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David McCullough

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

It wasn't that I was rebelling against the imprisonment of a vocation that wasn't for me. I liked the people I worked with. I went in every day very eager to do whatever we had to do. I was an editor then at American Heritage Publishing Company, but I had an idea for a book, and I began working on it at nights, and on weekends, and on vacations, and it took me three years. And when that book was published it had a reception -- both critically and publicly, with the reading public -- that was far beyond what I had expected. And at that point, I decided that I would cut loose and try it on my own. And, because I had a wonderful partner, editor-in-chief, wife, who was equally willing to take that risk -- biggest risk we ever took. I did it. Had I not had someone in my life who was as willing as I was to take the step, I might not have done it.
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Audra McDonald

Six Tony Awards

For me, the best way for me to maintain the concept of evolution and creativity is to constantly find something that's a challenge. When I'm being offered something, or I've got to put food on the table -- I've got a family, I've got to put food on the table -- but this is what I do as a living, and it's my calling. Whatever So for me it's like, "What is going to challenge me?" I'll have a couple of options, and whatever is the scariest is almost always what I end up choosing, because I figure that's where there's something to be learned. And where there's something to be learned there's evolution. So I'm always looking for a challenge.
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Audra McDonald

Six Tony Awards

You don't want to fall in your face, and you know that you probably will. But if you do somehow get through that challenge, look at what you're going to have learned, and look at what you're going to know. I was scared to death to do Bess in Porgy and Bess, and I thought I wouldn't survive it. I thought I'd kill myself vocally. I thought -- especially because we were attempting to put it in a more musical theater genre again as opposed to the operatic -- I knew the slings and arrows that were headed our way, and I thought, "And I left a really healthy television show in California to do this." I came back to go home, and left a really healthy paycheck and all that, to not only be with my family, but then also to pursue this Porgy and Bess. Because it scared the bejesus out of me, and because I knew that if I get past this, or even if I am just the slightest bit better as an actress -- or even a singer, or even a classical singer -- for having done this, it will be worth it. So there you go.
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Mario Molina

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

It's a conscious decision that Sherry Rowland and I did, not just to communicate our findings to other scientists, but to actually try to do something about it. In some sense that was taking a risk. Of course, the signs of the ozone layer and the effects of industrial chemicals was not nearly as well established at that time as it is now. We were just convinced that it was very important to find out. On the other hand, we were taking a risk, in that it's not a normal role expected of scientists. Our peers were perhaps questioning whether we were just seeking publicity or not. But again, we thought it was not important enough just to preserve our image in the scientific community, compared to what we really thought we had to do, which is to find out more about the problem and let the governments know more about it, so that eventually some action could be taken. And that's indeed what happened.
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