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 20th anniversary of a national book festival present by library of congress. and we are thrilled to have today our office david rubenstein who has produced author a new book and new book is how to lead. and it is an extraordinary combination of conversations on leadership and the qualities that make people believers
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especially these very special people. these unique individuals that david has assembled in his book. david rubenstein, welcome you're a lawyer. you're former white house founder of the world largest -- private equity firm you're a history buff restored washington monument you saved of the national zoo pandas brought magna carta and having saying nothing of a television show in bloomberg, and on pbs how do you do it all tell us about your leadership. >> well, i didn't feel i was as good a leader as people i interviewed so in the book i talk a little bit about what i try to do as a leader but recognizing i wasn't really at the level of people i interviewed i went out and try to interview the most famous people i could. that i knew who were leaders people in business or culture or the arts or sports and that book is basically a summary of what they told me and what it attacks to be a leader. >> if you were to skill any
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quality of leadership from these people and we'll get more specific in a moment because threes are extraordinary stories. tell me what you found to be most important qualities or the connective thread among them. >> persistence is number one. because nobody wakes up and can get anything done they want. nobody has ideas that are so brilliant people say yes that's great when jeff bezos said i'm going to sell books on internet people laughed so you have to be persistent you have to know how to communicate with other people and get people to work for you or with you. so the skill of influence people have really important also i think it is also important that the humble, humility gets you further than i think arrogance, obviously, some people are arrogant but in the end i think most admire leaders who are humble ethical, they're people that want to do something useful with their life. and they think that what they're doing is useful in many cases it is. >> now you share the board
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fellow on harvard corporation you're on john hopkins medicine all of these academic institutions, these in chicago you have one aspect you found among some of these leaders is they drop out of school they didn't graduate college and bill gates, grandson let me ask you about gates if he had not dropped out of harvard he doesn't think my microsoft would have dominated when he was first creating all of that. >> very first dropout, of course, is bill gates and he dropped out because he thought he was goi to miss the software revolution as he later says in a bit in the interview he loses to it he said he was wrong. software revolution waited more years so actually had he graduated wouldn't have made that much of a difference and didn't know that and imagine telling your father and mother who are very well educated i'm dropping out of college to start a company in the software world when nobody really know what software was. same is true i did an interview over this book mark zuckerberg did same thing and college
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dropouts richard is high school dropout actually and he had dyslexia and wasn't good in school so important to get education i'm glad my children completed their degrees but often people can be successful without a college degree. >> in the case of richard branson he told you and huge successful that his secret is surround himself with great people and you point out in your narratives that he listens to the great people he surrounds himself with. >> yes there are some great leaders like to surround themselves with famous penal they don't listen to them and great thing about being a leader is you listen to people and i interview oprah winfrey why are you a great interviewer? because i listen to what people says and that makes good interviewer. >> how much when you're calculated with mistaker because tells you when he got bumped on a flight a commercial flight, from porkt puerto rico to virgin
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islands decided to fill up with other bump passengers, and ended up going to the business and starting with 1747 and use going up against 300 british airway pads and back in the day they have gwa starting from scratch with the airline business. >> i think it's cool most leaders they didn't have a mckenzie roord on bain report saying here's how you can become a leader it happened by serendipity many times people had a lucky break and all of a sudden something happened to them for example jim baker asked to run a campaign for george walk or bush and jim baker says i'm a democrat you know running as republican and i don't know anything about politics but worked out for jim and walk or bush and wasn't something that wassen played very often great things in life are not planned. >> when you said that oprah is a listener also, and that she tells you that she tries to understand the impact of what is being said by people. what do you think is the quality
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that make her connect so directly to people whether it is a live audience or -- in a film or in a play? >> it's a word that has come about recently in the news. it is called empathy. you have to empathize with people. and when people can sense you empathize with them, you can connect with them and she's the best at that. it's like i like to say in the book she's done so well that she doesn't need a second name. so she's like cher or madonna or bono. good first name does it all and as i like to say in the book i did in the interview her i said consider running for president. you know you don't have to be a government official anymore and maybe she flirted with it for a while and realize being oprah is better than being president. >> for sure i would think. [laughter] oprah is also getting demoted getting fired losing job and discovering something else that you are even better at. >> yes. i think most leaders have failed. if you haven't failed in life you're not probably going to be very successful in something you
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hope to do you have to fail something has to make you go down. bill gates jeff bezos they all fail at something or another that makes you a stronger leader and oprah was fired from one job basically was about to be fired from another when she openly went to chicago and became famous. >> women that you've interviewed in the book, kristin -- here she was the director of a largest law firm in the country born in france educated partly in the u.s. but then she ends up in chicago running a big law firm, and then she was in finance and she becomes to a lot of other events. emergency really ahead after the predecessor opposed and now she's at the european central bank. because she was fierce enough. now she's in europe in a pandemic and about to face the
