Effective leaders 'rise to the occasion': The Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein

David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman, The Carlyle Group

Image: The Carlyle Group

Linda Lacina
Digital Editor, World Economic Forum
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  • This fortnightly podcast from the World Economic Forum features the world’s top changemakers, showcasing the habits and traits effective leaders can’t work without.
  • David Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, interviews top leaders regularly for Bloomberg TV, and a selection of his conversations with changemakers from business, entertainment and government were recently compiled into a new book, How to Lead.
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Great leaders share certain traits. They're humble. They know when they're lucky. And when challenges emerge, they rise to the occasion. These are just some of the insights on effective leadership shared by David Rubenstein on the latest episode of the podcast Meet the Leader.


Rubenstein is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world's largest private equity firms. He's also the host of The David Rubenstein Show, interviewing top leaders for Bloomberg, and the author of a new book, How to Lead: Wisdom from the World's Greatest CEOs, Founders and Game-changers.

Such conversations - as well as a background that includes a short stint working in the White House - gives Rubenstein a special perspective on leadership and what's needed to truly make change. "Nothing was ever done that's meaningful in life without somebody providing some resistance to it," says Rubenstein. "You've got to plow through that resistance if you're actually going to accomplish anything."

Rubenstein discusses all this - and what courageous leaders will be prioritizing in the year ahead - in this week's Meet the Leader, a fortnightly podcast hosted by Linda Lacina diving into the habits and qualities leaders depend on the most.


A book he recommends: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin. This book explores Lincoln's cabinet, a group that included enemies and rivals who became a team of allies thanks to their respect and reverence of the president. "What you get from that is that even though you have enemies, even though you have competitors, if you work together with them, you can achieve some great things," says Rubenstein.

A habit he can't work without: Preparation. Rubenstein doesn't walk into meetings cold and reads the books of every author he interviews. The practice, summed up by the classic adage 'prior preparation prevents poor performance,' follows an example set first by James Baker, a former US Secretary of State and partner at the Carlyle Group. Rubenstein says the practice ensures he's giving his best effort and performance. "Jim Baker did it his whole life. And he's gotten me doing it."

Have you read?

Listen to Meet The Leader's sister podcasts World Vs Virus, about the global pandemic, House On Fire, our 10-part environmental series, and The Great Reset, on the efforts to 'build back better'.

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