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The Best Advice My Father Ever Gave Me
I remember I was really little and my dad used to have a used-car lot. Right next to the used-car lot, this old guy named Willy lived in this really beat-down house. I asked my dad if Willy was poor, and he said, He doesnt have a lot of money, but hes rich because hes got so much personality, hes got so much heart. That has always sort of stuck with me, believe it or not.
There were moments during rides in the car when my father would give my two brothers, my sister, and I the wordthese little speeches where wed sit there and listen for half an hour while hed talk about life and whats important. I think what I gained from it was that voice inside myself, and thats the most important thing my father ever gave meto listen to the voice inside myself, to take care of it, to be an honest person, and to keep the voice healthy. Thats something I do for my kids. When I get them in the car, I start the word. It starts, Let me tell you kids. In life and they go, Oh no. The same thing I did.
My father told me the most important thing in life is love.
My dad most definitely taught us to respect everybody regardless of their race, their sexual preference, whatever. Growing up on a dirt road in Georgia, that was not the normal education.
Donald J. Trump, mogul
The best advice my father gave me was when he told me, Know everything you can about what youre doing. That was great and concise advice that I follow to this day. One reason Im good at making deals is because I look at every possible angle and have my bases covered. Being thorough is absolutely necessary for success.
Ed Sanders, designer and star of Extreme Makeover: Home
Before I got married, my dad said, Ed, remember these three things, and you wont go wrong: Youre right. Im sorry. It will never happen again. Trust methey work.
Tim Kurkjian, ESPN baseball analyst and author of Is This a
Great Game, or What?
Among the many pieces of wisdom my father passed along was, Never accuse without proof. He was a mathematician, and without proper proof or evidence, it was unfair, he felt, to accuse someone of wrongdoing. That philosophy has worked well for me as a writer, because it follows the same ideals that we were taught in journalism school about fairness and accuracy.
Bill Engvall, comedian, author, and star of Delta Farce
One time my mom was sunbathing on a pier at a lake. She was in the process of slathering suntan lotion up and down her arms and legs, and she didnt see Dad drop quietly into the water on the other side of the pier. I covered my mouth because I knew what he was up to. As Mom blissfully rubbed on the lotion, Dad suddenly shot up out of the water and grabbed her foot. Mom screamed. Her fingers reflexively squeezed the tube of suntan lotion. A gob of gooey white lotion spurted right into her hair. Damn it, Bill! Now Ive got to wash my hair! Mom was shouting, but she was also laughing. I thought Dads move was brilliant. I was only in the second grade, but Id learned my first major comedy lesson: Scaring the crap out of people is funny.
Anthony Bourdain, executive chef of New Yorks Brasserie
Les Halles restaurant
My father didnt really give me advice. He taught by example. Listen to this! he would say as he handed me Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band or Cheap Thrillseven though his thing was classical music. Watch this! as he made sure I watched Citizen Kane and 400 Blows and Dr. Strangelove. This is marvelous! as he took a bite out of a crusty baguette loaded with saucisson à lail. The message seemed to be Enjoy good things.
Alex Orbi Orbison, drummer for the band Whitestarr, star of The Rock Life (on VH1 this summer), and son of legendary late singer-songwriter Roy Orbison
As a child, I was always looking for the easiest way to do thingsskipping steps when doing chores and so on. My father and I would build model airplanes together, and on one occasion, I just couldnt wait for the glue to dry and wound up making a mess of the plane. My dad told me, When you do it right the first time, you wont have to do it again. He had to reiterate that message many more times before it finally resonated.
Marcus Samuelsson, executive chef and co-owner of New
Yorks Aquavit restaurant
I was born in Ethiopia and orphaned at the age of 3. My sister and I were fortunate enough to be adopted by two wonderful people from Sweden. My father, Lennart Samuelsson, knew that being a black kid in a nearly all-white country meant that my life was bound to be filled with challenges, and when I was growing up, the one thing he forbade me to do was fight. Although I did not realize it at the time, he was teaching me to outsmart my problems rather than address them with force. Being a minoritywhether its because of your gender, race, or even ageis never easy, no matter where you are, but thanks to my dad, I never grew up thinking about that. It made me who I am today, and as a result, I look at all of my challenges differently.
Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Recordings
I learned many important lessons from my father, Daniel Simmons, but the one that left the deepest impression was to spit truth to power. My father spit truth on many occasions, both in his poetry and in his actions, but the time that really stood out to me was a day during the mid-60s, when my family was taking a drive out to the beach at the edge of Queens. We had driven only a few blocks from our home when my father saw some of our neighbors protesting outside a construction site. When he got out to investigate, he found out that they were upset because, while the building was being built in a black neighborhood, the contractor hadnt hired any black construction workers. It wasnt right to hire only white workers from outside the community when there were plenty of skilled black workers living in Hollis who could have used the opportunity. Well, after my father heard that, that was the end of our trip to the beach. My father joined the picket line that very afternoon and kept coming back every day until the contractor finally caved in and hired some black workers. And it wasnt just raising his voiceI even saw my father risk his life by lying down in front of a bulldozer that tried to cross the picket line. That made a very deep impression on my brothers and me. Watching his example taught me that if you see a truth thats being ignored, you have to speak up for it. Even if its hard, even if its dangerous, and even if, on the surface, it doesnt look like its going to affect your life directly, you still have to speak up. It helped us realize that spitting truth to power isnt a luxury, but a duty.
Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers
There were times as a kid when I was worn out on a certain sport or with a certain team, and he sensed it. He would play with me and come up with games to make the sport more fun. He would talk about the qualities that all great competitors and performers have. He not only made me want to keep competing, but he also made me want to be the best. I carry that with me today. There were times last season when I was knocked down repeatedly, but getting up to continue fighting was the only option I knew.
Jeff Daniels, actor
When I started to make some money, I went to my dad for some financial advice. Before he could say a word, I went on and on about the stocks and bonds and mutual funds. Ten minutes went by in my quest to impress him with how much I knew about something I knew nothing about. When I finally finished, he looked at me and said, Invest in yourself. As a self-made man, he has spent his whole life doing just that. Put your money into the one person you can count on, the one person you know will be motivated to do everything possible to make sure your investment is a good one. Everything else is just a shell game. So I have.
Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5
My father taught me not to be so naive about the world. When I was 11 years old, some kids asked me to smoke. I was confused, so I asked my dad about it and he said, You know, smoking is terrible for you, but if youre going to smoke, you should smoke with me. So he went and bought a pack of cigarettes, and we went up to the rooftop and lit up a cigarette. I choked my brains out, and it was the most disgusting thing in the world. At that point I could take it or leave it. I wasnt lured by this mysterious taboo anymore. So he made me feel cool about it. A lot of parents forget that if you dont try desperately to shelter your child from everything, then they wont be as curious.
John Mellencamp, musician
My grandfather was a coarse man, but he gave me some great advice: If youre gonna hit a c--ksucker, kill him. What he meant was, dont just talk about doing somethingdo it. And put your whole heart and soul into it, or dont even bother. Thats pretty much how I try to live my life, and I hope Im passing that lesson along to my kids.
Dean Karnazes, ultramarathoner
It was in the summer of 1994 and I was 30 years old, running my first 100-mile trail race in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. My dad told me, Itll hurt worse if you quit. This tidbit of wisdom was dispensed at mile 94 during a 100-mile nonstop footrace. Id been running for nineteen hours straight and was in tremendous pain. He knew that if I gave up, the pain wouldnt go away in a few days, it would last a lifetime.
Mike Repole, president of Glacéau, makers of
My dad was the youngest of 14 kids born in Nice, France. He was the only one who had the courage to move from France to New York City in search of the life he had always dreamed of. He worked six days a week for over 40 years as a waiter until he retired. Through my father I learned that life is all about hard work and risk. He taught me that if you outwork someone who is smarter than you, youll always come out ahead.
Sugar Ray Leonard, boxing champion
You must give respect to receive respect. Its the best advice he gave me because its true.
Steve Ralston, midfielder for the New England Revolution
My dad said, If youre going to do something, make sure you do it right and at 100 percent. He told me how Lou Gehrig never took a day off. He got another players position because of it. Ive been fortunate to play a long time, and I think its because I always want to play and keep my job.
David Samson, president of the Florida Marlins
The best advice my dad gave me was Know when to hold em and when to fold em. This advice ran through my head last year as I competed in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona. My body said fold em and my mind said hold em, and together they worked to help me break the finish-line tape.
Peter Arnell, CEO of the Arnell Group and creator of new snack
food line G.O.A.T.
My grandfather, Nathan Hutt, told me Fish where the fish are and Theres one thing guaranteed in life: If you sell em bad fish, they wont be back tomorrow. These are two pieces of advice that I have shaped my whole life around.
Jonathan Tisch, CEO of Loews hotels
When I was ten years old I visited the Americana, in Bal Harbor, Florida, with my dad, Preston Robert Tisch. As we walked through the hotel, my father overheard a conversation between an employee and a guest who wanted a wine that the hotel did not have in its cellar. To make the point that its our job to accommodate our guests in every way possible, my father had the staff contact a few distributors and got in a case of the wine the following day. The guest was delighted.
David Eckstein, shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, 2006
World Series MVP
As the youngest of five siblings, I was born into a household where the rule was Always give 100 percent. It was instituted by my father, Whitey Eckstein. In school or in baseball, giving 100 percent meant not giving in to fear when circumstances appeared impossiblewhether it was being told I was too small to play professional baseball or being put on waivers by the Boston Red Sox or being released from the Anaheim Angels. Dads advice allows me to attack any circumstance with a fearless attitude, knowing I did everything I could to make my dreams come true.
Bobby Flay, chef, cookbook author, and television
I learned three principles from my dad, Bill Flay, that continue to guide me to this day: Always do the right thing, treat people fairly, and make decisions for the long term. He taught me that its better to look at the big picture, and in moments when I have been surrounded by deadlines and demands, Ive always managed to rely on that advice. I use his advice as I run my restaurants, work on my cookbooks, and in everyday life.
Eric Liedtke, head of global brand marketing, Adidas
My dad taught me three things that still govern my life for the most part: 1) respect everyone; 2) dont burn bridges; and 3) never quit. I think each of them speak for themselves.
Source: By: Amy Levin-Epstein and Thomas P.