Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil — The Power of Belief, Street Gangs, Wild Tales from Las Vegas, The Dangers of Nurturing Fear, and Dancing on the

Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil — The Power of Belief, Street Gangs, Wild Tales from Las Vegas, The Dangers of Nurturing Fear, and Dancing on the
Illustration via 99designs

“Evaluate danger. Don’t nurture fear.”

Guy Laliberté

Guy Laliberté (@guylalibertedj) is the founder of Cirque du SoleilOne Drop Foundation, and Lune Rouge. He was named by Time Magazine as one of the most influential personalities in the world and has been recognized as one of the most creative and innovative minds by Condé Nast. 

An artist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Guy is a three-time winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, including World Entrepreneur of the Year; a Knight of the National Order of Quebec; and an inductee of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. Guy has been granted the insignia of the Order of Canada, the highest distinction in the country, and in 2010 received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Guy now dedicates his time to his company, Lune Rouge, and his international nonprofit, One Drop Foundation, which aims to “ensure sustainable access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene for communities everywhere through innovative partnerships, creativity, and the power of art.”

Visit to discover Guy’s latest project.

Please enjoy!

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#700: Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil — The Power of Belief, Street Gangs, Wild Tales from Las Vegas, The Dangers of Nurturing Fear, and Dancing on the Cliff

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Want to hear another episode with a creative empire builder? Listen to my conversation with David Maisel, founding chairman of Marvel Studios and founder of Mythos Studios, in which we discussed wheeling and dealing with Bob Iger, creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Broadway detours, early Hollywood lessons, and much more.

#676: David Maisel of Marvel Studios Fame — Never-Before-Heard Tales of Hollywood Dealmaking, The Art of Aiming Big, Lessons from Power Broker Michael Ovitz, Combining Business Smarts with Street Smarts, The Making (and Importance) of Iron Man, Selling to Disney for $4 Billion, and Much More

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Guy Laliberté:

Frooogs | Instagram | Spotify | Soundcloud


  • [06:16] A galvanizing trip to Europe in 1977.
  • [12:31] Busking without going broke.
  • [15:46] Managing Mom and Dad’s misaligned values.
  • [25:35] Emerging from a dark teenage period.
  • [31:13] The transcendental power of Cirque du Soleil.
  • [36:25] Beginning a “theater troupe on stilts.”
  • [45:00] How Hawaiian epiphanies forged the spirit of Cirque du Soleil.
  • [51:55] Black sheep winning over the wolves.
  • [1:05:57] Drawing from P.T. Barnum and Walt Disney.
  • [1:07:27] Overcoming early financial hurdles.
  • [1:19:31] An opening day that signaled the beginning of never looking back again.
  • [1:27:11] Evaluating danger without nurturing fear.
  • [1:28:36] Buffering against betrayal without surrendering to cynicism.
  • [1:34:12] Steve Wynn for the win.
  • [1:47:55] Blue Ocean Strategy.
  • [1:48:55] Pioneering and inspiring.
  • [1:51:55] Priority and mortality.
  • [1:57:47] Parting thoughts.


“It’s one thing to convince the government, but I’m telling you, it’s much more difficult to convince a bank.”
— Guy Laliberté

“Evaluate danger. Don’t nurture fear.”
— Guy Laliberté

“There’s many things that kill success. The first one I’ve seen is about once you have success, you get a lot of reward financially. Then you start to nurture the fear of not having tomorrow what you have today, and that changes your entire way of addressing things.”
— Guy Laliberté

“The first month was a disaster. We lost our big top. It was raining. It was conflicts. The artists [were] fighting and there was a strike. Whatever happened at the beginning, we were in the mud up to the throat. But one month after, our show was so tight.”
— Guy Laliberté

“One of the biggest skills in business I learned was in the street because of this dangerous environment. You make friends or you run or you’re ready to face a more physical reality.”
— Guy Laliberté

“I’m not giving up. Unless the fish is cutting the line, I’m taking that fish out of the pond.”
— Guy Laliberté


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