From growing up in the Midwest to leading Goldman Sachs and then serving his country as Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson offers a unique point of view and a life experience unlike many Americans. With Straight Talk, Hank brings this experience to his conversations with the world’s prominent leaders and thinkers, exchanging a lifetime of stories and lessons from both the private and public sectors. Each episode reveals compelling viewpoints, topical discussion, and behind-the-scenes stories.

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Straight Talk with Hank Paulson: Conversations with today's thinkers and doers

Season Two

Episode 43

Ernest Moniz, 13th US Secretary of Energy and President and CEO of Energy Futures Initiative

Hank welcomes Ernest Moniz (13th US Secretary of Energy and President and CEO of Energy Futures Initiative) to Straight Talk to discuss the intersection of energy, climate, science, and policy. Moniz shares insights on mentorship and STEM education, what it takes to succeed in Washington, how carbon capture can help the world reach net zero emissions, nuclear energy’s potential, serving as a key architect of the Paris Agreement, the upcoming Glasgow climate summit, and his case for climate optimism.

Episode 42

Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Group CEO of Mubadala

Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Group CEO of Mubadala, joins Hank on Straight Talk to discuss how UAE has developed over its first 50 years and where the country is headed in the next 50, investing in the future of the UAE through Mubadala, how UAE is working to meet the climate change threat, the strength of the US-UAE relationship and how UAE is approaching its relationship with China, and what he’s learned while leading Manchester City Football Club.

Episode 41

Kate Gordon, Senior Advisor to Gov. Newsom & Director, Governor's Office of Planning & Research

Kate Gordon (Senior Advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom & Director, Governor’s Office of Planning & Research) joins Hank on the podcast to discuss her dedication to furthering climate policy, defining climate change as a science problem with a policy solution, the latest developments in California’s climate planning efforts, and her case for climate optimism.

Episode 40

David Wallace-Wells, Author, The Uninhabitable Earth and Deputy Editor, New York Magazine

David Wallace-Wells (Author, The Uninhabitable Earth and Deputy Editor, New York Magazine) joins Hank on the latest episode of Straight Talk to discuss the role of journalism in the climate crisis, the implications of the rise in global temperatures, the threat of increased zoonotic pandemics, how global stimulus spending provides an opportunity for a green recovery, and the hope he sees for the future.

Episode 39

David Keith, Physics and Applied Sciences Professor at Harvard University

Hank welcomes David Keith (Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School) to Straight Talk to discuss his physics background, how he would define the climate challenge, climate diplomacy and addressing the global governance problem, what is needed to truly achieve carbon neutrality, solar geoengineering, and the next technologies in the energy industry.

Episode 38

Melissa Kearney

Melissa Kearney (Director of The Aspen Economic Strategy Group and Economics Professor at University of Maryland) joins Hank Paulson to discuss how she got involved in economics, the economic impact of the pandemic on women, the importance of policy that recognizes children as the future of our country, the mission of the Aspen Institute Economic Strategy Group, and how the US can ensure better economic literacy.

Episode 37

Maria Schneider

Hank Paulson welcomes Grammy award winner Maria Schneider (composer, jazz musician, and orchestra leader) to the podcast. She shares insights on writing music and the creative process, building a business in a tough industry. They discuss intellectual property and the free market, their shared passion for birding, and Schneider talks about collaborating with David Bowie.

Episode 36

Robert Zimmer, President of The University of Chicago

Robert Zimmer (President, The University of Chicago) joins Hank to discuss leadership that improves an already great institution, creating a healthy environment for free speech, the importance of international talent to higher education and innovation in America, and managing the University through the current pandemic.

Episode 35

Jennifer Hillman (Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations & Professor, Georgetown Law) & Daniel Price (Managing Director, Rock Creek Global Advisors)

Hank is joined by Jennifer Hillman (Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations and Professor, Georgetown Law) and Daniel Price (Managing Director, Rock Creek Global Advisors). They discuss how they started their careers in trade policy, the importance of trade to America’s well-being and standing in the world, how the US can balance China in the international economic system, and how the global trading system could help in the fight against climate change.

