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Shimon Peres

President of Israel

I started to work day and night, listening to all walks of life in our economy, and there were three or four things that I learned immediately, that in a democracy, you have two groups of decision making: the political parties -- they are good for politics -- and the economic partnership, which is detached from politics. The economy is not being run by parties, but by three factors in the society: government, employees, and employers. So leave the parties aside and try to see if you can reach an agreement among the three. Don't be in a haste to declare a plan, and then discover that one or two are against it. It will be extremely difficult to do so, particularly if the demands are very, very heavy.
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Shimon Peres

President of Israel

Now, every important decision has to go through a long avenue of disappointments, of setbacks, of troubles. I am totally unimpressed. I would be surprised if it would go smoothly. Somebody said, "You are as great as your crawl." If you want to achieve something important, you have to fight and crawl for it under very uncomfortable conditions and circumstances. And then again, when you win a war, your people are united and applaud you. When you make peace, your people are doubtful and resentful. To negotiate peace is to negotiate with your own people, not with your opponent, and your own people say, "My God, why did you give up so much? Why were you in a hurry? Why didn't you think this and that?" Well, if you think this and that, and you won't to be in a hurry, still you have to pay the price, because peace has a price as war has a price. The difference is that the price of war is unavoidably accepted. The price of the cost of peace cannot be measured.
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David Petraeus

Strategic Military Leadership

David Petraeus: We all wanted to go to Ranger School if you were an infantry lieutenant, or at least you should. I set my sights on that and tried to prepare as well as I could. Frankly, I was really in extraordinary physical condition when I went there. What was grinding to some really was not to me. It sort of plays to the strengths of a guy who can run and carry a rucksack and all the rest of the stuff. So that was a piece of cake. My Ranger buddy and I -- who was a West Point classmate of mine -- approached this as a very competitive endeavor. So we were the first ones through in the land navigation course. This is at night with everything else. Then you're doing a lot of leadership stuff and leading patrols and helping others with that. It's very, very demanding physically. In those days, you ended up with a final two-week period in the field in the swamps of Florida. You actually start in Georgia, you then go to the mountains of Georgia. We did it in January, which is a brutal time to be in Dahlonega, North Georgia. It's quite a bit of altitude and there's a lot of snow on the ground. It's almost a physical survival kind of endeavor at certain points in time, if it starts to flirt with zero degrees and you're out there day after day and the exposure starts to accumulate for a lot of people. The first-time pass rate, I think probably was below 50 percent, maybe even 40 percent in Winter Ranger (school). We ended up in the swamps, and you go two weeks where you have one meal a day. People lose 30-35 pounds in those days. Well, that nonsense was stopped. That's just foolish physiologically. But you get so tired that you can fall asleep standing up. We literally had people that just started to have some form of delusions, and we had to put a sling rope on them, what you use for mountain climbing, which we always carried with us. We'd put a sling rope on them and we just pulled them through the swamps. You're in water up to your thigh or waist a good bit of the time, even when you're not actually in the rivers and doing river crossing or operations like that. So it's very, very challenging. I was fortunate and had a couple of breaks, and I ended up number one in the class. There were three awards in those days, and I took all three of them. It was a nice day. Even though my wife didn't recognize me. She thought I looked like somebody out of a refugee camp after having gone through this experience.
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David Petraeus

Strategic Military Leadership

You've got to get out of bed every day. As Bill McRaven says, "Success starts by making your bed in the morning." Everything after that? So. Actually, for me it was dragging yourself out and getting that workout in, especially in combat. I'd get up at five or so and get a cup of coffee and go through overnight stuff that had come in, and reports and so forth from the battlefield intel and everything else. And then hop on a stationary bike that was actually in our complex usually, and pedal away for 45 or 60 minutes, if it wasn't a run day. We tried to run a few days a week in both Iraq and Afghanistan. But it's tough. You know, the problem in a combat situation in particular is, again, because it's seven days a week and it really is sort of 24 hours a day, or it's at least 18 hours a day. You're on the edge of what you can physically handle. You're right at it and you're trying not to go over the edge, because if you go over the edge, you start falling asleep in meetings when people are briefing you. And that's not a good place to be. You're also not as coherent as you ought to be. I reached points during the fight to Baghdad where I couldn't stay awake unless I stood up. And I mean, you're the commander of the division. This is a foolish position to find yourself. In fact, God bless the command sergeant major. He'd sort of put his arm around your shoulder and say, "Sir, you're not very good to any of us right now. Why don't you let the one-star take this for a while and you go down and I'll wake you up in five hours or something like that, or four hours." But you're right at the edge of what you can handle physically, and if you get a long phone call at night, or you get something and you don't go back to bed, or you're turning it over, you're right at the edge of that. So for one thing, physical fitness helps you a great deal. But boy, it's tough sometimes to contemplate that when the alarm clock goes off.
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Sidney Poitier

Oscar for Best Actor

I said to myself, "How did he know that I was a dishwasher?" He suspected. I said, "I didn't tell him that. I didn't say anything about dishwashing." That was one thing I wouldn't have told him. And I realized then and there that what he said was his perception of my worth. He perceived me to be of no value beyond something that I could do with my hands. And while he was correct in his anger to characterize me that way, I was offended. I was offended deeply. And I said to myself, "I have to rectify that. I have to show him that he was wrong about me." I decided then and there that I was -- this is a wild decision I made, of course, but I did decide then, at that moment, on that street, that I am going to be an actor just to show him that he was wrong about me. And then I would give up the acting, because what do I want to be an actor for? I committed myself to that. That goes to show you that I was a rather peculiar kid. Luckily, I wasn't around psychiatrists and all that kind of stuff, because they probably would have marked me as a guy who was a little off his rocker.
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Sidney Poitier

Oscar for Best Actor

Sidney Poitier: I continued working as a dishwasher, and I learned that there were no other theatrical groups in Harlem at that time of the same caliber as was the American Negro Theatre. And I decided that I wanted to -- no, I learned that they had a school system where they taught acting and stuff. So I wanted to get in there. I also learned that there were some very prestigious black actors and actresses who were affiliated with this. So I set my sights there. And I learned that they had auditions every three, six months or so. So I decided that I would go there and take an audition.
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Sidney Poitier

Oscar for Best Actor

I went in and I auditioned for them. And they said, "Thank you." They said, "We'll let you know." And they did, indeed, let me know. And the note came that I wasn't selected. I was crestfallen. So, I couldn't give it up. So I went back to them. I walked in and there was a lady at the desk. And I said, "I took an audition the other day, and I wasn't accepted." I said, "However, I'm here today to ask if this is a possibility." And she said, "What?" I said, "I noticed that you don't have a janitor." And I said, "I will do the janitor work for you because it's not a big deal, you know, you have a fairly small place here and stuff. I will do the janitor work for you in exchange for letting me study here."
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Sidney Poitier

Oscar for Best Actor

I left the theater after I came off, saying to myself, "That's it, I tried, I am not gonna be an actor. I don't have the gift. And it's silly for me to be (doing) this. Okay, I did it, I've stuck to it, and I don't have it." So I left, and I went walking about in New York City. And on my way home, about 11:30, 12 o'clock at night, I'm on my way to my room where I had my residence, I decided to pick up the newspapers, and I picked up, I guess, The Daily News. And there were, believe it or not, there were 13 major newspapers in New York City at that time. Anyway, in three or four of them, I was mentioned very favorably. Well my dear, being -- well, being, being, being -- I changed my mind. I wasn't gonna quit the business so quickly!
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