American billionaire and businessman David Rubenstein shared some words to the wise about making money at the National Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022 — and revealed what all successful investors have in common.

The Library of Congress, which organizes the annual event, invited Rubenstein to speak in a session for attendees as his new book, “How to Invest: Masters on the Craft,” goes on sale Sept. 13, 2022.

The book features conversations with some of America’s great business leaders, investors and moneymakers as they shed light on investing and demonstrate their common traits. 

“The American dream is alive,” Rubinstein told the assembled crowd this Labor Day weekend. “And the entrepreneurial instinct of the country is pretty strong.”

Rubenstein, the co-founder of private equity firm The Carlyle Group and chair of the board of trustees at Duke University, spotlighted a few of his fellow success stories, including BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, billionaire investor Ray Dalio and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

Rubenstein said that what he admires about Buffett specifically is his “intellect, focus” and passion for investing as a whole, as opposed to those who make money to spend it on material things.

“He has pretty good instinct and intuition,” he added.

Rubenstein said he admires investor Warren Buffet for his intellect and focus.
Rubenstein said he admires investor Warren Buffet for his intellect and focus.
AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File

Rubenstein cheered on the American ability to “create something out of nothing” — and he himself has reaped the benefits of the American Dream firsthand.

For people looking to get ahead, he emphasized that hard work is “really going to get you further than not [doing] hard work.”

Rubenstein listed some of the traits shared by successful people, saying first that every successful person he’s known has had a voracious thirst for knowledge.

“You can never read too much,” he said.

He also said qualities such as working well with others, sharing credit on projects, having humility and engaging in hard work will help lead to prosperity. 

Rubenstein emphasized that good investors also move on to the next opportunity after an investment failure.

He joked that he himself lacks this quality — as he tends to harp on lost investments.

He mentioned that his portfolio suffered big losses after shooting down Facebook and Amazon in their early days.

David M. Rubenstein is also the author of “The American Experiment” and “The American Story.” 

In addition to his work as co-founder and co-chairman of The Carlyle Group, Rubenstein is chairman of the boards of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Gallery of Art, among other positions.

He has spent more than three decades in the world of private equity.

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