#125 - John Arnold: The most prolific philanthropist you may not have heard of


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John Arnold is widely regarded as the greatest natural gas trader of all time, but in his late 30’s he walked away from it all and turned full-time philanthropist. He and his wife have committed to strategically give away most of their vast fortune in their lifetime and are already doing so at a staggering pace of nearly a half billion dollars a year. In this episode, John explains his quest to address the most challenging social programs plaguing the country, including criminal justice, health care policy, and K-12 education. John also shares self-identified attributes that contributed to his success in natural gas trading and how those same traits have translated to his philanthropic aspirations.

We discuss:

  • John’s background, upbringing, and early entrepreneurial tendencies [3:50];
  • John’s time and rise at Enron [16:45];
  • Characteristics that made John an exceptional natural gas trader and how they translate to his philanthropic work [27:30];
  • The collapse of Enron [35:00];
  • The success of John’s hedge fund, and his early interest in philanthropy [40:30];
  • The infamous 2006 trade that brought down Amaranth Advisors [55:45];
  • John’s analytical prowess and emphasis on fundamentals [1:02:15];
  • The decision to become a full-time philanthropist and the founding of Arnold Ventures [1:09:00];
  • Education—John’s quest to fundamentally change K-12 education [1:18:45];
  • Strategic philanthropy—preventing problems by attacking root causes and creating structural change [1:24:30];
  • The criminal justice system—structural changes needed to address mass incarceration, policing practices, and recidivism [1:31:45];
  • Re-imagining prisons to reduce recidivism [1:49:00];
  • US health care policy—John’s focus on drug prices, and the severe consequences of not making system changes [1:56:15];
  • Climate change—the bipartisan role of John’s foundation [2:13:45];
  • Advice for young adults interested in philanthropy [2:17:45]; and
  • More

Learn more: https://peterattiamd.com/ Show notes page for this episode: https://peterattiamd.com/JohnArnold Subscribe to receive exclusive subscriber-only content: https://peterattiamd.com/subscribe/ Sign up to receive Peter's email newsletter: https://peterattiamd.com/newsletter/ Connect with Peter on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

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