Peter Peterson
Co-Founder, The Blackstone Group; Chairman Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations

What is the measure of a good life?

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Sharing your life makes it a good life.

Peter Peterson

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.


I think a good life is one where you do put a fair amount of your time in making your community, and your country, and the people in it just a little bit better than they otherwise would have been. They’re sharing some of your good fortune. But the reason I’ve had such dumb luck in life and not taking yourself too seriously, I think it’s very important to appreciate that those of us who have risen to whatever levels I’ve risen to . . . It can be very easy to arrive at the comfortable conclusion that the reason I got here is that I am brilliant, and I am innovative, and I am a terrific builder and I’m this, that and the other thing. It’s a little harder to say, “You know, it’s some damn good luck I had somewhere along the line.” If some other people had had it, they may have done a lot better than they had done. So I think a good life has a lot to do with sharing what you have with the society at large. Recorded On: 7/26/07