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Shimon Peres

Former President of Israel

One of the things he (Ben-Gurion) said -- and I liked very much -- he said, "All experts are for things that happened. You don't have experts for things that may happen" -- which means, as he said, "If you really want to learn something, it's not enough to be up-to-date; you have to be up-to-tomorrow." That would be my first lesson, to look for the tomorrow. And eventually, I lost partly my interest in history, and I devoted most of my intellectual energies to the future. To this very day, I believe to imagine is more important than to remember. I don't believe in memories anyway, because memories in a way is to remember what to forget. You hardly remember the things that were not easy or were not right, and yet people think it is more important to remember than to think. That was my first lesson. My second lesson is, "Your best friends are not only human beings, but books." To read books is like going to swim in a sea of wisdom, endlessly fascinating. And there are so many wise people all over the world, throughout history, and you can have it free, for nothing. And reading must become a daily habit. It's not that you can read once a week. I read day in and day out, and you make acquaintances with books. After a few pages, you know with whom you are dealing. Serious, unserious, far-sighted, repetitive. That was my second lesson. My third lesson was, "Never forget there is nothing wiser than a moral choice." And the fourth point: "Don't be afraid to be alone." Future is always in a minority. So, if you want to be popular, go and praise the past. If you want to serve the future, don't be afraid to belong to a minority.
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Shimon Peres

Former President of Israel

Shimon Peres: We were living under an embargo. I thought we didn't have a choice but to build our own industries. And people say a small country like Israel cannot built an aeronautic industry, cannot build an electronics industry, cannot build nuclear reactors. And again, I thought we can do it, so I was charged with doing it. In the beginning it raised a great deal of skepticism and criticism, but later on people appreciate it very much. So actually we laid, at that time, the foundation for the high-tech of Israel which exists to this very day.
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Sidney Poitier

Oscar for Best Actor

He said, "You can't talk, you can't speak, you can't read." No one ever said that to me before. And I always dreaded that someone would say that to me because I really couldn't read well and I really didn't speak terrifically. Certainly my accent was Caribbean. So his complaints were dead on. But I had to now not push that aside. I had to then look at it and say wait a minute, that's the me that he sees. Therefore, I have to assume the responsibility for either remaining that way or changing it and to change it for what purpose? I have to change it because I felt in myself that if I don't change, I would be less the person that I perceived myself to be.
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Sidney Poitier

Oscar for Best Actor

There isn't a person that sits in a movie house, of any maturity, who hasn't been disappointed, who hasn't been exhilarated, who hasn't felt fear, who hasn't felt joy. Every one of the emotions that human beings experience, even the most terrifying ones, they have been akin to all of them at one time or another, either in their daily lives, their weekly lives, their monthly lives, their yearly lives. So that when they sit in that theater, that's all they bring in. That's the scoreboard they bring in. And they sit there and they watch actors playing at fear, embarrassment, at love, at hate, at all of the emotions in life. That's what they bring in. So when they sit there, and they're looking at actors doing that, they cotton to those actors that make that connection, makes that connection with them. And that's the actor's job, it's not their job. All they do is they bring this panel of human emotions with them. And these emotions are in neutral. They are absolutely in neutral as they sit there. And one by one, this really fine actress or actor begins to do things that somewhere in the consciousness of that audience, they're saying, "Ooh boy, yeah, I know about that. I've seen that. Wow." That's where the admiration comes from, because they can also tell when that actor or that actress is not reaching home.
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Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State, United States of America

Colin Powell: One of my little rules is, you get all the facts you can. You get all of the analysis you can. You grind it up in your mental computer and then, when you have all the facts available to you, go with your instinct. I go with my instinct a great deal, but it is not just snap-go. You have to learn the technique of informing your instinct, of educating that little place down in your stomach where instinct resides, so that it is not blind instinct, but informed instinct. Built into each of us is a little calculator that can make judgments that will never appear on a piece of paper. And sometimes you just know something's right -- you can't prove it to anybody -- or you know something's wrong. Little ethical circuit breakers you carry around inside of you, or little right and wrong circuit breakers you carry around inside of you. So, I go with my instinct a great deal.
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Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State, United States of America

Colin Powell: We can't just sit around waiting for government to solve some of these intractable social problems that we've had for years. Government has a role to play. It is time for all of us to live up more fully to the concept of citizenship. And for those of us who as citizens of this nation have been blessed with treasure, and wealth, and good position, and comfortable homes, and all the blessings of this land, to be a good citizen, to be a big citizen, requires you to do more in the way of sharing with those who are in need. So that a family that has three wonderful children ought to try to see if they could find three hours a week to share that life with a kid in need who doesn't have a mentor, who doesn't get to play in Little League and do the other things that we take for granted. Somebody in that family who might go tutor a school on an afternoon off from a job, and we're encouraging corporations to give them that afternoon off. And so that's what we mean by big citizenship.
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