The Fastest Tortoise: Winning in Industries I Knew Nothing About―A Life Spent Figuring It Out

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Life lessons from an investor who forged his own path to success

Through their entertaining conversations, Ken Hersh and his interviewer, best-selling author Steve Fiffer, recount Ken’s improbable life journey, both personally and professionally. And what a journey it has been! Knowing nothing about the energy industry, Ken ventured in and ultimately helped pioneer an investment methodology that built one of the country’s most successful private investment firms and has been copied by dozens of firms to become the dominant means by which capital flows into the domestic energy industry. As a fearless young capitalist, he never shied away from raising his hand. He says, “I viewed every opening as a gaping opportunity. The uncertainty kind of excited me.”

The Fastest Tortoise is about not just weathering the unknown but embracing it and thriving. Structuring his story around “Ken-isms” that define his personal and professional philosophies—such as “yellow lights don’t turn green,” “be uncomfortable,” and “feed the ducks while they’re quacking”—Ken demonstrates how to approach a volatile world.

Ken’s path, from planting his flag in an industry where an investment model had to be reinvented, to creating a culture in which colleagues and staff felt like family, to pursuing a second career in the nonprofit sector, gives leaders and entrepreneurs of all stripes ample examples from which to draw valuable lessons, inspiration, motivation, and confidence. With his honest, in-depth tales of the ups and downs of his business and personal dealings, we get an inside look at how this optimist has successfully navigated life and business.

Kenneth A. Hersh is President, Chief Executive Officer, and board member of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a Dallas-based non-partisan institution which houses the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. Mr. Hersh focuses on executing the strategy to sustain the Bush Center’s mission for the long term.