Billionaire Philanthropist Eli Broad: ‘Progress Comes From Unconventional People’

[ 0 ] March 26, 2014 |

Paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw, “conventional thinking leads to complacency,” says billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad. “All progress comes from unconventional people,” Broad says. The author of The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking attributes the growth of his fortune and the use of that wealth to do good to “always asking, ‘Why not?’ and not following just conventional wisdom.”

Watch Eli Broad discuss the benefits of unconventional thinking and his approach to philanthropy in an interview with genConnect at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival

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Eli Broad is renowned for his business prowess. He built two Fortune 500 companies from the ground up over a 50-year career in business. He is the founder of both SunAmerica Inc. and KB Home (formerly Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation). Along with his wife, Edythe, Broad founded The Broad Foundations to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts; assets of the foundations total about $2.1 billion. The primary goal of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is to improve urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.

Eli and Edythe Broad

Eli and Edythe Broad

Eli Broad’s unusual perspective about how to make progress has been met with challenges, which he has overcome with perseverance, strength and leadership.“You have to convince others you’re doing the right thing,” he says.

It’s a person’s impact on the world, not the accumulation of fortune, that best indicates achievement, Broad says. “To me, success is doing something that makes a difference,” he says.

Broad joined Bill Gates and Warren Buffet as a signer of  The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Broad has focused on the Broad Institute, three stem cell research centers at California universities, the arts and arts institutions, and education reform in America. “We signed up immediately,” Broad says. “In fact, we said we’ll give 75 percent of our net worth through your lifetime.”

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One of Broad’s mentors, Taft Schreiber, a founder of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, introduced Broad to art collecting and art philanthropy, which has become an integral part of his current philosophy.

“My life would be boring if I had spent my life with other business people.” Being surrounded by creative people is “not only inspirational, it gets me to be more creative.”

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About Eli Broad: Eli Broad is a renowned business leader who built two Fortune 500 companies from the ground up over a five-decade career in business. He is the founder of both SunAmerica Inc. and KB Home (formerly [...]
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