Episode 34

Jeanne Gang, Founding Principal and Partner at Studio Gang

Hank welcomes Jeanne Gang (Founding Principal and Partner, Studio Gang) to Straight Talk. She shares insights on her approach to design and architecture, envisioning the creative process, integrating sustainable/nature-friendly design into the built environment, and discusses growing the global architecture firm Studio Gang and inspiring the next generation of architects.

Episode 33

Honorable Kevin Rudd

Hank welcomes Kevin Rudd (26th Prime Minister of Australia and President of the Asia Society Policy Institute) to the podcast to discuss how he went from a small town farm in Queensland to a career in foreign service and politics, his perspective on the social and political divisions in the US, advocating for climate action, preventing US-China conflict, and his expert prognosis for the future of China’s ambitions.

Episode 32

Paula Johnson, President of Wellesley College

Paula Johnson, President of Wellesley College, joins Hank Paulson to discuss her mother’s influence on her career, women in STEM and obstacles she’s faced in medicine and academia, the benefits of women’s colleges, her management style, what has driven her throughout her career, and leading Wellesley College amidst the pandemic.

Episode 31

Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia and David N. Dinkins Professor, Columbia University

Michael Nutter (former Mayor of Philadelphia and David N. Dinkins Professor at Columbia University) speaks with Hank about his improbable path to becoming mayor of Philadelphia, how mayors are uniquely qualified to lead on sustainability issues, working with mayors across the US and in China, the national conversation around racial equity and social justice, and the future of cities in a post-COVID society.

Episode 31 was recorded on Friday, November 20, 2020.

Episode 30

Condoleezza Rice, Director of the Hoover Institution and 66th Secretary of State

Condoleezza Rice (Director of the Hoover Institution and 66th Secretary of State) joins Hank Paulson to talk about growing up in Alabama, her love of piano, what’s missing from the national conversation on race, charting a better course toward less divisive politics, and the country’s most pressing foreign policy priorities.

Episode 29

Sherrie Rollins Westin, President of Sesame Workshop

Sherrie Rollins Westin (President, Sesame Workshop) joins Hank on the podcast to discuss the mission and ambition that drives her, the global reach and universal appeal of Sesame Street, creating the largest early-childhood intervention in the history of humanitarian response, and her quarantine hobbies.

Episode 28

Ben Bernanke, Economist and 14th Chair of the Federal Reserve

Ben Bernanke (Economist and 14th Chair of the Federal Reserve) joins Hank Paulson to discuss his experience leading the Federal Reserve through the Great Recession, what’s needed to overcome the COVID economic crisis, how economic principles apply to baseball, and his advice for aspiring economists.

Episode 27

Joshua Bolten, President & CEO of Business Roundtable and former White House Chief of Staff

Joshua Bolten (President & CEO of Business Roundtable and former White House Chief of Staff) joins Hank Paulson to discuss advice for succeeding as White House Chief of Staff, organizing President Bush’s efforts to improve public health in Africa, what made Bono the most effective lobbyist he’s ever seen, and the new corporate leadership paradigm.

Episode 26

Don Garber, MLS Commissioner

Don Garber joins Hank Paulson to discuss leaving the NFL to lead the MLS, US soccer’s standing in the world and his vision for the future, how the MLS navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, and key characteristics of great leadership.

Episode 25

Tim Geithner, President of Warburg Pincus and former Treasury Secretary

Tim Geithner (President, Warburg Pincus and 75th United States Secretary of the Treasury) joins Hank to discuss his experience as US Treasury Secretary, lessons learned from prior financial crises, his efforts to combat the global refugee crisis, and his advice for the incoming Biden Administration.

Episode 24

Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University and former Governor of Indiana

Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University and former Governor of Indiana, speaks with Hank about leading an effective state government, how Purdue has kept tuition flat, the importance of free speech in higher education, managing a university during the pandemic, and how to best protect American intellectual property and innovation.

