A 15-question speed interview with 26-year-old jetsetter and property investor Christian Carbone.
1. What is the best life advice you ever received?
Show me your friends and I will show you your future. It actually comes from a concept in the Bible, Proverbs 13:20. ‘He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.’ I truly believe that you are the average of the people you spend the most time with. So, choose wisely.
2. What about the best business advice?
Only do business with people you like and trust. If you can’t count on your partners, you are setting yourself up for a mess, regardless of how good the opportunity appears to be.
3. What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
I would remind myself to be confident and humble, and that there are other people out there who want to do some of the same things I want to do, who have skills that I don’t have. I think one of the most foolish, arrogant, limiting things a person can do is to refuse to ally themselves with people who are superior to them in areas where they are weak, and to try to take on the world on their own.
4. What is a book that had a great impact on you?
At a very young age I came across a short story called Acres of Diamonds. It’s about a farmer who sells his farm to go prospecting for diamonds. Years later, he dies, penniless and down on his luck. Meanwhile, the farm he once owned is now one of the most productive diamond mines on the continent. My interpretation of the story: there will always be something better. But that doesn’t mean you are going to find it. So first, be cognizant of what you have. And if you have even the absolute minimum you need to get to where you want to go, and you know it, then get to work. Then, if you find something better, do that too. Life is short.
5. You are known for living in hotels. Will this always be the case for you?
I checked into a hotel when I was 23 years old, about a week after I graduated from Harvard, and I have no plans of checking out. It is the most efficient way to live. Anything I need is at my fingertips 24/7. I also value the security and anonymity.
6. What is your favorite travel destination?
I love the French Riviera in the summer. The food, the celebrations with friends, the warm water, and the late sunsets over the Mediterranean. I could think of no better way to celebrate the successes of the first half of the year. Sadly, I had to cancel my plans for this year due to COVID. Next year, we will have double the celebration!
7. What is your wildest, or most interesting travel story?
Too many to count. I remember one time I was flying with some friends from the UK to Germany, and we were running crazy late. Usually the plane can wait as long as it needs to, but this particular airport had a curfew that we didn’t know about. There was like only one tiny hotel in this small English countryside town. We had dinner at a small local mom and pop restaurant that I otherwise would have never found, and the meal turned out to be amazing.
8. What is something that’s on your “bucket list”?
I think it would be pretty cool to Instagram a photo on the moon. Somebody is probably going to do this before me, because it’s not one of my priorities [laughs].
9. Who is someone you admire in business, and why?
I have a lot of respect for Elon Musk. He makes the impossible possible through sheer force of will.
10. How do you want to be remembered?
As someone who accomplished everything he set out to do.
11. What is one thing you could not live without?
Good food. Your environment and what you put in your body dictate your mindset, which dictates your thoughts and decisions and ultimately your path in life. When I was just getting started in business, I often had to choose between getting a great meal, or saving a few bucks and eating something uninspiring. I always chose to spend the money on good food at top restaurants, and I do not regret it.
12. What’s been your greatest obstacle in life, and how did you master it?
Knowing what I want and having to figure out how to get it. So, I guess, desire in a way has been both the obstacle and the solution. If you don’t know what you want, or you don’t want anything, life is easy. But, seriously, humility is the key. Being able to recognize where you are strong and where you are weak, and building systems and teams that address your weaknesses. I think this is the most efficient way to get things done.
13. If you weren’t a real estate investor, what career would you choose?
In another dimension, I could see myself being an architectural designer. I love buildings, design, furniture, and art, I have a passion for luxury, and I am obsessive about the details. I am also instinctively commercial. But, to be honest, investing is more fun. Maybe I will design or decorate a house for myself someday [laughs].
14. Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Doing the same thing I am doing now: thinking big, figuring out which questions I need to ask, and figuring out how to answer them.
15. What is a life motto of yours?
‘Another day another dollar’ is one of my favorites, but my interpretation of the phrase is a bit different from the standard uneventful, weary connotation. Start each day with big aspirations, and if you don’t get there, dust yourself off and start grinding again the next day. Too many people dwell on their mistakes. When I swam competitively, I remember some people would have a bad race, and they would let it ruin their whole meet. You can have a bad race and still win the next race. Mistakes will happen. It’s all about knowing what you want, being smart, working hard, and having the strength and endurance to never quit, to never, ever give up, no matter how hard it gets.
Christian Carbone is a 26-year old businessman and property investor based in New York, Tokyo, and London. He grew up in the American South, was educated at an international boarding school, and earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Harvard University, where he was a champion swimmer. Well-traveled and known for his impeccable taste and sense of fashion, Carbone has amassed over 20,000 followers on his Instagram, where he displays the products of his success and muses about his travels and experiences.
If you want to see more of Christian’s life, follow him on Instagram at@christianjcarbone.