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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


Doris Kearns Goodwin

Pulitzer Prize for History

Doris Kearns Goodwin: I decided when my two little kids were one and two years old, to give up being a professor at Harvard. Harvard had been an identity. When you are connected to a university -- and especially one like Harvard -- you go places and you say, "I'm a Harvard professor." They know who you are. I had written my Lyndon Johnson book, but I didn't have the same confidence that I could be as good a writer as I thought I was as a teacher. So it was scary to give up that umbrella in a certain sense. But I knew that if I could spend the time writing and being at home with my kids, that if I could do that, it would give me more satisfaction, because I wouldn't feel torn in a million directions, as I was feeling. Luckily, it really did work out, because I don't think I would have had the chance to write the book on the Kennedys, to write the book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, if I was also trying to teach. I think I would have been doing things sort of half well all the way through. It wasn't so easy at that time.
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Doris Kearns Goodwin

Pulitzer Prize for History

Doris Kearns Goodwin: When the first book came out on Lyndon Johnson, before the reviews came out, I was certainly not sure how it would be received. It was the first. I had never even written articles before, much less a book, and I was young in writing it, and a lot was riding on it, because I needed to stay teaching for my tenure at Harvard. I needed it for my reputation as an historian. So I remember, in those months before the book came out, being quite scared. I mean, there's no question. The weird thing is -- I mean, luckily the reviews were wonderful. So I had this quick sense of being able to feel somewhat confident about it. But then you think, once the first one was really successful, then you would be fine when the second one came out. But I got nervous all over again, and I think you almost have to. I think it's like anybody who performs. If you're not nervous each time a new book comes out -- or even when I'm writing a book, if I finish one chapter and I go to write the next chapter, I wonder, "Can I write this next chapter? What do I have to say? I don't remember what I'm going to do."
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Mikhail Gorbachev

Nobel Prize for Peace

Confrontation with life, that is what causes a person to adopt a critical position. But for that to happen, you yourself have got to have a certain amount of resources and vision, confidence in democracy, devotion to freedom. If you simply bend in the wind and cave in under the pressure of circumstance, you will accept things as they are. And in that case you do not develop a position of protest and criticism, but you will simply become like many others before you. Even now in Russia we have the same problem. It isn't so easy to give up the inheritance we received from Stalinism and Neo-Stalinism, when people were turned into cogs in the wheel, and those in power made all the decisions for them.
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Mikhail Gorbachev

Nobel Prize for Peace

I had before me the experience of Khrushchev, Kosygin, and many other people who were punished for their initiative. They were seen as people who were unreliable, who undermined the system. They were disposed of. You also have to understand that I was very familiar with what our country was really like, that you could expect anything at all from it.
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Nadine Gordimer

Nobel Prize in Literature

I did something that nobody else had done, because I figured -- which book of mine? I think it was, it might have been The Late Bourgeois World. Or was it Burger's Daughter? No. I then asked the censorship board the reasons. And of course I consulted with my lawyer friends whether I was entitled to this, and indeed it turned out that within, I don't know, two weeks or something of the banning order, you could apply. But if it was any later So I did it very quickly and I got the opinions of these people on why the book was banned. And indeed then, I had a friend at the University of Witwatersrand, an Afrikaans lecturer there, but he and other friends were doing a little secret kind of little publishing venture of anti-apartheid literature. And to do this as an Afrikaner was not easy, believe me, even less easy than for the rest of us, and we talked about it and they agreed -- I think he may have even suggested it -- that I should write what happened in court, which I did, and there's this little booklet, which is called What Happened to Burger's Daughter. So it was Burger's Daughter, yes. And it was then printed. They did it, and it was given to book shops to give away free to people who bought books there. So it was the only way of distributing it.
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Nadine Gordimer

Nobel Prize in Literature

I met Bettie du Toit and my future husband then, Reinhold Cassirer, on the same day in somebody's house, yes. And the three of us were very great friends, and both Reinhold and I felt she was our guru in many ways, because she was right in the thick of the whole thing. Now of course, the time came when she was detained, she was in detention. Her family had abandoned her. All her comrades in the movement, in the ANC and the South African Communist Party, dare not come forward and say, "We want to visit her." You were supposed to have family visits only. Anyway, it was no great courage on my part, it was just the obvious thing to do. I went to the police, you had to go, and said I'm her sister and I wanted to see her. So they said, "But you've got a different name." I said, "Of course I'm married now." So I got permission to see her, and that meant I could go to the women's section of the Old Fort, which is now the famous Constitution Hill complex, part of that. Albie would have talked about it. So I saw the inside of a prison for the first time. And to see your friend there is quite extraordinary, all part of your education if you lived here. On a visit then, I would be sitting here, there would a heavy grill in front of me. She'd be brought in and she'd sit on the other side, and then we would talk through this with two warders looking at their watches and so on. But I think it was very fortunate for me that I had this experience. It made me understand the realities of where we were living. And so my involvement with and adherence to the liberation movement started.
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