Michael Milken - Philanthropist, Financier, Medical Research Innovator, Public Health Advocate

   Mikemilken.com  |  Biography  |  Often Said

New York Times columnist David Brooks on CNN, April 24, 2011:
New York Times columnist David Brooks
"I was with Michael Milken recently and he's one of those guys who just soaks you in. He just wants to learn everything from every single person he meets. That is a pretty valuable talent."
Tommy Lasorda, legendary Major League Baseball manager
"I've been able to dine with presidents, with leaders of corporations (and I've) traveled for 14 years with financier and philanthropist Michael Milken, who has taught me so much about life."
Tommy Lasorda, legendary Major League Baseball manager
"Mike is someone
I have admired for...his drive to help make the world a better place."
NeXt Advisors
Co-founder Michael Moe was impressed with Mike's "Where's Sputnik? article, and included a summary in his weekly investor newsletter.
"Let me tell you
a story about
Mike Milken..."
Author Keith Ferrazzi, in his book, "Never Eat Alone...And Other Secrets to Success One Relationship at a Time," describes his interactions with Mike.
"Where Mike Speaks"
  • The former editor of the Harvard Business Review, Joel Kurtzman, in his book, "How the Markets Really Work", said:

    "Milken's real contribution was to get investors to understand that the stock and bond markets were not really separate markets. Milken created a tremendous pool of liquidity and guided its use with surgical precision. He did it in a way that took an often bloated and ailing American economy and made it lean, mean, and resilient. Much of the strength and resilience of the economy today--including its ability to rebound in times of adversity--is due to the way people using Milken's financing vehicles remade ailing companies or put their entrepreneurial zeal to work."

  • An article in Commentary by Irwin Stelzer of the Hudson Institute said:

"[U]ntil Michael Milken came along, the ownership and the control of America's large corporations were two separate matters. For the managers, this was a cozy arrangement. Rarely did the failure to maximize efficiency and innovation lead to even a threat of forced retirement. All this changed when Milken found a way to finance the efforts of a class of entrepreneurs who had previously been denied access to long-term credit, and the rest, as they say, is history. [H]is legacy has been an enduring one: a leaner and meaner American corporate structure, focused on maximizing shareholder value by investing in efficiency-enhancing capital goods, shedding unnecessary layers of management, and welcoming rather than shunning innovation."

  • George Gilder, in his book Telecosm, wrote:

"Milken was a key source of the organizational changes that have impelled economic growth over the last twenty years. Most striking was the productivity surge in capital, as Milken and others took the vast sums trapped in old-line businesses and put them back into the markets. Not only was the productivity of the capital left behind hugely enhanced by the disciplines of restructuring, but the newly freed capital flowed into venture funds and high-yield markets where it fueled what [Harvard Business School professor Michael] Jensen calls 'the third Industrial Revolution'."

  • Although he did not mention Milken by name, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, in Congressional testimony in February 2002, referred to the financial revolution over the past 20 to 30 years in which Michael Milken was such a central force. In a 1999 Wall Street Journal OpEd article, Milken wrote about the underlying causes and positive effects of this revolution: "Over the past 20 years Wall Street produced such new financial technologies as securitized debt, mortgage and credit-card obligations, and a variety of equity-based derivatives." Compare that to Greenspan's testimony:

    "New financial products including derivatives, asset-backed securities, collateralized loan obligations, and collateralized mortgage obligations, among others have enabled risk to be dispersed more effectively ... Shocks to the overall economic system are accordingly less likely ... Lenders have the opportunity to be considerably more diversified, and borrowers are far less dependent on specific institutions for funds ... On balance, they have contributed to the development of a far more flexible and efficient financial system--both domestically and internationally--than we had just twenty or thirty years ago."

  • Excerpts from comments of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the keynote luncheon speaker at the 13th Annual Pension Fund Conference of the National Association of Securities Professionals, San Francisco, June 20, 2002. (The NASP is an organization of predominantly minority investment managers, pension fund administrators and consultants. Michael Milken had spoken to the group earlier in the day.)

    "I am impressed by your good judgment in having Mike Milken speak today. If any of you didn't see his presentation, you owe it to yourself to watch the tape as context for our struggle to make this nation a more complete union.

    "Mike is one of the outstanding minds of our time or any time. He is a revolutionary in the best sense of the word. You often think of a revolutionary as someone who wears a uniform. But what revolutionaries do is change the way we see things, and they often pay a price for doing that. No one in the world today has done more than Mike to redirect capital and democratize capital for average people, to take people on the margin and bring them to the mainstream.

    "We all owe a debt to Reg Lewis. [The late Reginald Lewis headed TLC Beatrice, the largest black-owned and black-managed business in the U.S.] He knew that it isn't enough for people to have legal rights. We don't have slavery any more; legal segregation has ended; you can vote. But if you don't have access to capital, you could starve. Mike provided access to capital to entrepreneurs like Reg Lewis, and thousands of others, because he knows that's how you begin to change the environment.

    "We didn't know how good baseball could be before 1947. But baseball is a game with pure rules, where everybody knows the rules, and the playing field is level. Once Branch Rickey brought in Jackie Robinson, everything started to get better. Today the only color that matters is on the uniforms. Whatever Branch Rickey was to Jackie Robinson, Mike Milken was to Reg Lewis.

    "No matter what obstacles you face, never get discouraged because somewhere there's a Milken - a someone - who will help you."

Back to Mike Milken's Biography