Addresses

Below is a selection of content that we found thought provoking.

The Road to Self Renewal

The Road to Self Renewal

This is a speech by John Gardner delivered in 1990 to McKinsey & Company: I’m going to talk about “Self-Renewal.” One of your most fundamental tasks is the renewal of the organizations you serve, and that usually includes persuading the top officers to accomplish a certain amount of self-renewal. But to help you think about others is not my primary mission this morning. I want to help you think about yourselves. I take that mission very seriously, and I’ve written out what I have to say...

We Are What We Choose

We Are What We Choose

Remarks by Jeff Bezos, as delivered to the Princeton University Class of 2010BaccalaureateMay 30, 2010 As a kid, I spent my summers with my grandparents on their ranch in Texas. I helped fix windmills, vaccinate cattle, and do other chores. We also watched soap operas every afternoon, especially “Days of our Lives.” My grandparents belonged to a Caravan Club, a group of Airstream trailer owners who travel together around the U.S. and Canada. And every few summers, we’d join the caravan. We’d...

When Great Trees Fall

When Great Trees Fall

Written by Maya Angelou When great trees fall,rocks on distant hills shudder,lions hunker downin tall grasses,and even elephantslumber after safety. When great trees fallin forests,small things recoil into silence,their senseseroded beyond fear. When great souls die,the air around us becomeslight, rare, sterile.We breathe, briefly.Our eyes, briefly,see witha hurtful clarity.Our memory, suddenly sharpened,examines,gnaws on kind wordsunsaid,promised walksnever taken. Great souls die andour...

The Moral Peril of Meritocracy

The Moral Peril of Meritocracy

Written by David Brooks Our individualistic culture inflames the ego and numbs the spirit. Failure teaches us who we are. Many of the people I admire lead lives that have a two-mountain shape. They got out of school, began their career, started a family and identified the mountain they thought they were meant to climb — I’m going to be an entrepreneur, a doctor, a cop. They did the things society encourages us to do, like make a mark, become successful, buy a home, raise a family, pursue...

Hard Choices: The Importance of Thoughtful Deliberation – And its Implications for the Future of Capitalism

Hard Choices: The Importance of Thoughtful Deliberation – And its Implications for the Future of Capitalism

A speech written and delivered by Seth Klarman before Harvard Business School students and alumni at the opening of Klarman Hall I suspect there’s a great deal that most of us can agree on about capitalism. The free enterprise system, of which HBS is an essential part, has lifted billions of people around the world out of poverty. It provides the backdrop for unleashing boundless human potential. It has made the US an economic powerhouse. It has played a major role in capital being allocated...

William Deresiewicz’s 2009 Solitude and Leadership Address at West Point

William Deresiewicz’s 2009 Solitude and Leadership Address at West Point

The lecture below was delivered to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in October 2009. My title must seem like a contradiction. What can solitude have to do with leadership? Solitude means being alone, and leadership necessitates the presence of others—the people you’re leading. When we think about leadership in American history we are likely to think of Washington, at the head of an army, or Lincoln, at the head of a nation, or King, at the head of a...

President Theodore Rosevelt’s Citizenship in a Republic Address

President Theodore Rosevelt’s Citizenship in a Republic Address

CITIZENSHIP IN A REPUBLIC Theodore RooseveltSpeech delivered at the SorbonneParis, FranceApril 23, 1910 The Famous Quote: “The Man In The Arena” It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort...

Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s Report to the House of Commons in June 1940

Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s Report to the House of Commons in June 1940

Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s Report to the House of Commons 4 June 1940 From the moment that the French defenses at Sedan and on the Meuse were broken at the end of the second week of May, only a rapid retreat to Amiens and the south could have saved the British and French Armies who had entered Belgium at the appeal of the Belgian King; but this strategic fact was not immediately realized. The French High Command hoped they would be able to close the gap, and the Armies of the north...

The Paradox of Our Age: A Sermon by Dr. Bob Moorehead (Overlake Christian Church)

The Paradox of Our Age: A Sermon by Dr. Bob Moorehead (Overlake Christian Church)

A sermon written by Dr. Bob Moorehead of Seattle's Overlake Christian Church We have taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways but narrower viewpoints; we spend more but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less; we have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, yet less time; we have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; we have more gadgets but less satisfaction; more medicine, yet less wellness; we take more...

