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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


David Herbert Donald

Two Pulitzer Prizes for Biography

David Herbert Donald: My biography of Wolfe was something of a surprise to everybody, perhaps including myself. I had finished several Lincoln books, about aspects of Lincoln in the Civil War, and I thought to myself, I don't think I want to do that again, right now anyway, but what would I do? About that time, we decided we'd go on vacation in North Carolina. There's wonderful areas out there in the western mountains, and we enjoyed it immensely. And driving back from the mountains, we went through Asheville, and I thought, you know, we ought to stop there and see Thomas Wolfe's house, which I had seen once before, but my wife never had, and so we did. We went through that house. It was a very impressive old house in a sense, it was huge. It was, indeed, as Wolfe's father said, "a damned old barn." It was practically empty, all these little cubicles with a light hanging down by a cord in the middle of it, a narrow flat bed, maybe one bureau and a chair. That's all it was furnished with. People came to rent rooms there because of the mountain air, and Julia Wolfe made a living for the family by renting. And I thought to myself, "Isn't it odd that Thomas Wolfe, who writes the most luxuriant prose of any American, so full of description, so full of wonderful language, should emerge from this absolutely barren background?" And I told my wife, I said, "You know, somebody ought to do something about Thomas Wolfe," and she said, oh yes, I ought to, and we drove home.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

There's a picture of me at age 8 in a Cub Scout uniform holding a crystal microphone, obviously pretending that I was reading the war news. Don't ask me why I thought I wanted to do that, but I did. My mother had taught me to read, had read to me. She clearly was pushing me to try to do something with my life. And I began to read the newspaper and pretend I was reading the war news. This is the earliest known point at which something in my mind said maybe I wanted to be in the news business. But believe me, at age eight I had no idea of what the news business was like, nor did I have any feeling of the public's right to know, or the First Amendment. That would be revisionist history. I was just getting a kick out of it.
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Sam Donaldson

ABC News Correspondent

I didn't come east of the Mississippi for the first time in my life until I was 26 years of age, but I knew. I read magazines, I listened to radio, I watched television. I knew there was something out there, and I wanted a part of it. I wanted to be in the news business, and I thought to myself, "Hey, I want to go to New York or Washington and be in the news business. That's where the action is." Now, I want to make clear that I think people who want to stay in Dallas, or in Farmington, New Mexico, or in Dubuque, Iowa are terrific. You decide what fulfills you, and where you want to work. And it's not a failure to stay in a small town and lead a wonderful life and do great work there. But for me, I wanted to see more. And I wanted to do more. And in those days at least, more meant bigger. It meant a grander scale, it meant more importance and a bigger scene. And that's what propelled me, in a foolhardy way, to quit my job in Dallas and go to New York without a job, because I wanted to do something up there.
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Rita Dove

Former Poet Laureate of the United States

Here was a living, breathing, walking, joking person, who wrote books. And for me, it was that I loved to read but I always thought that the dream was too far away. The person who had written the book was a god, it wasn't a person. To have someone actually in the same room with me, talking, and you realize he gets up and walks his dog the same as everybody else, was a way of saying, "It is possible. You can really walk through that door too." That was the important thing.
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Rita Dove

Former Poet Laureate of the United States

I think that without imagination we can go nowhere. And imagination is not something that's just restricted to the arts. Every scientist that I have met who has been a success has had to imagine. You have to imagine it possible before you can see something, sometimes. You can have the evidence right in front of you, but if you can't imagine something that has never existed before, it's impossible. And, with imagination, there are a lot of other characteristics I think you need too. You need determination, and you need to have some sense, some faith in the human ability to persevere and to triumph. Whether you have faith in yourself as that human being is a different point, but at least the faith that human beings can do it. But imagination, in a certain way, contains all of those things, too, because you have to imagine that it is possible for human beings to do something before you can do it.
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