Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdote Sherry Lansing – Former actress and American film studio executive (1944)

The Woman's Touch

In 1980, Sherry Lansing became the first woman in history to run a major studio (20th Century Fox). Later, as Chairwoman of Paramount Pictures, Lansing encouraged employees to volunteer at Edwards Air Force Base. Their mission? To assist the Pentagon - by gardening and painting "nose art" on military aircraft.

Anecdote Anonymous – a short course in Human Relations

The six most important words: I admit that I was wrong. The five most important words: You did a great job. The four most important words: What do you think? The three most important words: Could you please. . . The two most important words: Thank you. The most important word: We. The least important word: I.

Anecdote Ben Goerion – First Prime Minister of Israel (1886 – 1973)

Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was once upbraided by President Chaim Weizmann for appearing at a formal dinner in typical Israeli fashion, with an unbuttoned collar and no jacket or tie.

"How can you show up dressed like this at a state dinner?" Weizmann asked. "Think of all the foreign guests who are here."

"But Winston Churchill," Ben-Gurion claimed, "gave me his permission."

"What do you mean Winston Churchill gave you permission?" Weizmann replied. "He's not even here!"

"Well," Ben-Gurion explained with a smile, "when I last visited London, Churchill said to me, 'Mr. Prime Minister, in Israel you may dress that way, but not in London'!"

Anecdote Albert Einstein – German born theoretical physicist (1879 – 1955)

While his physical theories and experiments were an impenetrable mystery to his second wife, Elsa, she often expressed a desire to learn. "Couldn't you tell me a little about your work?" she asked one day. "People talk a lot about it, and I appear so stupid when I say I know nothing." Einstein, after a moment's thought, produced a curious solution to her human problem: "If people ask," he advised, "tell them you know all about it, but can't tell them, as it is a great secret!"

Anecdote Jean-Paul Sartre – French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist and political activist (1905 – 1980)

Near the end of his life, the famed existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre told Pierre Victor: "I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God."

His fellow existentialist and long-time companion Simone de Beauvoir was not impressed. "How," she asked, "should one explain the senile act of a turncoat?"

Anecdote Srinivasa Ramanujan – Tamil Indian mathematician and autodidact (1887 – 1920)

I remember once going to see him when he was lying ill at Putney," the mathematician G. H. Hardy once remarked. "I had ridden in taxicab number 1729, and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. "'No,' he replied, 'it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.'"

Anecdote Georg Wilhelm Hegel – German idealist and philosopher (1770 – 1831)

Even on his deathbed Hegel remained abstractly philosophical. "Only one man ever understood me," he remarked, with a pause, "and even he didn't understand me."

Anecdote Warren Austin – American politician and statesman (1877 – 1962)

One day in 1948, Warren Austin, America's Ambassador to the United Nations, urged the warring Arabs and Jews to sit down and settle their differences... "like good Christians."

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