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Carlos Slim

Financier and Philanthropist

My challenge for the next seven years -- first, three years, and then seven, the first step for three years and the second step seven, a challenge is to create the human and physical capital in our countries, in Latin America. That's now my challenge. That is what I am more involved and interested in. Health, nutrition, health education and jobs and physical infrastructure. That means airports, ports, roads, highways, power plants, energy, telecommunications, et cetera, and housing, and that's what I am trying to do within the last years. I left my boards outside Mexico and in Mexico, and I'm concentrating in this challenge, to look how our countries have more human capital and physical capital, trying to help that and to support that, by looking at it through the foundations that I create and through the investment. I believe that poverty is not fought with donation of charity. You cannot fight poverty with debt relief donations and social programs. You fight poverty only with a good education and jobs. Jobs is the way to fight poverty, and in the past, the problem of poverty was an ethical problem, a moral problem, a problem of social justice. Today, in this new civilization, to fight poverty is an economic need. If you don't fight poverty, the country doesn't develop. In the past, you have slaves. You fight for earth, for soil, and people work for nothing. Now you don't need the physical labor. You need mental knowledge, labor that knows training, skilled labor, and that's why you need the education and the human capital. That's what I'm convinced of, and that's what I'm working for. That's what now I am most interested in.
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Frederick W. Smith

Founder, Federal Express

I was a student at Yale and wrote a paper about the computerized society that was on the horizon. It was pretty clear then, with IBM installing the big computers around, that the world was going to change. And the paper was about how this was going to change a lot of things, and in particular it was going to change the way things had to be distributed and moved to support those automated devices.
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Frederick W. Smith

Founder, Federal Express

The solution was, in my mind, to have an integrated air and ground system, which had never been done. And to operate not on a linear basis, where you try to take things from one point to another, but operate in a systemic manner. Sort of the way a bank clearing house does, you know? They have a bank clearing house in the middle of all the banks and everybody sends someone down there and they swap everything around. Well, that had been done in transportation before: the Indian post office, the French post office. American Airlines had tried a system like that shortly after World War II. But the demand side and supply side had really not met at an appropriate level of maturation.
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Stephen Sondheim

Award-winning Composer and Lyricist

Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos, and certainly puzzles. The nice thing about doing a crossword puzzle is you know there is a solution. I also like murder mysteries for the same reason. Again, the puzzle murder mysteries, the Agatha Christie kinds of things where you know that it's all going to be neatly wound up at the end and everything's going to make logical sense. I think that's why murder mysteries are popular, is this defense against chaos.
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Stephen Sondheim

Award-winning Composer and Lyricist

The way you get into the character -- the way you get in the song, both musically and lyrically -- is to become the character. It's the only way. I don't know how else you do it, unless you're the playwright who created the character in the first place. But I'm always writing for characters that somebody else has created, my collaborator, and so the only way I can get into I've said -- and it's probably an exaggeration, but not much -- that by the time I get through writing a score, I know the book better than the book writer does, because I've examined every word, and questioned the book writer on every word. Why does she say this? Why doesn't she say that? And that's getting to know the character. And then writing the song is acting it. So I can start ad libbing. It's exactly like improvisatory acting. So here's the character Blanche. We're hiring you to play Blanche. Okay. Just veer from the Tennessee Williams script and just start ad libbing as Blanche. If you're thoroughly in the character, you can do it. You may not have the poetry yet, but everything you say will be in the character of Blanche. That's what I do. I take off from what the book writer has written, sometimes using a line of his as a springboard, and ad lib, and improvise as that character. That's what I'm doing.
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