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

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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