Academy of Achievement Logo
Home
Achiever Gallery
Keys to Success
 Passion
 Vision
   + [ Preparation ]
 Courage
 Perseverance
 Integrity
 The American Dream
Achievement Podcasts
About the Academy
For Teachers

Search the site

Academy Careers

 
 
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


Donald Johanson

Discoverer of Lucy

As a student, I was supported with a National Institutes of Dental Research Traineeship, so I was expected to do something in the area of teeth. And since teeth are the things that preserve the best in the fossil record, it was appropriate to do this sort of study. I did a long, very boring thesis on chimpanzee teeth. I traveled all over Europe and looked at museum collections, and published -- or produced -- a very thick thesis on all the detail of chimpanzee teeth. And that prepared me for understanding the teeth of our human ancestors better than anything else I could have done. During the course of my research for my Ph.D., Clark was working in Ethiopia, and he was going to study some fossils of human ancestors in South Africa. He was particularly interested in what he could learn from the anatomy of the teeth and he asked me if I had any ideas of things that he should look for. I spent several hours with him, and he said, "Why don't you come with me on this trip?" Of course, I was thrilled to go to Africa to see the original fossils of this terrible tongue-twister, Australopithecus. And then I said, "Since I'm going to South Africa, and flying through Nairobi, why can't I come up and visit your expedition?" He gave me that break. He said, "Why don't you come up and visit us. Why don't you come up and see what it's like to be in the field, finding these fossils." That was the break that all of us dreamed of as students. That was in 1970, and since then I have worked on and off throughout the Great Rift Valley of East Africa.
View Interview with Donald Johanson
View Biography of Donald Johanson
View Profile of Donald Johanson
View Photo Gallery of Donald Johanson



Donald Johanson

Discoverer of Lucy

We are very carefully trained, as students in anthropology, in human anatomy. In fact, in the anatomy of a diverse set of animals. So that we learn the diagnostic features of teeth, and jaws, and various bones of the body. For example, when we are in the field, we are constantly looking at the surface of the ground for fossils which have eroded out of these ancient deposits. You can make decisions right away as to whether or not it's an antelope or a baboon or a carnivore, or whatever. Because each one has its own diagnostic anatomy. And it's something we spend a lot of time doing in school, training to identify these various things. And then of course going into the field and applying it, and even expanding our understanding of anatomical variation more, even more than we did in graduate school.
View Interview with Donald Johanson
View Biography of Donald Johanson
View Profile of Donald Johanson
View Photo Gallery of Donald Johanson



Frank Johnson

Presidential Medal of Freedom

I don't care if you are a federal judge on the appellate bench, or if you dig ditches for a living, you have to work hard to do a good job. That means you can't just walk in a courtroom and not know anything about a case. You have to study it before you go, and when you get out, you have to study it before you write an opinion. You can't just walk in without working. You can't walk out without working. It takes work. You have to be dedicated in order to do it. That means you ought to get into some kind of business you like, because it's easier to work hard. It's easier to do a good job if you like it.
View Interview with Frank Johnson
View Biography of Frank Johnson
View Profile of Frank Johnson
View Photo Gallery of Frank Johnson



Philip Johnson

Dean of American Architects

Exams are so stupid. I couldn't be bothered to work for them, so I kept flunking them. They were too simple-minded. So I went to a cram school. The cram school of course said, "You idiot, look at that piece of paper." I said, "Yes. It's a fine piece of paper." He said, "You've only got six lines on it." I said, "Yeah, the paper's so beautiful, what do you want to spoil it for by covering it with all these lines?" They said, "Look, you've got to pass the exam. You stop your damn theories and cover the sheet with extra trees, then. It doesn't make any difference, just fill it up. Put more bricks in or something." And then another clue, "How do you know how to get into that building?" And I said, "It's right here." They said, "No, you take a red arrow. And it doesn't matter if it's the only red thing you've got on the sheet, put that in, so the examiner will see it." I said, "Oh, I see, he knows where to go in." Those simple little tricks I had trouble at. I passed it by doing -- they wanted a house in the suburbs. So I did it, just out of my memory. I took a suburban house. Don't like them, would never build one, hated the whole thing. I used to go to an exam and do what I wanted to do. Of course they didn't like it, because I was always doing something different from other people. Anyhow, by knuckling under I had no trouble. You learn lessons, you see. Always give in. I mean at the proper moment -- when you have to.
View Interview with Philip Johnson
View Biography of Philip Johnson
View Profile of Philip Johnson
View Photo Gallery of Philip Johnson



Philip Johnson

Dean of American Architects

You have to know those things. You have to know structure, and you spend nine-tenths of your time on that. You say you know structure, but do you know connections? What happens when the water gets in that little place? Only years and years of experience but that's nothing to do with the art. You've got to know all of that before you start. Painters have it easy; they've got to know what kinds of pigments will last. They don't know that even sometimes, but even that's not necessary. You repair a picture if it's bad, but in architecture, it falls down. That's a sociological crux. Then you've got the permits and things to go through with city hall that drive you up your wall. Then you have the clients. The care and feeding of clients is really one of the main obstacles, because you always have a client with some preconceived idea of what a house looks like, and all you want him to do is leave a check and go to Europe for a couple of years. Or leave two checks. But alas, life isn't simple. If it were, more people would be better architects.
View Interview with Philip Johnson
View Biography of Philip Johnson
View Profile of Philip Johnson
View Photo Gallery of Philip Johnson



Browse Preparation quotes by achiever last name

Previous Page

          

Next Page