Cover of book Personal History

Personal History

by: Katharine Graham

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An inspiring story about Katherine Graham and her re-incarnation as a business woman.
23 Highlights | 0 Notes
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    meant that we grew up with the belief that no matter what you did professionally, you automatically had to think about public issues and give back, either in interest in your community or in public service—you had to care.
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    meant a lot to me then, as it does even today: “What parents may sometimes do in a helpful way is to point out certain principles of action. I do not think I would be helpful in advising you too strongly. I do not even feel the need of doing that because I have so much confidence in your having really good judgment. I believe that what I can do for you once in a while is to point out certain principles that have developed in my mind as sound and practical, leaving it for you yourself to apply them if your own mind grasps and approves the principles.”
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    As time went on, I realized that there is a magic to square rooms. People are comfortable and can talk easily, but the room is also fine when you’re alone.
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    Get right down to day-to-day living. How much should one pour into one’s work? How much save for one’s family? How much for solitary thought? How much for service to one’s sovereign or one’s God? How great is one’s duty to truth?… How do we ration our small supply of energy and talents and character amongst all the claimants?
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    For me, this was the first of many such trips in which looking around, observing, and learning became almost addictive.
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    My job was made infinitely harder by comparing myself not with the real Phil Graham but with my exaggerated idea of his ability and accomplishments.
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    I had to come to realize that I could only do the job in whatever way I could do it. I couldn’t try to be someone else, least of all Phil.
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    I was also uneducated in even the basics of the working world—how to relate to people professionally, how to tell people things that they might not want to hear, how to give praise as well as criticism, how to use time to the best effect.
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    I was constantly worried about perceived minor slights, or awkward encounters with people. I couldn’t tell which were valid worries and which were not.
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    that what mattered was performance, that sometimes people might have to be helped to develop, and that it takes all kinds to make an organization run properly.
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    The Montessori method—learning by doing—once again became my stock in trade. One
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    “To move from where we are to becoming the ‘best’ will require some very tough decisions, the toughest of which, having to do with intentions and goals, and attitudes about spending, must of course be made by you. They will not be easy, or serene, or reachable overnight.” He was right on all counts.
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    Women traditionally also have suffered—and many still do—from an exaggerated desire to please, a syndrome so instilled in women of my generation that it inhibited my behavior for many years, and in ways still does.
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    including The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir,
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    It seems almost inhuman to cry at superficial books and movies or when upset or angry but not when I’m deeply shaken, as I certainly was not only at my mother’s death but at Phil’s and my father’s, as well as my sister’s, and later at my brother’s,
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    The fascinating thing—and the thing to remember, is that if you have enough going for you in the way of momentum and luck, everyone looks at the developing pattern on the rug whether it’s an Oriental design or the stain from the egg, and says, “What a beautiful rug.”
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    The calmer people look and act under extreme pressures, the more likely they are to pay the price with physical symptoms.
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    One of Charlie’s typical bons mots is his saying that he frequently reminds Warren “that the main risk we face as we scrabble on is not going broke but going crazy.”
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    “Don’t forget,” he told me, “she has zero-based affection,” meaning that you always had to start from scratch, with no reservoir of goodwill or of love.
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    a Dale Carnegie course had said to him, “Just remember: We’re not going to teach you how to keep your knees from knocking. All we’re going to do is teach you to talk while your knees knock.”
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    Charlie Munger’s “orangutan theory”—which essentially contended that, “if a smart person goes into a room with an orangutan and explains whatever his or her idea is, the orangutan just sits there eating his banana, and at the end of the conversation, the person explaining comes out smarter.”
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    As a manager, I had learned the hard way that, when management, for whatever reason, forfeits its basic right to manage, only trouble can result.
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    I have regretted that outburst and I have also established that the maximum time I can carry a grudge is about three months. This note is simply to say that I have now forgotten all campaign grudges. It is just too difficult trying to remember which people I’m supposed to shun. With rare exceptions, I feel strongly that McGovern’s rule is an appropriate one for all of us. The longer I live, the more I observe that carrying around anger is most debilitating to the person who bears it. IN