If Eli Broad ruled the world, he would raise taxes on wealthiest Americans

broad2.jpgAnd if L.A.'s billionaire philanthropist had to do it all over again, he would spend more time with his sons. He'd also improve on his penmanship ("Sometimes even I have trouble reading what I've written"), and might want to learn how to dive into a pool. Broad agreed to a series of quick-draw questions as part of my interview with him in the February issue of Inc. magazine. For a guy we all think we know pretty well, there are some revealing snippets.

What's your favorite part of a typical day? I love waking up in the morning and getting to work.

What's the least glamorous thing you do in the line of duty? I eat lunch at my desk most days.

What quality do you most admire in people? Youthful drive. And unreasonableness.

What quality do you find the most off-putting in others? Laziness.

What skill would you most like to improve? My penmanship. Sometimes even I have trouble reading what I've written.

If you could go back in time and do one thing differently in your career, what would it be? I would spend more time with my sons.

What's the simplest thing you never learned to do? Dive into a pool head first.

Who is the smartest person you know? And why? Bill Clinton. He's absolutely brilliant and can converse about anything.

What is the best advice you've given your children? Sell your AIG stock.

Who gives you the best advice about your business? We have a terrific board of governors who advise us on our philanthropy. Our board includes Larry Summers, Rod Paige, Henry Cisneros, David Baltimore and Andy Stern.

What's the best advice you've ever received? The harder you work, the luckier you get. (if you want to know my advice, sign up for my daily Tweets @unreasonableeli)

What's the worst advice you've ever received? Retire and try golf.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your decades of entrepreneurship? The thing I enjoy the most is creating things from scratch or improving things that already exist.

What belief did you hold at the beginning of your career that has changed? Making money is more fun than giving it away. I'm definitely having more fun now, even though I'm working harder than when I ran a Fortune 500 company.

If you were charged with fixing the U.S. economy, how would you do it? Increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

If you were made dictator for a day, what's the first change you'd make? Talk to my wife Edye for the answer to that one. She's in charge.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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