I remember the mentoring experiences of some teachers that I had, like a second term home room teacher in public school that really was very helpful to me.
My mother really didn't know a heck of a lot about business. She was a very good mother, that made sure we ate right and we had our cod liver oil, but didn't know a heck of a lot about what I did.
The more we can do to create a better society, that benefits more people, the better chance we have that our society will continue to grow and prosper.
I think life is sort of like a competition, whether it's in sports, or it's achieving in school, or it's achieving good relationships with people. And competition is a little bit of what it's all about.
I think the American Dream says that anything can happen if you work hard enough at it and are persistent, and have some ability. The sky is the limit to what you can build, and what can happen to you and your family.
And learn that when you do make a mistake, you'll surface that mistake so you can get it corrected, rather than trying to hide it and bury it, and it becomes a much bigger mistake, and maybe a fatal mistake.
From the business point of view, always encouraging the people in our company to own stock in the company, and if we're going to build something great, to have a lot of people share in the benefits of that greatness.
And when we used to play and fight in the streets in Brooklyn and I would get hurt or something, my mother would always come out and save me. So that sort of postponed the inevitable about getting a good beating, without having somebody to come and save you.
What turned me on then, and turns me on even today - and when the time comes from me to retire from management I think I'd still be interested in it - is that everything that happens in the world affects the price of securities.
So it's the kind of business where you can't wait to get up in the morning and read the papers, or listen to what's on the news, and you know, how the world's going to change.
I've had a terrific life, from building one company to be the second largest company in the securities industry and merging that into American Express, and becoming president of that company.
And it was where I learned how to play tennis and eventually became captain of the tennis team at the school and was on the Junior Davis Cup in New York City.
A lot of people at Shearson ended up making a lot of money because they had stock or stock options. Their kids were able to go to college, and it changed a lot of people's lives.
I've been involved with Carnegie Hall for the last 13 years, and Chairman for the last six. I feel really good about what we've done growing our educational programs there, building a board that has made Carnegie Hall really a world-class institution.
I wonder how many people would have thought at the end of World War II that the capitalist system would be one that was meeting the challenges and making things better for people as we approach the 21st century.
Our company is working with Disney to create a game for children between the ages of maybe four and 12, so we can teach them what the capitalist system is all about.
One of the people that I respect the most now, a person I think has done a heck of a lot for this world as a leader, is Margaret Thatcher. She helped create a world that offers us a lot of excitement as we look to the next century.