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Peter G. Peterson
Co-founder and Senior Chairman, Blackstone Group

When I was at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, I had Milton Friedman as a professor. He worshipped free markets and was also a powerful advocate of Adam Smith's concept of comparative advantage: Focus on those things you do better than others. That has been enormously helpful in defining our business strategies. For example, when we [Peterson and co-founder Steve Schwarzman] were setting up the Blackstone Group in 1985, many argued that Blackstone should invest in hostile LBO transactions. We felt that our advantage was that we were on friendly terms with many American CEOs and boards. So we took the contrarian position. We would only do strictly friendly investments. As a result, so-called corporate partnerships have become a major foundation - and a very profitable contribution - to our business.

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Last updated April 30 2008: 4:31 PM ET