Peter G. Peterson is an American entrepreneur, investment banker and politician. He served as United States Secretary of Commerce during the Nixon administration and was Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations Council on Foreign Relations until his retirement in 2007. Peter co-founded the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, in 1985 and retired in 2008 as its Senior Chairman. He is the author of the book Running On Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It. Peterson was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2000 to 2004 and is founding Chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics.
We ran into a tragedy, however, when I was four. My one-year old sister died suddenly from Croup, a form of pneumonia I guess. And she was my mother’s attempt to be born again, you might say, through her daughter. Because these Greek wives lived very tough lives, given how their husbands were working. And when she lost her beloved daughter, she went into very deep mourning. And I, as a child who normally . . . I think we think of ourselves as the center of the solar system. Everything revolves around us. We’re responsible for everything and so forth. I guess I wondered why, as my mother withdrew into the deepest, deepest depression psychologically, what I did to cause her to abandon me. And added to my complexities I guess you’d say, I formed a pattern of having to achieve and having to be perfect so I could somehow regain her affection and her attention. And that’s had some good points and that’s had some bad points, because trying to achieve perfection can be productive; and it also can be a very destructive process for a while. So she had quite an impact on me. Recorded On: 7/26/07