1131. “The Joy and Privilege of Leading Others Inspired Me Throughout My 37-Year Military Career.”
General David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Retired)
“We lived in Cornwall, New York, which is only about 7 miles from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I delivered newspapers in the neighborhood for two and a half years as a kid. It was a really good experience. I had to get out there and interact with the customers, about half of which were either active service members at West Point, graduates of West Point or retired military officers. Over time you want to be like people that you admire, or as the classic TV commercial intoned: ‘I want to be like Mike.’ In my case, my ‘Mike’ were those West Point graduates and cadets and their influence and example is what ultimately led me to attend the United States Military Academy. I enrolled at West Point July 1st of 1970, and studied and trained there for the next four years.
“West Point is where I immediately began to realize that life is a very competitive endeavor and that you really need to strive to be the absolute best that you can be as well as the best team player. I realized that I did have the aptitudes and talents for academics, athletics and leadership. In our class of about 850 cadets there were only two of us who were: varsity lettermen, so-called ‘Star men’ who were in the top 5% of the class academically and captains in the Corps of Cadets leadership structure.
“There are three core components of military life: physical capabilities, mental acuity and finally the joy and privilege of leading others that inspired me throughout my 37-year military career.”
General David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Retired) is a Partner in the global investment firm KKR and Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which he established in mid-2013. He is also a personal venture investor, engaged in various academic endeavors, and co-author with Andrew Roberts of the forthcoming book titled Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine.
Prior to joining KKR, General Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career with six consecutive commands as a general officer, five of which were in combat. Following retirement from the military, and after confirmation by the Senate in a vote of 94-0, he served as the Director of the CIA during a period of significant achievements in the war on terror.
General Petraeus graduated with distinction from the U.S. Military Academy and later earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He is the only individual to have been the top graduate of both the year-long Command and General Staff College Course and the demanding U.S. Army Ranger School.
Over the past 15 years, General Petraeus has been named one of America’s 25 Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report, a runner-up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, the Daily Telegraph Man of the Year, twice a Time 100 selectee, Princeton University’s Madison Medalist, Prospect Magazine’s Public Intellectual of the Year, three times one of Foreign Policy magazine’s top 100 public intellectuals, and a LinkedIn Top Voice.
On His Bookshelf
To be published in 2023:
Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine, co-authored by General David H. Petraeus and Andrew Roberts
Connecting With General David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Retired)
Website: KKR Global Institute
Subscribe to the Podcast Free: