This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

Jay Allison, Dan Gediman

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0805086587

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"A welcome change from the sloganeering, political mudslinging and products of spin doctors."―The Philadelphia Inquirer

Based on the NPR series of the same name, This I Believe features eighty Americans―from the famous to the unknown―completing the thought that the book's title begins. Each piece compels readers to rethink not only how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs but also the extent to which they share them with others.

Featuring many renowned contributors―including Isabel Allende, Colin Powell, Gloria Steinem, William F. Buckley Jr., Penn Jillette, Bill Gates, and John Updike―the collection also contains essays by a Brooklyn lawyer; a part-time hospital clerk in Rehoboth, Massachusetts; a woman who sells yellow pages advertising in Fort Worth, Texas; and a man who serves on Rhode Island's parole board.

The result is a stirring and provocative trip inside the minds and hearts of a diverse group of people whose beliefs―and the incredibly varied ways in which they choose to express them―reveal the American spirit at its best.

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realized that all of those warnings really weren’t about crime, real estate values, or schools. They were code words white folks like me use to signal “low-income people of color”—a perfectly concealed racist weapon, hidden deep in the anxious beliefs of my own friends and colleagues. I believe sometimes the truth does set people free. So we bought the house on Cottage Grove. That was seven years ago. No one told me that the day we moved in, a pack of joyful kids would run over to meet our

At that time, 1975, a dollar was twenty times my weekly allowance and would buy me four Milky Way bars, six packs of bubble gum, or twenty Charms Pops. But this dollar was not for spending. It had risen above the pettiness of commerce. This was more like an artifact of history or a piece of public art. So despite my temptations, I said no to Mr. Feeney’s candy counter and saved the silver dollar, displaying it on my dresser along with other cherished objects. This is my first memory of saying no

the times of the Chevron food mart, there were the times of the calculator. My mother would carefully prop it up in the cart’s child seat and frown as she entered each price. Since the first days of the calculator’s appearance, the worry lines on my mother’s face have only grown deeper. Today, they are a permanent fixture. Chevron shopping started like this: One day my mother suddenly realized that she had maxed out almost every credit card, and we needed groceries for the week. The only credit

cleaning up to eighteen rooms a day. My poor attitude reflected my disdain for scrubbing toilets, changing bed linens, dusting, and vacuuming eight hours a day for the comfort of total strangers who rarely left a tip. I thought it was beneath me, a fledging journalist. My maid work was passable, my effort mediocre, until the day I was assigned to the eighteenth floor, which was a floor of newly renovated suites. That was Lorena’s regular floor. The only time another maid set foot on it was on

on a bench and cried. I cried for the suffering of the Japanese people. I cried for the suffering of my own family in Europe during World War II. I cried for the suffering yet to be caused by wars sure to come. An old Japanese lady saw me on the bench. She was about my grandmother’s age, and she spoke very little English. She sat next to me and put her wrinkled hands in mine. She said, “Peace starts right here. Peace starts with you and me. It starts today.” She was right. I didn’t have to

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