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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Richard Schultes

The Father of Modern Ethnobotany

I had a heavy malarial fever, and I woke up in one of these big round houses in my hammock, which they had stretched up, and I was in it. If they had been some of our so-called civilized people, they would have left me in the forest and taken everything I had -- adios! I never felt -- one time I had a boy who worked with me about six weeks, seven weeks. After the first week he told me he'd killed a white man, and I knew the white man. And, the white man had been bothering this boy's sister. There are no authorities down there, and they have to defend themselves that way. I kept right on working with this boy, and one of the best fellows I ever had. And, these are the experiences that I remember: kindness, if you want to use this term, of these people towards this intruder from outside.
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Norman Schwarzkopf

Commander, Operation Desert Storm

Norman Schwarzkopf: The soldier was lying on the ground screaming, and I was afraid that he was going to set off more mines. Or, worse yet, he had a badly broken leg, and I was afraid that he was going to cut the artery in his leg and die. So I had to go over there and settle him down. There was nobody else to do it, so I had to walk through the mine field. Believe me, it wasn't a heroic act at that time, it was something that somebody had to do, and I was the man in charge.
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Norman Schwarzkopf

Commander, Operation Desert Storm

Anybody who says they're not afraid of war is either a liar, or they're crazy. And there's nothing wrong with fear. I mean, fear is good. Fear will keep you alive in a war. Fear will keep you alive in business. Nothing wrong with being afraid at all, and everybody should understand that. And fear tends to cause you to focus, it tends to cause your adrenaline to run, it tends to cause you to do things, perhaps to see things in much, much sharper perspective at that instant. What is bad is when you allow that fear to turn into panic, and you allow that fear to petrify you to the point that you cannot perform whatever duty you have to do. That's the thing that's wrong with fear. But there's nothing wrong with being afraid. And true courage is not not being afraid. True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow, that's what courage is.
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Stephen Schwarzman

Chairman and CEO, The Blackstone Group

In 1984, Lehman Brothers, where I had worked for my career, had been sold to American Express. I actually was the person handling that transaction. I was 36 years old, or 35, I forget which. I had a non-competition agreement, and as part of my wanting to do that deal, I wanted to leave for a variety of reasons. I didn't like what ethically had happened with the firm. I didn't want to be with the people -- not all the people but the leadership people -- so I worked out a situation where I joined the former chairman of the firm at Lehman, who had been pushed out, which necessitated the need for the sale. He and I had always worked very closely together. So all we were trying to do by forming Blackstone was sort of re-forming our own working relationship. We didn't view it -- and on this, I'm sure I was sort of colossally naive -- as that big a step. I knew we had always been successful doing almost everything together, commercially, and I didn't understand why we wouldn't be. The fact that we had no phone, no office, no company, that small little companies like this were not successful in investment banking, in fact they didn't exist at all -- there was only one of them that existed, which was a small firm founded by a fellow named Jim Wolfenson. Jim's currently the head of the World Bank, but even Jim had never done any larger mergers until that time. We just assumed that we would be accepted as the sort of equivalent of a Salomon Brothers or a Lehman Brothers or a Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, and I guess that's the height of ridiculous hubris. Because we were too silly to understand that people might be worried about that, we went ahead, and it worked out.
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Stephen Schwarzman

Chairman and CEO, The Blackstone Group

In New York, which may be atypical in the United States, people are only happy if someone they know well is failing. Particularly when you're more vulnerable in a smaller setting, like we were at Blackstone, I know there were many former colleagues who were staying at big firms, who were looking at what we were doing, and some were hoping that we'd make it. But you know, we were somewhat of a threat if we could make it just in a small organization and end up making a good deal more financially than the people who stayed at the large one. That was, in effect, a threat to a system. We were not aware of this, of course. All we were trying to do was pay the rent. We had more modest expectations at the beginning. But we took a number of large leaps at the firm, and part of that is -- you asked a question earlier, "What makes someone successful?" and I think that another answer is sort of feeling what's going on around you, seeing what's going on around you, and taking a big step to take advantage of that. One of those steps, for us, is the second year we were formed, we decided to go forward with a plan we had when we started, to go into the leveraged buy-out business, and neither my partner or I had ever done a leveraged buy-out, which one might think would be a liability when raising money.
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