Season One

Episode 23

Robert Zoellick, Author and 11th President of the World Bank, Brunswick Group

Robert Zoellick (11th President of the World Bank and Senior Counselor, Brunswick Group) shares insights on how the United States can lead on international trade, the importance of the World Bank in addressing pressing global issues such as climate change, what is needed for an effective US policy toward a rising China, and his recommendations for the incoming Treasury Secretary.

Episode 22

Jen Zhu Scott (Executive Chairman of The Commons Project) & Paul Triolo (Geotechnology Head, Eurasia Group)

Jen Zhu Scott (Executive Chairman of The Commons Project and Founding Principal of Radian Partners) and Paul Triolo (Geotechnology Head, Eurasia Group and Senior Advisor, MacroPolo) join Hank Paulson to discuss the state of the US-China tech competition, what it means for the future of national security, and what to expect from a Biden administration on technology policy.

Episode 21

Erskine Bowles, Co-Chair, Aspen Economic Strategy Group and President Emeritus, University of North Carolina

Hank speaks with Erskine Bowles, Co-Chair of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group and President Emeritus of the University of North Carolina. Bowles details how he built a successful boutique investment bank, ended up as White House Chief of Staff, and worked across the aisle to balance the budget. He also shares insights on how we can move the US economy forward and delves into what he learned about higher education, drawing from his six years leading the University of North Carolina system.

Episode 20

Bob Rubin, Chairman Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations and Former Secretary of the US Treasury

Bob Rubin (Chairman Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Secretary of the US Treasury) joins Hank Paulson on Straight Talk and shares insights on questioning the seemingly obvious, addressing difficult challenges as Treasury Secretary, developing a generation of economic policymakers, and his advice for those beginning their careers during the pandemic.

Episode 19

Mario Draghi, Economist and former President of the European Central Bank

Mario Draghi, Economist and former President of the European Central Bank, joins Hank to discuss how his upbringing shaped his future in economics, his experience managing the ECB through the financial crisis, and how central banks should approach pandemic recovery.

Episode 18

John Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Hank speaks with John Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Fitzpatrick details the importance of bird conservation worldwide, what it’s like to discover a new species, how technology is improving our ability to study nature, and what makes him hopeful for the future of biodiversity.

Episode 17

Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist (Emeritus) at Carnegie Institution for Science and Senior Advisor (Climate Science) at Gates Ventures

Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist (Emeritus) at Carnegie Institution for Science and Senior Advisor (Climate Science) at Gates Ventures, joins Hank Paulson to discuss the latest climate science, how to get policymakers to act on climate change, and how geoengineering may be vital to ensuring a livable planet.

Episode 16

Henry M. Paulson, Jr. Keynote at Bloomberg New Economy Forum 2020

On Monday, November 16, Hank Paulson, Chairman of the Paulson Institute and 74 U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, addressed the 2020 Bloomberg New Economy Forum. In the speech, Paulson lays out his recommendations for President-elect Biden’s China policy, arguing that competition without unnecessary confrontation should be our goal—because confrontation without effective competition has produced some poor results for the American people. He further recommends that the US pursue a self-interested policy that he terms “targeted reciprocity.”

Episode 15

Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates

Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates, joins Hank to discuss how he got started in finance, finding opportunity amidst setbacks, his new book—The Changing World Order, and monetary policy in the wake of COVID-19.

Episode 14

Luis Alberto Moreno, Former President of the Inter-American Development Bank

Luis Alberto Moreno (Former President, Inter-American Development Bank) talks about his time leading the IDB and the global importance of Latin America—including opportunities for green growth in the area, how COVID is affecting the region, and its role in fighting climate change.

Episode 13

Josh Tyrangiel, Journalist and Producer

Hank speaks with journalist and producer Josh Tyrangiel about the evolving media landscape, coverage of the pandemic and the 2020 election, and his new HBO film on cyber warfare and misinformation – “The Perfect Weapon.”

Episode 12

Ruth Porat, Chief Financial Officer, Alphabet and Google

Ruth Porat (Chief Financial Officer, Alphabet and Google) joins Hank Paulson to discuss tech’s role in sustainability, how Google has responded to COVID and the challenges facing minority-owned businesses, the power of AI to democratize health care, and lessons learned during the 2008 financial crisis.

