I am unreasonable.
It’s the one adjective everyone I know—family, friends, associates, employees, and critics—has used to describe me.
Occasionally, some of them have also called me crazy or nuts. But they’ve all told me at some point that I was being unreasonable because my goals were unrealistic, my deadlines couldn’t be met, my ideas were far-fetched, or my approach trampled on the conventional wisdom.
But I believe that being unreasonable has been the key to my success. In this book I want to show you how applying unreasonable thinking can help you achieve goals others may tell you are out of reach, just as it has for me.
Over the past six decades I have had four careers: accounting, homebuilding, retirement savings, and philanthropy. I became the first person to build two Fortune 500 companies from the ground up in two different industries. The $6 billion I earned in business is now being used to help reform public education in America, assemble two world-class art collections and make them widely accessible, and provide critical start-up funding for cutting-edge biomedical research.
What gives me the most satisfaction is that all my careers have demanded that I meet people’s essential needs—helping them realize their dreams of homeownership and a secure retirement, educating their children, experiencing great art, and living a healthier life. Each has also required me to be quite unreasonable—to have outsized ambition, discipline, energy, ...