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Review: The Education of an American Dreamer by Peter G. Peterson

The Education of an American Dreamer [3]: How A Son of Greek Immigrants Learned His Way From a Nebraska Diner to Washington, Wall Street, and Beyond. by Peter G. Peterson (quite a title!) is an autobiography and I don’t think I’ve read a autobiography in years. But when I was approached by a publicist and asked if I was interested in reading the story of Peter G. Peterson, founder of the Blackstone Group [4], I agreed. The Blackstone Group is a private equity firm that manages close to $95 billion assets, as of the end of 2008. While they’ve been adversely affected by the economy, like every other person in the US, they recently announced that they would continue to pay out its dividend for the year and the stock surged. The Blackstone Group is famous and you can read more about it on Wikipedia [5] (of course!).

I was most interested in reading the story of one of its co-founders, Peter G. Peterson, as he told it. He, of course, has his own Wikipedia page too [6] which includes a brief biography, but nothing can match the story told straight from the man himself. So… I jumped at the chance. If you want to read his story, go to Wikipedia. If you want to hear him tell it, you have to get this book.

The book goes through every chapter of his life, from leaving Kearney Nebraska to his life in Chicago and his (four) “rounds” in Washington DC. It includes his time as Chairman of CEO of Lehman Brothers and everything else in between. The story of Blackstone Group doesn’t appear until Chapter 14. Some believe that living life is about collecting stories, making memories of the good and bad that has happened, and Mr. Peterson has done an excellent job writing down his.

If you’re a fan of books like these, where you get to hear stories straight from the first person, then you’ll enjoy this. If you’re thinking you’ll learn something actionable, you probably want to pass on this. If you just want to learn about him and the Blackstone Group, check out Wikipedia. It’ll be less fun but it’ll be faster.