Lloyd Blankfein’s Advice To Young People: Focus On Being A Complete Person

Image via Flickr/ Financial Times

Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs for nearly seven years now, is an impressive businessman. A Jewish boy from the Bronx, he graduated from Harvard and now earns eight figures annually from his Wall Street work; his net worth is estimated at more than $450 million.

At yesterday’s Investment Company Institute’s annual meeting in DC, he was asked an unexpected question: what advice could he offer to young people on the cusp of their careers, whether they were headed into financial fields or otherwise?

Blankfein, who himself has two sons and a daughter aged 27, 25 and 19, laughed. “You have to understand that you can never give your own kids advice.”

But he did leave some parting words of wisdom for unrelated young adults of the nation:

Look, I started out, I didn’t just go to law school, I practiced law. Things ended up a lot different from where I thought they’d be. I would say people should go to a place and do something that’s for the next period of their life and not to be so obsessive about where it’s going to take you in the longer run. The longer run there’s going to be a lot… Not only don’t you know the context you’re going to face, you don’t even know yourself. And so the idea of planning these things and trying to do things on a course and ‘Will this be good for me in the long run?’ I think people should take advantage of the fact that in this generation nobody’s being drafted into the army. You can have a few years of experimentation that you can be liberated from the need to make sure everything is taking you on some straight line to some place because it turns out not to be a straight line anyway.


And also, don’t worry about learning the content of your business because to succeed you have to know content of what you’re doing, but you have to be a complete person. I think in the early part of your life, you should focus on being a complete person.”

Blankfein ranks number 36 on Forbes’ List of 71 Most Powerful People from 2012.