Episode 11

Charlene Barshefsky, Senior International Partner at WilmerHale & former Chief Trade Negotiator & Principal Trade Policymaker for the United States

Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, Senior International Partner at WilmerHale and former Chief Trade Negotiator and Principal Trade Policymaker for the United States, joins Hank to discuss the importance of trade in boosting the American economy, what has changed since China was welcomed into the WTO in 2001, and how the US can chart a path forward.

Episode 10

Ginny Rometty, Executive Chairman, IBM

Hank speaks with business executive and longtime friend Ginni Rometty about what she learned while leading IBM, the role of corporations in addressing the challenges of 2020, and her advice for young women in business.

Episode 9

Elizabeth Economy, Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and Michael Pillsbury, Director for Chinese Strategy at Hudson Institute

Hank welcomes Elizabeth Economy, Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution & Senior Fellow for China Studies at CFR, and Michael Pillsbury, Director for Chinese Strategy at Hudson Institute, to Straight Talk. They discuss how US-China ties have evolved in recent years, Xi Jinping’s ambitions, and where the Sino-American relationship is headed.

Episode 8

Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, and Tom Lovejoy, United Nations Foundation Senior Fellow

Hank is joined by Jen Morris and Tom Lovejoy to discuss what inspired their passion for conservation, the need to address the biodiversity crisis, and the launch of Financing Nature, a landmark report from the Paulson Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and Cornell’s Atkinson Center.

Episode 7

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations

Hank is joined by Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, on the seventh episode of Straight Talk. They discuss Haass’ latest book—The World: A Brief Introduction—intellectual curiosity, the role of think tanks, America’s global standing in a post-COVID world, and confronting the China challenge.

Episode 6

Cui Tiankai, China's Ambassador to the US

In this episode, Hank is joined by Cui Tiankai, China’s Ambassador to the US, to discuss what he has learned during his seven years as ambassador, his hopes for the future of US-China relations, and the need for better global governance and cooperation to address the pressing issues of our time.

Episode 5

Graham Allison, Author and Professor at Harvard University

Hank speaks with friend and Harvard scholar Graham Allison about geopolitics and US-China relations, including the two countries’ shared interests, economic health, how the upcoming US election is impacting this important bilateral relationship, and delve into Thucydides’s Trap.

Episode 4

Lloyd Blankfein, Senior Chairman of Goldman Sachs

Episode 4 was recorded on Friday, July 10.

Hank is joined by his friend & former colleague Lloyd Blankfein (Senior Chairman, Goldman Sachs) to discuss impostor syndrome, the past, present, and future of markets, as well as economic changes due to the COVID pandemic.

Episode 3

Madeleine Albright, Former US Secretary of State

Hank speaks with former US Secretary of State and longtime friend Madeleine Albright. The two former Cabinet members discuss how Sec. Albright became the first woman to serve as US Secretary of State, her new autobiography, how the pandemic has changed America’s role in the world, how to develop a US-China relationship that benefits American interests, and her brief but memorable acting cameos.

Episode 2

Ely Ratner, Executive Vice President & Director of Studies at CNAS, and Evan Feigenbaum, Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

In the second episode, Hank speaks with two leading experts on US-China relations, Ely Ratner and Evan Feigenbaum. They discuss a current framework for the US-China relationship, how the US can properly balance national security with economic progress, and where the US can achieve positive results while navigating a number of important conflicts with China.

Episode 1

Larry Bacow, President of Harvard, and Rafael Reif, President of MIT

The status of many foreign students remains fragile, despite recent lawsuits led by Harvard and MIT challenging a homeland security visa rule that would have forced foreign students to leave or face deportation if they did not attend in-person classes. It was followed quickly by a barrage of lawsuits and an avalanche of public support, leading the government to rescind the rule and refueling a conversation about US competitiveness and treatment of foreign students. In this episode, Hank speaks with the presidents of Harvard and MIT, Larry Bacow and Rafael Reif, on this important issue.

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