Senator John McCain’s Remarks at the 2017 Liberty Medal Ceremony

Senator John McCain’s Remarks at the 2017 Liberty Medal Ceremony

Senator John McCain's remarks after receiving the 2017 Liberty Medal Thank you, Joe [Biden], my old, dear friend, for those mostly undeserved kind words. Vice President Biden and I have known each other for a lot of years now, more than forty, if you’re counting. We knew each other back when we were young and handsome and smarter than everyone else but were too modest to say so. Joe was already a senator, and I was the Navy’s liaison to the Senate. My duties included escorting senate...

Atul Gawande’s 2012 Commencement Address at Williams College

Atul Gawande’s 2012 Commencement Address at Williams College

June 3, 2012 We had a patient at my hospital this winter whose story has stuck with me. Mrs. C was eighty-seven years old, a Holocaust survivor from Germany, and she’d come to the emergency room because she’d suddenly lost the vision in her left eye. It tells you something about her that she was at work when it happened—in the finance department at Sears. She’d worked her entire life. When her family left Nazi Germany, they narrowly avoided the concentration camps but ended up among...

Madhav Dhar’s Eulogy to Barton Biggs

Madhav Dhar’s Eulogy to Barton Biggs

September 7, 2012 Barton (1932 - 2012) I walked with him. I talked with him. I golfed with him—played squash, tennis, lifted weights with him—climbed mountains with him. I travelled the world with him—I helped create new investment worlds with him. I started funds, businesses and companies with him. I laughed with him. Even cried with him. I discussed, debated and dueled with him. I got yelled at and kicked in the ass by him. I hugged him. I occasionally managed to bully him. I'm perhaps the...

President Ronald Reagan’s Address from Normandy on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day

President Ronald Reagan’s Address from Normandy on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day

President Ronald Reagan – On the 40th Anniversary of D-Day Pointe du Hoc – Normandy, France6 June 1984 We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For 4 long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and...

Mike Pence’s Address on the Presidency at Hillsdale College

Mike Pence’s Address on the Presidency at Hillsdale College

September 20, 2010 President and Mrs. Arnn, Mr. John Cervini, Mr. David Bobb, Elliot Gaiser, College Republicans and each and every one of the faculty and students of Hillsdale College here today.... As I am sure you know, honor is what allows us to do what is right despite the cost. Even greater honor is required to do what is right in the face of superior power. And the greatest honor is to stand strong even if it means standing alone. The long fight of Hillsdale College, standing alone —...

Admiral William McRaven’s 2014 Commencement Address at the University of Texas

Admiral William McRaven’s 2014 Commencement Address at the University of Texas

Admiral William McRaven (USN, Retired) 2014 Commencement Address University of Texas at Austin  President Powers, Provost Fenves, Deans, members of the faculty, family and friends and most importantly, the class of 2014. Congratulations on your achievement. It's been almost 37 years to the day that I graduated from UT. I remember a lot of things about that day. I remember I had throbbing headache from a party the night before. I remember I had a serious girlfriend, whom I later married —...

A Lesson on Elementary, Worldly Wisdom As It Relates To Investment Management & Business Given By Charles Munger at the University of of Southern California

A Lesson on Elementary, Worldly Wisdom As It Relates To Investment Management & Business Given By Charles Munger at the University of of Southern California

Charles Munger - USC Business School I'm going to play a minor trick on you today because the subject of my talk is the art of stock picking as a subdivision of the art of worldly wisdom. That enables me to start talking about worldly wisdom—a much broader topic that interests me because I think all too little of it is delivered by modern educational systems, at least in an effective way. And therefore, the talk is sort of along the lines that some behaviorist psychologists call Grandma's rule...

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories. The first story is about connecting the dots. I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit....

David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Commencement Address at Kenyon College

David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Commencement Address at Kenyon College

Transcription of the 2005 Kenyon Commencement Address - May 21, 2005Written and Delivered by David Foster Wallace (If anybody feels like perspiring [cough], I'd advise you to go ahead, because I'm sure going to. In fact I'm gonna [mumbles while pulling up his gown and taking out a handkerchief from his pocket].) Greetings ["parents"?] and congratulations to Kenyon's graduating class of 2005. There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other...

Lou Gehrig’s Farewell to Baseball Address at Yankee Stadium

Lou Gehrig’s Farewell to Baseball Address at Yankee Stadium

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the...

President John F. Kennedy’s Decision to go to the Moon Address at Rice University

President John F. Kennedy’s Decision to go to the Moon Address at Rice University

President Pitzer, Mr. Vice President, Governor, Congressman Thomas, Senator Wiley, and Congressman Miller, Mr. Webb, Mr. Bell, scientists, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen: I appreciate your president having made me an honorary visiting professor, and I will assure you that my first lecture will be very brief. I am delighted to be here, and I'm particularly delighted to be here on this occasion. We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a State...

President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live....