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#334 Oprah
January 16th, 2024 | E334

What I learned from reading the transcripts of Young Oprah on Her Life and Career and Oprah on Career, Life and Leadership


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(1:00) Oprah fired her agent and replaced him with a Chicago lawyer named Jeffrey Jacobs. "I heard Jeff is a piranha. I like that. Piranha is good."

(3:00) I will just create. And if it works, it works. And if it doesn’t, I’ll create something else. I don’t have any limitations on what I think I could do or be.

(4:30) Dr. Julie Gurner’s Ultra Successful newsletter 

Dr Julie Gurner's Website 

(7:00) Imitation precedes creation.  — Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. (Founders #210)

(9:00) On getting demoted from anchor to talk show host: I was embarrassed by the whole thing because I had never failed before. It was that “failure” that led to the talk show. (Opportunity is a strange beast. It frequently appears after a loss.)

(9:00) The talk show immediately felt right to her: This is what I should have been doing because it was like breathing to me. It was like breathing. I knew it was the right thing to do.

(10:00) Oprah has an intense, powerful belief in herself. And she has had that since she was 4.

(11:00) I truly believe that thoughts are the greatest vehicle to change power and success in the world. Everything begins with thoughts.

(12:00) If you actually have to choose between the most experienced person, or the most educated person, or the person who actually wants it the most, you always pick the person who wants it the most. — Josh Kushner on the Invest Like the Best podcast 

(14:00) Visualize.

If in your mind's eye you see a successful venture, a deal made, a profit accomplished, it has a superb chance of actually happening. Projecting your mind into a successful situation is the most powerful means to achieve goals.

If you spend time with pictures of failure in your mind, you will orchestrate failure.

Countless times, before the event, I have pictured a heroic sale to a large department store every step of the  way and the picture in my mind became a reality. I've visualized success, then created the reality from the image.

Great athletes, business people, inventors, and achievers from all walks of life seem to know this secret.

Estée Lauder: A Success Story by Estée Lauder. (Founders #217)

(17:00) I am going to have what I deserve.

(19:00) I was watching my grandmother boiling clothes (they had no indoor plumbing) and I was four years old and I remember thinking: My life won’t be like this. My life won’t be like this. It will be better.

(22:00) I thank whatever God there is for my unconquerable soul.

(22:00) And whatever you do, if you do a lot of it, you get good at it. And that is how this broadcasting career started for me. I’ve been an orator for a long time. I’ve been an orator all of my life.

(27:00) I feel that my show is a ministry.

(27:00) I loved books so much as a child. They were my outlet to the world.

(29:00) I had a very strict father. I remember my father saying you can not bring C’s in this house because you are not a C student. You’re an A student. It was just so matter of fact.

(31:00) Paul Graham on how to make yourself a big target for luck:

“When you read biographies of people who've done great work, it's remarkable how much luck is involved.They discover what to work on as a result of a chance meeting, or by reading a book they happen to pick up.So you need to make yourself a big target for luck, and the way to do that is to be curious.Try lots of things, meet lots of people, read lots of books, ask lots of questions.”

How To Do Great Work by Paul Graham. (Founders #314)

(33:00) Her schedule in college was intense: I’d do all my classes from 8am to 1pm. Then I worked at the tv station from 2pm to 10pm. Then I’d study until 1am and then do the routine all over again the next day.

(34:00) I demand only the best for myself.

(35:00) Oprah on the parasocial relationship with her audience: It’s not like other celebrities. I see people react to other people and it’s not like it is to me.

(37:00) Asking for help is a superpower no one uses.

(39:00) The ability to read at an early age saved my life. I knew there was a better way. I knew there was a way out because I had read about it.

(41:00) I sign every check. It is tedious. It gets to be a lot. I have piles of checks. The idea of having money and not being responsible and knowing how much money you have and keeping control of it is not something that I personally can accept. I watch it very carefully.

(42:00) Henry Singleton pays all the bills and signs all the checks, calling it "a form of discipline. Through doing the signing it's amazing how much you learn about the business. There's a reminder of each event or action behind each check. — Distant Force: A Memoir of the Teledyne Corporation and the Man Who Created It by Dr. George Roberts. (Founders #110)

(42:00) How do you learn to be a founder? You do it the same way you do anything else: 14, 15 hour days. I feel most comfortable working.

(43:00) For me, work just meant discovery and fun. If I heard somebody complaining, “Oh, I work so hard, I put in ten- and twelve-hour days,” I would crucify him. “What the fuck are you talking about when the day is twenty-four hours? What else did you do?”  —Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Founders #141)

(43:00) It doesn’t feel like work.

(46:00) Intuition is a very powerful thing. More powerful than intellect in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work. — Steve Jobs

(48:00) I am only a little dress-maker, trying to make women young and pretty. These other designers that do the pretty little sketches, the boys, they don't understand women, they don't know how they live. Their idea is to make them weird, freaks. — Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie. (Founders #199)

(51:00) I live from the inside out.

(54:00) Acquired’s podcast episode on Oprah and Harpo 


Self belief


Do the same thing for 25 years

Stay within your circle of competence

(55:00) Find what feeds your passion. Your real job is to find out why you are really here and then get about the business of doing that.


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