“The important thing in investing is to be true to your compass”
John Paulson – rare interview with JP H/T Lawrence Delevigne

Published on Apr 1, 2016

John Paulson is the recipient of the 2016 Leadership Dinner Business Statesman Award.

0:03I’m HBS alumni children not bad here with fellow alum John Paulson was the
0:08recipient of the HBS club in new york–business statesman award John
0:12congratulations on the award and thank you for having us here at your hedge
0:15funds office in New York City thanking church in the world financial services
0:19when you deliver big returns your applauded when you thank the critics
0:23come out in full force where does leadership come in the important thing
0:27in investing though is to be true to your compass stock market goes up or
0:33down and you can’t adjust your portfolio based on the whims of the market so you
0:38have to have a strategy in a position and stay true to that strategy and not
0:43pay attention to noise that could surround any particular investment you
0:50talk about investing are there some leadership principles that have guided
0:53you throughout your career
0:54well the most important thing in investing is to know what you’re
0:58investing in and if you’re confident in the outcome
1:01it’s important to stay true to your position the world financial services
1:06the world itself life constantly volatile what are some of the challenges
1:10in your life and how did you deal with them will change her I would say the
1:14biggest challenge is when I started the company had very little capital about a
1:19million dollars I had no investors and I don’t have any trickery and everyone
1:24told me you’re not going to succeed this so many failures you shouldn’t try but I
1:30was I had confidence in my ability to perform and I stuck with that confidence
1:35and as you know ultimately succeeded
1:38what was a major turning point in your life personally or professionally which
1:42challenge your leadership values well I think that concerns philanthropy you
1:48know just try for many years to achieve success but at some point I chief
1:54financial success that was beyond what I could possibly spend personally so at
2:00that point I started thinking about using my wealth to do good for society
2:05and for causes that I believed in and for people that were helpful to me
2:10in my road to success and that was a critical turning point for me
2:15professionally he talked about philanthropy you’ve made a 400 million
2:20dollar endowment to Harvard the largest gift ever to the school to support the
2:24School of Engineering and Applied Sciences which has been renamed in your
2:27honor what motivates and informs your philanthropic pursuits Harvard was very
2:32important to me and has been very important to so many people for so many
2:36years it’s an institution that’s dedicated to improving society not for
2:43its students but for everyone in the world so when I decided to look at my
2:49philanthropic goals helping Harvard was a big goal for me and i sat down with
2:55Harvard and wanted to know what they needed
2:59where did they want to focus on the future and top on harvard’s list was
3:05Engineering and Applied Sciences they had begun construction of the school and
3:10Alston had temporarily halted it but their number one priority was to get
3:15that school back in focus so that’s why I focused on the School of Engineering
3:20because it was the area that Harvin was most eager to expand its capabilities
3:27it’s not about receiving achieving significant financial success and
3:32overall in your career what are some of those secrets to your success this
3:36question always reminds me of a quote of winston churchill when he gave the first
3:41addressed Oxford after the war it was a very simple address he said never give
3:46up never give up never give up so when you try something you have to have
3:52confidence many obstacles will coming your way but the important thing is to
3:57never give up
3:59John finally what those receiving the business statesman award mean to you
4:04will Harvard Business School is produced so many leaders over time
4:09and so many of these leaders have received this award before me so for me
4:15it’s a great honor to be included with these past recipients can thank you so
4:22much for joining us thank you sir


"The important thing in investing is to be true to your compass" John Paulson