“‘What It Takes’ Review: The Ingredients of Success,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 17, 2019 (review of Schwarzman’s book)

“Stephen Schwarzman’s Lifelong Audacity,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 13, 2019 (review of Schwarzman’s book)

“Blackstone’s Tactical Fund Buying Wealth-Management Unit,” Bloomberg, July 11, 2014

“Henry Kravis, Still Shaking Wall Street, Steers KKR Into Lending,”  Bloomberg Markets, June 11, 2014

“Blackstone’s Blitzer Hunts Goldman’s Lost Opportunities,” Bloomberg, June 9, 2014

“Biggest Buyout Gone Bust,” Bloomberg, April 30, 2014

“How Blackstone grooms talent,” Fortune, October 2010

“Survival of the Richest,” The Economist, Aug. 19, 2010 (profile of Blackstone)

Suzanne McGee, “Flying Into the Sun: Blackstone timed its 2007 IPO just perfectly—for itself. Within days, its shares began to slide, a chilling and unmistakable sign that the financial bubble was bursting,”, June 18, 2010

“Blackstone’s IPO through Peterson’s lens,” Reuters blog, May 13, 2009

James B. Stewart, “The Birthday Party: How Stephen Schwarzman became private equity’s designated villain,” The New Yorker, Feb. 11, 2008

Nelson D. Schwartz, “Wall Street’s man of the moment: With a history-making deal and a headline-making birthday party, Steve Schwarzman has become the symbol of a new era in finance. And that’s always a risky proposition,” Fortune, Feb. 21, 2007

Landon Thomas, Jr., “The Making of a Wise Man,” The New York Times, Nov. 28, 2004 (profile of Schwarzman)


David discusses Blackstone and the book with The Deal’s Vipal Monga.

John discusses Blackstone and the book with’s Gregg Greenberg


What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, by Stephen A. Schwarzman, Drew Birdseye et al. (2019). “Impactful episodes from Schwarzman’s life . . . show readers how to build, transform, and lead thriving organizations.”

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco (1990), by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar. Twenty years on this best-selling and epic account of the iconic takeover battle of the 1980s still makes great reading. The book framed the image of private equity for two decades.

Merchants of Debt: KKR and the Mortgaging of American Business (1992, reissued 2002), by George Anders. Overshadowed by the melodrama of Barbarians, this richly reported, well written, even-handed history of KKR through the end of the 1980s is loaded with information about the inner workings of the firm and the back stories to its deals.

The New Financial Capitalists: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and the Creation of Corporate Value (1998), by George P. Baker and George David Smith. These business school professors were granted access to KKR and explain the ins and outs of a number of its key deals. More analytical than narrative, it nonetheless reads well. Naturally, it’s sympathetic to KKR.

The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Will Cause the Next Great Credit Crisis (2009) by Josh Kosman. The authors disagree with Kosman’s key conclusions — including the likelihood of a cataclysmic fallout from the buyout boom of the past decade — but he presses the argument against private equity forcefully. (Reissued in paperback as The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Is Destroying Jobs and Killing the American Economy.)

The Masters of Private Equity and Venture Capital (2010), by Robert A. Finkel and David Greising. First-person accounts from ten private equity and venture capital pioneers, including Warren Hellman, Joe Rice, John Canning and William Draper III, who share career highlights and lowlights. Informative and often colorful.