Katie Couric's been making news of late, as the CBS Evening News anchor is reportedly weighing leaving that spot to host or co-host her own talk show. In The Best Advice I Ever Got she presents notable life lessons from more than 100 entertainers, entrepreneurs, writers and political figures. Throughout more than 200 pages of easy-to-browse inspiration, Couric weaves the story of her own life, which began with an idyllic childhood then plummeted to tragedy after her husband’s early death from cancer. She goes on to detail how she ultimately overcame sexist attitudes to become the first woman to solo-anchor a major newscast. Couric’s share of profits from the sale of the book will benefit Scholarship America, an organization that helps deserving students attend college.
Here, a selection of insights from the book:
On Courage and Self-Confidence. Arianna Huffington, editor of The Huffington Post, received 36 rejection slips when attempting to publish her second book. With nothing more than “a lot of Greek chutzpah,” she walked into Barclay’s Bank and walked out with a loan that enabled her to spend her days writing.
On Hard Work and Tenacity. Speed skater and eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno follows the advice his father gave him: “Sometimes you have to have a massive storm in order to clear the sky.”
On Pluck and Perseverance. PBS host and philanthropist Tavis Smiley, lives by the words of the poet Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
On Passion and Dreams. “Dr. Phil” McGraw, mental health professional, bestselling author and television host, pushed beyond an impoverished childhood to embrace his passion. “Go find your passion and embrace it. When you do, you will spring out of bed each morning and sleep fast at night because you love what you are doing.”
On Taking Risks and Seeking Opportunity. Stand-up comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres reveals that she feared coming out as a lesbian would harm her career. Despite some initial stumbling blocks, Degeneres’ risky move paid off big time. She urges others to: “Be true to yourself, and everything else will be fine.”
On Doing What’s Right. Gloria Steinem, writer and feminist organizer, lists ten rules for life, among them: “If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck but you think it’s a pig, it’s a pig.”
On Rejection and Resilience. Supermodel and entrepreneur Tyra Banks learned from her setbacks. When her post-modeling dreams of becoming a singer failed, she created “Bankable,” a new consumer-focused brand dedicated to beauty and fashion. “Destiny is born out of our true gifts, which each of us must focus on, investigate and invest in. It is not born out of foolish fantasy.”
On Mentors and Encouragement. Jay Leno, comedian and host of The Tonight Show, was a disruptive class clown with little interest in schoolwork before his English teacher saw his potential. “I always try to encourage [young people] in any way that I can, because that’s what someone did for me.”
On Commitment and Contribution. Forty-second President of the United States Bill Clinton encourages Americans to become good citizens of our country as well as the world, “Because while our differences make life more fascinating, our common humanity matters more.”
On Wisdom and Happiness. Late night television host and funnyman Jimmy Kimmel doesn’t recall being offered much in the way of advice from his family, who are often tapped as fodder for sketches on Jimmy Kimmel Live! But one bit of wisdom his father passed down has served as one of the overarching principles of Kimmel’s life: “When in doubt, order the hamburger.”
(Ed Note: All quotes from pre-publication galley; finished copy may slightly differ.)