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breakfast what gives her quality to lead the world practically now through this? >> well christine would say she was understatemented because she was a woman she was first woman to have that law firm, first woman to be a finance minister in europe and head to imf and had a central bank in europe and she set help. ... >> you get people to follow
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you for being a cured communicator you have to say this is what we should do and inspire them. the best way without doubt is not true words are writing but showing by example. when washington was at valley forge he didn't have to stay there with his troops freezing as they were. he could've went down to the ritz-carlton and stay there but he didn't. he stayed with his troops and that's what made them loyal to him. >>host: yes. leave and better and philadelphia. when you talk to ruth bader ginsburg. it becomes a women they have to achieve and put themselves first they are not picked up by the men who make these
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choices climbing through the ranks. >> we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the women's right to vote. many women including roosevelt - - eleanor roosevelt were against it they could not hold office. and for example president kennedy had no women in his cabinet. now is the president you have to have women in your cabinet to hear from people with a different perspective but it is a different world all the women i interviewed all struggled. ruth bader ginsburg is a classic example first in her class at columbia in law school could not get a job. >> even sandra day o'connor who preceded her so she took a job at the desk even though she placed so well first or second at stanford. talk about the relationship between those two women the
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oldest justice on the court, the only one who was a rock star she went over her colleagues with charm and stability in the relationship with her and justice scalia you asked it was awkward if they would go to the opera her answer was no because she loved him for his sense of humor. they developed that sense of humor on the third circuit and he used to whisper jokes to her on the bench as you have to hold herself back from laughing out loud. >> they were both off fans will go to the kennedy center a couple times when i introduced her as a chairman she gets a standing ovation. but she got along with justice cooley although he disagreed with her he was not disagreeabl disagreeable. in her case i asked her how do
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you wake up every morning to be hundred 30 million americans bunch of the state of your health? they wanted to be spectacular i hope it is for quite some time. >> the grit she has shown with all she had to go through and still is, how much is tough as it is overwhelming. >>guest: think of the situation she faced she was the top of her class in law school still couldn't get the honors people normally get better men. also the fourth bout with cancer. eighty-seven years old ways less than 100 pounds but has a great and determination that makes her a rock star. of the 114 people i doubt anybody has been as popular in the public as she has been. >>host: to come in like a creative force like steve jobs
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knowing you cannot replicate him instead of trying he takes it in a completely different direction. >>guest: best off fans will remember ucla coach who won ten championships who wanted to succeed him? they lasted a very short period of time so tim cook thought he would be a short period of time but he is been there for quite a while and he pulled the value of the company because he said i will not be steve jobs. i will do the opposite we will collaborate and get along. he is great what he did for tim cook made a more successful and recognizes he is not steve jobs. that is important. >>host: the leaders like gates and tim cook who are successful in the tech world and the other creative forces such as musicians and artists and politicians is there a
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more universal quality? >> check ceos tend to be focused in word so for a long time they didn't want to come to washington and deal with those issues and now they are forced to wear people and politics have to go out and express themselves all the time to a larger audience but the greatest strength is his personality because he shows the passion. >> i know those technical skills but i agree completely and you know better than i his passion he shows that with
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anybody he is with native americans on reservations as part of the presidential program for the kennedy center on the world stage. >>guest: he is a great cultural ambassador. >>host: the public personality is the performance part do you see that in politicians which will bring me to nancy pelosi.
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>>guest: being around politicians for your career they say things off the record and not on the record with great politicians are the same insider outsider on the record off the record. she is a good example we have a special connection through baltimore. and the 250 year history of the country no woman comes close to the power she has had for such a long power of time. she just celebrated her 80th birthday and in the primer for power is amazing for being us housewife in san francisco to speaker. >>host: even the first speaker in 2006 the female side of her to bring all children up to the podium and grandchildren it was something that no mail speaker would have thought of doing. but coming back from defeat because they lost in 2010 as she fought back in 2018 how resilience is part of leadership? >>guest: it's very important you will be be enough to matter what you do and you have to stand up to be resilient or something bad happens and you don't come
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back you are not ineffective leader. i've met people my career who don't have real setbacks when they got older they were not set to them so later they cannot come back because they were not resilient so early on that's important dividing life into three parts many people who succeed in the second and third part failed in the first but they were resilient and kept coming back you have to be if you are an effective leader. >>host: what about being born with wealth or privilege is an asset or a hindrance to develop resiliency and grit? >>guest: the hardest thing in the world to do successfully is raise children who are happy and healthy.
