In an exclusive interview with Mayor Bloomberg, the Atlantic Magazine editor-in-chief provides a unique look into the mind of New York’s 108th mayor.
While recognizing that Bloomberg is best-known for his success as a high power businessman and controversial politician, the magazine asserts that there may be more to him than most give him credit for.
“You could look a little further and see a more interesting pattern: a man who turned getting shunted off the fast track at Salomon Brothers – into an opportunity, creating an entirely new approach to getting traders the data they needed…
Then took the billions he made and chose not to embark on a lifelong vacation but to step into the least-forgiving political arena in the country; and who has since governed New York assertively, putting himself in the vanguard of a generation of mayors who, at a time when the federal government is paralyzed, are testing new approaches to education, transportation, and public health. You begin to see a guy, in sum, who thinks for himself, but not only of himself.”
Throughout the interview, Bloomberg provides an exceptionally clear and honest perspective on the various issues and decisions he has confronted as mayor. He addresses everything from obesity to campaign money, explaining that in government you must do what is in the best interest of the public, even if it means low approval ratings.
Mayor Bloomberg’s stance on obesity:
“Obesity is the only public-health issue that is growing in importance. This is the first disease that has gone from a rich person’s disease to a poor person’s disease. Generally, it would go in the other direction. For the first time in the history of the world, this year, more people will die from the effects of too much food than from starvation.
And there’s one other answer to the question as to why. And that is—whether it is in my foundation [Bloomberg Philanthropies] or here [as mayor]—I like to take on those things that other people either are unwilling to take on for political reasons, or unwilling to take on because it’s just too complex, or they just don’t care.”
Whether you agree with Bloomberg’s position and approach as a politician and businessman, the interview is nonetheless intriguing to read and understand his point of view. Read the full interview here…
“Leadership is about doing what you think is right and then building a constituency behind it. It is not doing a poll and following from the back. If you want to criticize the political process—and it’s probably true throughout history, and certainly not just in the United States—I think it’s fair to say, in business or in government, an awful lot of leaders follow the polls.
And that’s not the way to win. I happen to think it’s not ethical, or right, and not your obligation. But I don’t even think it’s good business or politics, because people aren’t good at describing what is in their own interest … What leaders should do is make decisions as to what they think is in the public interest based on the best advice that they can get, and then try and build a constituency and bring it along,” Bloomberg said in the interview.