New York Times Best Seller

Blackstone’s Stephen A. Schwarzman’s new book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, is a must-read for everyone who wants to know what it really takes to achieve success in work and life.

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Stephen Schwarzman What It Takes Book Cover

“Part memoir, part playbook for success in any field.”

– John Kerry

“A must-read, inspirational account of how Stephen A. Schwarzman built Blackstone into one of the world's top global asset management companies.”

– Janet Yellen

“The real story of what it takes from a man who could turn dreams into realities.”

– Ray Dalio

“A series of thoughtful reflections derived from the author's extraordinary life.”

– Henry A. Kissinger

“Excellence is in short supply these days, but you’ll find it on every page of Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman’s autobiography, What It Takes.”

– James Patterson

“Steve challenges us all to be better leaders, better citizens, better people.”

– Mary Barra

“A must-read book, filled with the experiences of one of the great business success stories of the last 30 years.”

– Jack Welch

“Steve always takes the long view and then helps us move in the direction that will pay the greatest dividends.”

– Eric Schmidt

25 Rules for Work and Life

From deal making to investing, leadership to entrepreneurship, philanthropy to diplomacy, Schwarzman has lessons for how to think about ambition and scale, risk and opportunities, and how to achieve success through the relentless pursuit of excellence.


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 effort.


The best executives are made, not born. They never stop learning. Study the people and organizations in your life that have had enormous success. They offer a free course from the real world to help you improve.


Write or call the people you admire, and ask for advice or a meeting. You never know who will be willing to meet with you. You may end up learning something important or form a connection you can leverage for the rest of your life. Meeting people early in life creates an unusual bond.

About The Author

Stephen A. Schwarzman

Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms with over $500 billion in assets under management. He is an active philanthropist, with a history of transformative giving in support of education, culture, and the arts, among other areas. In 2019, Schwarzman published What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, a New York Times best seller which draws on his experiences in business, philanthropy and public service.

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