Finance & Economy


Legacy, philanthropy, and the power of persuasion: Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein

February 15, 2022

Legacy, philanthropy, and the power of persuasion: Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein

David Rubenstein

American Business Leader, Bestselling Author, & Patriotic Philanthropist

The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein has built a legacy that goes far beyond his business success.

The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein has built a legacy that goes far beyond his business success. On this episode of the Walker Webcast, he discusses his remarkable career journey, including building The Carlyle Group, the evolution of the private equity industry, investment advice, the importance of giving back, and so much more. 


Willy is joined by David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest and most successful private investment firms. Established in 1987, the company now manages $301 billion from 26 offices around the world. David is also Chairman of the Boards of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Gallery of Art, and the Economic Club of Washington, as well as serves on the board for many other arts, international affairs, and educational organizations.

Willy begins the conversation by asking David about his work in higher education. At his alma mater, Duke University, David has contributed to the libraries, athletic teams, and business school. David believes that the higher education system in the United States is the envy of the world, and he encourages people to give back to their university. 
Serving on so many boards can require some juggling, something David says he’s never been great at. Giving his time to these organizations means he doesn’t devote time to hobbies like playing golf or watching television. David explains that he doesn’t serve on these boards for his resume or adoration, but rather does it because he believes in their mission and wants to offer support and guidance. 

In his book, How to Lead, David discusses the impact of luck. He considers finding his co-founders for The Carlyle Group to be a stroke of luck and says the company’s trajectory could have been much different without them. He also outlines his views on hard work, focus, and failure. During the Great Recession, The Carlyle Group lost about one billion dollars of investor capital. He and his employees had to fight to bring the organization’s reputation back. Life, David says, is about persuasion. He explains that he has worked on those skills to bring people into his philanthropic efforts. Persuasion has also helped him grow The Carlyle Group, though David says, in the beginning, he did not anticipate their growth.

David is considered a great fundraiser, and his unique fundraising forward approach has contributed to the growth of The Carlyle Group. Through the years, David has developed three rules for money management: 1) don’t lose what you have; 2) diversify; 3) have realistic expectations about rates of return. David discusses the balance of not losing what you have while diversifying and investing. For people interested in investment but wouldn’t call themselves investors, David recommends putting money into investments the way you would another hobby. This will allow you to follow his #1 rule, and not lose your personal savings or wealth. For his own investments, David does research and some trend predicting, but stresses that no one can predict the future. The world and markets sometimes do not do what you expect and good investors pivot. 

David has interviewed hundreds of people throughout the world. He believes that the happiest, most successful people have a strong family life. They receive support and joy from those around them outside of work. When he thinks about his own impact on the world, he says he hopes that he’s remembered as someone who spent his time and effort in making things better than how he found them.


Learn more about David Rubenstein on his website and follow him on Twitter.
Check out Walter & Dunlop’s website

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