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it's very hard if you were a child from a wealthy family many children are spoiled and don't have the motivation. i tend to thank you are born in a wealthy family you have privileges but if you accomplish something you have to overcome the perception got there because of the wealth. i think the most successful ever come from extremely wealthy families. in fact it's very where the nobel prize winners coming on the poorest 400 list it's normal middle income were blue-collar families. they have the drive to push forward you really have to struggle to have drive. >>host: in the context of all of us struggling with the pandemic with leaders and ceos , what about business leaders if they talk about what conditions? how to deal with loss? and what responsibilities they
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have two employees? >> a number of them recently how they deal with covid, the highest responsibility is to their employees they can perform in a healthy and safe manner. but those who work for you feel they care about them under empathetic to them and you don't just worry about profits. the way the world evolves after covid people will change the way they live. we will probably not be traveling as much for quite some time doing more things remotely from home and i think the world will change also people are more worried about their health and never. what covid brought to me as i am now 70 years old used to myself as an aging boot - - baby boomer but i am active time now looked at as a senior citizen now they say you can go over here and come in early i realize is the fragility of
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life will be learn from covid is how quickly life can go away. we are baby boomers and that we make it to 70 or 80 your husband is 94? >> 94. we had dinner the other night. he knows what's going on it is terrific. people think if you get to 70 you can make it to 94. but you realize your wife one - - a life could be wiped out in one or two weeks without saying goodbye quite feel how lucky i am and how important it is to be safe not take risks. that's a people should take - - learn don't take risks life is fragile. >>host: you are involved in so many medical institutions like hopkins and harvard how optimistic are you we can get through this quick. >> in terms of a vaccine
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average is about ten years i do think we will get a vaccine because are so many countries working on it will it be as effective as we want it to be but the first half of next year there will be several. the track isn't just to distribute at the affordable cost is the challenge. >>host: do you worry about american leadership obviously with the global economy competing under different political systems? >> i do worry about it i had another situation this morning the prime minister singapore made the plea for america to be an asian power and remain in asian power the world is better off if united states
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plays the role we did through the sixties through the eighties that we have done so many great things i wonderful you are as effective leader as we used to be. >>host: you mentioned jim baker he had a wonderful interview in the book even better than i first thought. his words of preparation i've ever known anyone but chief of staff who did his homework more. that's how i even got to know him better through the campaign is with him coming to the white house was a young correspondent he would be picking up is also preparing for the sunday morning talk show. >>guest: he was always paired even after leaving the government he served as an advisor for about 12 years. very often meeting famous people you see their flaws but
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it's the opposite with him i admire him more than i did before i got to know him. prior preparation prevents poor performance and it is true. he is always paired. >>host: he inherited the legacy of james a baker the third and it didn't hurt him at all he still has the grit and resilience. talk to me about build on - - warren buffett such a mentor for bill gates. >>guest: in the history of the world nobody has made as much money as an investor for himself other people as warren buffett starting with nothing and one of the richest people in the world now he gives away the book of this money to the bill and melinda gates foundation you'll see a person bragging how rich or smart he
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is it's great when you can meet people that they are humble that's i like them to show his self-deprecating humor and not taking themselves too seriously. >>host: who have you not interviewed? >> queen elizabeth does not do interviews. the pope doesn't have never interviewed andrea mitchell i thought maybe i could interview her. >>host: that would be such a great pleasure. one of the most unguarded questions? >> i always like to ask people what makes them a leader sometimes i throw and whimsical questions one time i interviewed the ceo of an
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automobile company. i buy a car and the sales man goes back to talk to the sales manager what is he doing are they negotiating the price or just having a cup of coffee? i always wondered she said she had dealers in the audience a didn't want to say but sometimes that loosens the attention a little bit. >>host: did you ask if she fills her own gas? >> yes i said are you out there filling up your own gas? she said yes. i asked rex to listen if he was driving does he always go to exxon if he goes to another if there's any difference of gasoline from the others and he did not give a straight answer on that.
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>>host: david rubenstein it is such a pleasure you captured these people on television as the book i everyone will read it as i did. >>guest: maybe i can interview you at some point. >>host: joining us at the national book festival. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >>host: book tv coverage of the national book festiva


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