Words of Wisdom:
"'Learning how to think' really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed."
This address at Kenyon was vintage Wallace: a smart, occasionally meandering discussion of the issues that consumed him, from the banality of life to the meaning of consciousness. "I know that this stuff probably doesn't sound fun and breezy and grandly inspirational," he concluded. "What it is, so far as I can see, is the truth ... The capital-T Truth is about life before death. It is about making it to 30, or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head." All the reasons Wallace didn't make it to 50 are apparent here; in hindsight, the speech reads like the first draft of a suicide note for an author who took his own life last year at age 46. While it's a macabre read, there's tons that's worthwhile here: the speech crackles with wit and intelligence — and offers tricks for escaping the depression to which Wallace ultimately succumbed。
David Foster Wallace，美国著名小说作家、评论家、幽默作家，代表作《无尽的玩笑》，入选《时代周刊》“百部最佳英文小说”。David Foster Wallace2008年9月13日患抑郁症自杀家中，享年46岁。
Words of Wisdom:
"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to Heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true。
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition ... Stay hungry, Stay foolish."
"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick," said Jobs. "Don't lose faith." Despite his prickly reputation, this heartfelt commencement address is about as good as the genre gets: short, smart, poignant and uplifting. Discussing life, love and loss, the Apple co-founder hit all the right notes。
Words of Wisdom:
"I've dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve. Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you're desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way。
"I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous. And yet, every failure was freeing, and today I'm as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good。
"So, that's what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good. Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over."
When Conan O'Brien spoke at Harvard University's 2000 Class Day, he had a lot of things to say — many of them about Harvard. O'Brien graduated from the prestigious university in 1985, and he took at few shots at his alma mater's expense. "The last time I was invited to Harvard it cost me $110,000," he said, "so you'll forgive me if I'm a bit suspicious."
O'Brien also spoke about the difficulties of trying to make it in comedy — first as a writer for Saturday Night Live, then for The Simpsons, and then finally as a late-night talk-show host — and all of the setbacks and failures he endured along the way. He discussed his bombed television pilot, embarrassingly bad reviews and what it was like to be 28 and unemployed in New York City, proving that no one, not even the man who would one day take over the Tonight Show, escapes disappointment and self-doubt. But despite his stumbles, O'Brien kept going. And he told Harvard's class of 2000 that they should too。
Words of Wisdom:
"Listen once in a while. It's amazing what you can hear. On a hot summer day in the country you can hear the corn growing, the crack of a tin roof buckling under the power of the sun. In a real old-fashioned parlor silence so deep you can hear the dust settling on the velveteen settee, you might hear the footsteps of something sinister gaining on you, or a heart-stoppingly beautiful phrase from Mozart you haven't heard since childhood, or the voice of somebody — now gone — whom you loved. Or sometime when you're talking up a storm so brilliant, so charming that you can hardly believe how wonderful you are, pause just a moment and listen to yourself. It's good for the soul to hear yourself as others hear you, and next time maybe, just maybe, you will not talk so much, so loudly, so brilliantly, so charmingly, so utterly shamelessly foolishly。
Baker, a Pulitzer Prize–winning author and columnist, knows how to reach college kids. He's funny and engaging ("The best advice I can give anybody about going out into the world is this: Don't do it") without being cynical, and lands enough light jabs to remind his audience that his advice — from "get married" to "sleep in the nude" — is worth heeding。
Words of Wisdom:
"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, GREat or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense."
No leader in history, perhaps, matched Churchill's capacity for blurring the lines between speech and battle cry. This is one of his best. It's an urban legend that the "Never give in" exhortation comprised the totality of his address; Churchill went on for several more paragraphs. But there's no question that this, far and away, was what Harrow's students remembered。
"It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist."
Marshall's address at Harvard was pretty dry stuff, but give the guy a break. Instead of following the conventional blueprint for a commencement speech — a poignant metaphor here, some poetic turns of phrase there, wrapped up in a neat life lesson — Marshall did nothing less than outline the plan to rebuild postwar Europe and curb the spread of communism that would eventually bear his name. Since this speech was step one toward saving a continent, Marshall gets a pass for failing to meet today's quota for snappy one-liners。
Words of Wisdom:
"Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control。
"We need not accept that view. Our problems are man-made — therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable — and we believe they can do it again."
Consider the last time you witnessed an exchange about the thorny issues on today's agenda — pork-barrel spending, say, or instituting universal health care. Chances are the discussion was conducted in weary, whispered tones. Pragmatism is in, and talk of grand solutions is the kiss of death for many a politician. Reading J.F.K.'s 1963 address to American University graduates on the need for world peace is a reminder of how much our political discourse has changed — and, in many ways, diminished. Say this for the President: he made no small plans。
John F. Kennedy，美国前总统。
Words of Wisdom:
"Take action. Every story you've ever connected with, every leader you've ever admired, every puny little thing that you've ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life. Action is the antidote to apathy and cynicism and despair. You will inevitably make mistakes. Learn what you can and move on. At the end of your days, you will be judged by your gallop, not by your stumble."
As an actor, Whitford's most famous character was The west Wing's Josh Lyman, a pragmatic political wonk with a drive to win and no compunction about kneecapping his foes. So it's a little strange to read Whitford's earnest advice for overcoming adversity. But there's no denying that his address makes a heartfelt, inspiring read。
Words of Wisdom:
"If somebody says 'Your money or your life,' you could say, 'Life.' And mean it. You'll see things collapse in your time, the big houses, the empires of glass. The new GREen things that sprout up through the wreck — those will be yours。
"The arc of history is longer than human vision. It bends. We abolished slavery, we granted universal suffrage. We have done hard things before. And every time it took a terrible fight between people who could not imagine changing the rules, and those who said, 'We already did. We have made the world new.' The hardest part will be to convince yourself of the possibilities, and hang on."
At Duke in 2008, Kingsolver, the author of a dozen books (including The Poisonwood Bible)， didn't shy away from weighty matters. Without being preachy, she enumerated the perils of climate change, of the all-consuming need to accumulate wealth and of, in this age of digital connectedness, our increasing isolation from one another. But this beautifully written speech ends on a hopeful note. "The ridiculously earnest are known to travel in groups," she said. "And they are known to change the world."
Words of Wisdom:
"I have two last pieces of advice. First, being pre-approved for a credit card does not mean you have to apply for it. And lastly, the best career advice I can give you is to get your own TV show. It pays well, the hours are good, and you are famous. And eventually some very nice people will give you a doctorate in fine arts for doing jack squat."
Did Knox College invite as its 2006 commencement speaker Stephen Colbert the comedian or Stephen Colbert the invented TV personality? When the political satirist and host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report took the podium in Galesburg, Ill., no one knew which version of Colbert they would get — not even the man himself. "I'm not sure which one of us you invited to speak here today," he said. "I'm just going to talk and I'm going to let you figure it out."
Colbert rambled about everything from overdue library books to the Dred Scott case, but ended with one piece of earnest advice. "Cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or be disappointed in us," he told the class of 2006. "Cynics always say no ... for as long as you have the strength to, say yes."
Stephen Colbert，美国喜剧演员、电视主持人，主持节目“The Colbert Report”，擅长政治幽默。
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