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Off-duty: Carlyle’s Brian Bernasek on history, mentors and The Splendid and the Vile

We asked the managing director a few personal questions regarding what he does with his spare time when he's not working the private equity salt mines.

As part of our January cover story in Buyouts magazine, we asked Carlyle Group‘s Brian Bernasek, among other big names in PE, his thoughts about where the market is headed in 2022. He and the other participants gave us an abundance of interesting material regarding inflation, ESG, over-heated markets and other big issues.

To lighten things up a bit, we also asked Bernasek (as well as Karen Frank of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Blackstone’s Joe Baratta) a few personal questions regarding what he does with his spare time when he’s not working the private equity salt mines. Here are his replies:

What is your New Year’s resolution?
Focus on doing those few things that are most important really well.

If you weren’t in PE, what job would you like to have?
College history professor.

How do you relax when you’re not working?
I am happiest and most relaxed when with my family and having dinner or watching a game… especially a game one of my kids is in.

What book are you reading right now?
I am alternating back and forth between The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson and The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel.

Who in your career do you regard as a mentor?
My father has been a great personal and professional guide in the game-of-life balance. I also learned so much about hustle and investment judgment from Greg Ledford, my mentor at Carlyle for over a decade. He recently passed away, and I miss him.

Professionally, what was your toughest moment?
Finding my footing and my voice in the early years with Carlyle. It is tough to break in, and to break through, in this business.

Your most rewarding?
I appreciate those times on the floor of the NYSE at the launch of a portfolio investment IPO. The camaraderie, joint appreciation and sense of accomplishment is very special.