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Kent Weeks

Living Legend of Egyptology

I have always had the greatest admiration for elementary school teachers. They've got a hard job to do, and these people really did it extremely well. If it hadn't been for them, I might well be out selling shoes or insurance today, I don't know. In any case, it was reading the books that they offered, it was talking to them. When I was about 12, discovering that there were places in America that taught Egyptology, I wrote off to various universities. I said, "Excuse me for interrupting, Professor sir, but I'm a 12-year-old. I want to become an Egyptologist. What should I do?" And without exception, every one of those people wrote back long letters. "You should study this languages are important get some history. A good liberal arts education is the basic foundation for anything you decide to go into. Keep in mind that you're never going to be rich. Keep in mind that you may not get a job..." because even today, in 1996, we've got probably 350 professional Egyptologists in the world, and that's it. And many of those are not gainfully employed doing Egyptology. There aren't enough museums, there aren't enough universities around to keep them employed. So it's a dicey business. But fortunately, because of the letters I got, the advice I got, I think I structured my high school career and my college career in such a way that I could finally get into the field.
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Kent Weeks

Living Legend of Egyptology

Kent Weeks: I've always been a voracious reader and I read everything. I think in many ways it was not books specifically dealing with ancient Egypt that had the greatest influence on me. It was books of poetry, it was books of English literature, it was Tolstoy, War and Peace, which I did not read in the original Russian, I read it in translation. But again, the liberal arts background that I was able to get at the university paid big dividends. I again thank John Wilson and Ahmad Fakhri for encouraging this. I took a lot of courses in English lit, a lot of courses in oh gosh, Byzantine history, Greek and Roman history, courses in ancient Chinese social structure. I took Greek. I took French and German of course. I took statistics and anthropology, things that are really, at first blush, unrelated to ancient Egypt. But they have come home in the last several years, and have given me more valuable knowledge about techniques, or comparative materials, than I would ever have had otherwise. I really like the American system of education, where we encourage this broad base, this liberal arts foundation. As opposed to, say, the British system of education, where when you enter college as a freshman, it is expected you know exactly what you're going to do, and you're going to concentrate on that one narrow discipline and nothing else. I think that's unfortunate. I think it's misguided. Now in British society I'm sure it works very well, but I find that the broader background that I've got has been far more useful, far more influential than the specific courses that I took in hieroglyphics, or Egyptian history, or Egyptian art.
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Andrew Weil

Integrative Medicine

Andrew Weil: I have my own ways of learning. And I never liked libraries, and I would like to get out of them quickly. So I developed very good skills at being able to go in and find exactly the information that I want and get out. And I feel very much that the way that I learned best, and I think the way that's most efficient to teach, is to teach the underlying structure of a field and let students look up the details and specifics as they need them. And that's not done in medicine today. There is a teaching of just a huge amount of detail.
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Andrew Weil

Integrative Medicine

Andrew Weil: The first step that I take in assessing a patient is whether there is something there that demands immediate conventional intervention. You know, I think the greatest sin that you could make in this field is to miss the diagnosis of a condition for which conventional medicine works very well. So that's the first thing, is to rule that out. If that's not present, then you have a lot of latitude in experimenting with other methods. But even if you use the conventional methods, I think there are -- it is often worth supporting the body in ways that can reduce the toxicity of those methods or increase their efficacy.
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Sanford Weill

Financier and Philanthropist

Sanford Weill: The teacher I think that really helped me the most was a teacher by the name of Clare Franz, who was a Latin teacher at Peekskill Military Academy where I went to high school, and was also the tennis coach. And it was where I learned how to play tennis and eventually became captain of the tennis team at the school and was on the Junior Davis Cup in New York City. And he sort of helped me through a lot of things in life, what I got in the classroom from how to learn how to think in Latin and be deliberate, to competing, and trying to be a gentleman and do it the right way on the tennis court.
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Sanford Weill

Financier and Philanthropist

All of a sudden, I went from not doing well in school, to beginning to do better and I stayed there for four years. I think that the experience in the military school -- where at the beginning you learn how to take the punishment before you dish it out -- teaches you a lot about how to get along with people and put yourself in the other person's position. It was a tremendous four years for me.
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