Since taking office in 2013, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has tackled tough issues such as water conservation, raising the minimum wage, and homelessness. His next order of business? “Being a builder,” says the onetime international affairs professor and human rights advocate. “Building a great city, building an economy, building an infrastructure, and, ultimately, building people’s trust in government.” He’s also a delegator, a traveler, and a master napper.
“Schedule every second of every minute of every hour of every day.”
“Being reactive. That’s part of my job description: There is always going to be a fire, a shooting, a crisis, but you can’t let the urgent overcome the important.”
“The greatest gift I have is my ability to sleep. I can sleep basically at the drop of a hat: for two minutes, for 20 minutes, for two hours. I can sleep in cars. I’ve slept on subways. I’ve slept on jumping speedboats and even trotting horses. I don’t have any problem turning off my mind and falling asleep. And I need my sleep. If I get much less than seven hours a night, it’ll be tough.”
“I have an executive officer who can be like a second brain. The higher up you go in leadership, the less control you have to have. Just cede control of your schedule to the smarter people [on your staff] and they will make you work from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.”
“When I’m overwhelmed I like playing Ruzzle. It’s like a Boggle game on your smartphone. I’m pretty good at unplugging when things get stressful and just kind of breathing.”
“My household and my daughter. My wife and I have been foster parents, too, and that motivated me in a very personal way. The other one is my city: the highs and the lows of human existence, which mayors have a unique window into.”
“I play music. I’m a pianist, and I write music. Jazz is my main area, but I’ve written musicals and singer-songwriter stuff. I can clearly carry a tune, but you want somebody else to sing it when you record it. Also travel. I’ve been to 75 countries and all seven continents, and that definitely is a spiritual recharge.”