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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


Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

Michael Dell: I liked to take things apart. I was always taking apart telephones, radios, televisions, sort of anything electronic I could get my hands on. I liked to kind of see how it worked and sometimes I'd put them back together too. But I was mostly interested in understanding how things worked.
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

When I was in the seventh grade, I was in an advanced math class. And in my math teacher's classroom at the junior high school I went to, they got the first teletype terminal at the school. And this was of course before personal computers, and basically you could like write a program and send it off to a big mainframe -- the answer would come back. And I became kind of, you know, fascinated with this idea of a computing machine. I thought that was pretty cool, so I would sort of program this teletype terminal and sort of learned all I could about computers.
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

Michael Dell: My mother was a financial consultant, so she was immersed in the world of stocks and bonds, and I kind of became interested in currencies and interest rates and what was going on with commodity prices. Kind of an odd thing for a 13-year-old to be doing, but I found it interesting and would sort of read reports and started playing around and investing in things and just found that whole idea fascinating.
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David Herbert Donald

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

David Herbert Donald: American history is exciting, first of all. We are really the only modern nation whose entire career in our history is available to us. That is, we can go over the first papers, the settlement of Jamestown, all the way down to the present, and the documents are there. There are no mysteries about it. If you were writing about the history of England or Sweden or so on, you'd have to go back in the depth of time and still wouldn't know how things began. So in America, you have a kind of case study of the development of a nation and how it grew and why it grew and why it grew in this particular way, and this has always had a special fascination for me. With the Civil War, it is, in particular, the fascination of two roads. One might have led to an independent Confederacy, two nations on this continent. What would have happened since that time? So it encourages you to imagine things were different, and the other was the road that was taken. So one puzzles over these aspects and tries to figure out, "What can I do with this? What can I make out of it?"
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David Herbert Donald

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

David Herbert Donald: I don't know how anybody judges the contributions he's made to a field. I can tell you that my largest contribution -- I'm sure the most lasting one -- is my graduate students. I began having graduate students at a very early age and continued until my retirement, and ultimately I had between 70 and 100 graduate doctoral students, of whom 50 at least have published major books. Many of these were dissertations that they did under my direction and then published, and these students are now major professors at major institutions all over the country. I can think of myself as, in a sense, a kind of a Johnny Appleseed, spreading the word, so to speak, in a lot of different places. I believe I am right in saying they are all fond of me. I am in touch with them all. I write to them, I think of them frequently, I think of their children as being my intellectual grandchildren, and in a few cases, I have actually taught their grandchildren, which is nice too. Now, was there any particular moment that I would say this is the peak of my career? In a sense, it was. By that point, this is 1960. Teaching at Princeton, vacation was just over. We came back, and I was meeting my class all over again. It was a sizeable class, 200 students, something like that, and I enjoy lecturing. I enjoy talking. I liked these students. I liked talking to them and so on, and we were going along one day after another, and one morning, I came in. As I came in, every student rose and started clapping. They had just heard that I had won a Pulitzer Prize, and I hadn't heard it myself. I was just overwhelmed, and I think that may have been the high point of my career.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

In those days, if you wanted to listen to music on the radio you had to look in the newspaper and find out when it was going to be played. Now, today there are all-music stations, I mean, all over your dial, just as there are all-news stations. But there was a strict category of broadcasts, lots of soap operas, and other features. And at four o'clock in the afternoon, there would be music, something called, "Sam's Show" - - me! And I remember the theme. Bing Crosby and his son, Gary, sang it on a record: "Here's a happy tune, they love to croon, they call it Sam's song." And I'd come in and say, "Hello, this is Sam Donaldson," and on we'd go. And I'd play music for an hour and just had a ball.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

All my early years in the '60s, whether working for a local station in Washington, or beginning at ABC, I didn't think of myself as successful in terms of, "I'm a big star, I'm a big Pooh-Bah, I'm a number one reporter." I did think of myself as successful in being able to compete and get the job done. Some days the competition would beat me and I'd go home thinking awful thoughts, want to hide under the bed, depressed. But of course, in the news business, when you're working a daily news broadcast, you get your victories and defeats every day. If you get a defeat today, go back tomorrow morning and you may beat the competition. And you go home thinking you're on top of the world. "Boy did I whip them! Did I get the story!" And so, I thought of myself as successful in those terms. I could compete, I could get my share of the stories, I could get a television report on the air that told you something, that was accurate, that was right on, and that was enough for me. I didn't think in terms of, "And some day I'll be way up here," or "I'll make all of this." it was simply that I was doing well, enjoying what I was doing.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

He was walking down the red carpet, down to Air Force One with President Sadat. Now, I sang out and I said, "Mr. President," I said, "is it peace? Is it peace?" He said, "Well, I don't think we better go beyond what President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin and I agreed to say at this point." And I said, "But you said something to the effect that if the Knesset agrees that -- are you saying that it's peace?" And he looked at me and he said, "Yes." Well, everyone ran and filed. And of course, all the smart guys told me later, "Well, we knew that all the time." And I said, "Well then why did you wait to file 'til he said that at the rope line?" Now, you say, "Sam," you're going to say, "that's a great interview?" No. I mean, is that one of those wonderful interviews that lives in history? No. But I got a piece of information that, at that precise moment, told the world something that was quite important. And as a reporter, I thought that was a great interview.
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