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Gertrude Elion

Nobel Prize in Medicine

I would always bring home work on weekends. And in the country -- we had a cabin not far from New York, and I would come, and I would sit under the apple tree and write papers. And my mother would always say, "Does your boss know what you do on the weekends?" And I would say, "I'm not doing it for him, I'm doing it for me." And one weekend, I came without any work, and she said, "You are not feeling well. And I said, "I'm feeling perfectly -- " "Oh, no! You are not telling me the truth. If you were feeling well, you would have brought some work with you."
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Larry Ellison

Founder & CEO, Oracle Corporation

Larry Ellison: There are an enormous number of people in the world who really want standard answers. They want everyone to wear their hair the same way, everyone to conduct business the same way, everyone to dress the same way, everyone to go to the same church. And if you wander out of these norms, people are highly critical, because this is threatening to them. They're living their life one way, and they believe that's the proper way to live their life. If you live your life a different way, and you answer questions differently, that makes them feel very uncomfortable. They say, "Well this person's different from what I am." Then they seem to go a little further, and they say, "This person's different and wrong, and I'm different and right." So people have been very, very critical, and people will be critical of you if you do things a little bit differently. It takes a certain amount of strength not to succumb to fashion.
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Larry Ellison

Founder & CEO, Oracle Corporation

Larry Ellison: I try to think things through. I try to always ask two questions about my personal policies in life. Are they fair, are they morally correct? And do they work? I try to reason things back to first principles. I try to think about things, and come to conclusions and make my own decisions. If someone has a logical criticism and can explain to me why what I'm doing is wrong, and they can convince me, I'll change. If they have good reasons, I'll just alter my behavior. I love it when people point out when I'm wrong, and explain to me why I'm wrong, then change. That's great. I don't want to be wrong. I would love to be right. If I am wrong, I love it when people stop me.
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Nora Ephron

Humorist, Novelist, Screenwriter and Director

Nora Ephron: The good thing about directing your own writing is you have no one to blame but yourself, and I'm a big one for that. I would much rather blame myself than have the alibi of saying, "That wasn't my idea." That's the greatest thing. Also, when you write something, you really do hear how you want it said. Sometimes it isn't said that way. It's said much better, because you have a really great actor saying it, and they come at it in a completely different way. And sometimes you have a really great actor who missed the joke, and you have a chance to say to them, "No, no, no. I think the word here you're missing is this," or you can at least be there on behalf of the script as the director. But you have a very clear idea when you write something of what you want it to look like.
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