Geoffrey Canada Quotes

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Elon Musk (of Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity), Jeff Bezos (of Amazon), and Reed Hastings (of Netflix) are other great shapers from the business world. In philanthropy, Muhammad Yunus (of Grameen), Geoffrey Canada (of Harlem Children’s Zone), and Wendy Kopp (of Teach for America) come to mind; and in government, Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lee Kuan Yew, and Deng Xiaoping. Bill Gates has been a shaper in both business and philanthropy, as was Andrew Carnegie. Mike Bloomberg has been a shaper in business, philanthropy, and government. Einstein, Freud, Darwin, and Newton were giant shapers in the sciences. Christ, Muhammad, and the Buddha were religious shapers. They all had original visions and successfully built them out.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Then I spoke with proven shapers I knew—Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Reed Hastings, Muhammad Yunus, Geoffrey Canada, Jack Dorsey (of Twitter), David Kelley (of IDEO), and more. They had all visualized remarkable concepts and built organizations to actualize them, and done that repeatedly and over long periods of time. I asked them to take an hour’s worth of personality assessments to discover their values, abilities, and approaches. While not perfect, these assessments have been invaluable. (In fact, I have been adapting and refining them to help us in our recruiting and management.) The answers these shapers provided to the standardized questions gave me objective and statistically measurable evidence about their similarities and differences. It turns out they have a lot in common. They are all independent thinkers who do not let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving their audacious goals. They have very strong mental maps of how things should be done, and at the same time a willingness to test those mental maps in the world of reality and change the ways they do things to make them work better. They are extremely resilient, because their need to achieve what they envision is stronger than the pain they experience as they struggle to achieve it. Perhaps most interesting, they have a wider range of vision than most people, either because they have that vision themselves or because they know how to get it from others who can see what they can’t. All are able to see both big pictures and granular details (and levels in between) and synthesize the perspectives they gain at those different levels, whereas most people see just one or the other. They are simultaneously creative, systematic, and practical. They are assertive and open-minded at the same time. Above all, they are passionate about what they are doing, intolerant of people who work for them who aren’t excellent at what they do, and want to have a big, beneficial impact on the world.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
One problem with most current governments is that they prioritize economic growth (as mismeasured by GDP per capita) over citizens’ happiness, quality of life, efficiency of trait display, and breadth and depth of social networks. The latter outcomes are not actually any harder to measure than GDP per capita. For example, the UN Human Development Index (HDI) measures overall quality of life fairly well by taking into account life expectancy, literacy, and educational attainment; this index puts Iceland, Norway, Australia, and Canada at the top, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the bottom.
Geoffrey Miller (Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior)
Of course poor people have deficits, researchers could now reply. That’s what poverty is: a lack of resources, both internal and external. But those deficits, whether they were in income or knowledge or even more esoteric qualities like self-control or perseverance or an optimistic outlook, were not moral failings. The appropriate response was not to deny them or excuse them, nor was it to criticize them and cluck about them and wag a finger at them. It was to solve them.
Paul Tough (Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America)
Economists use the term “human capital” to refer to the skills and abilities and qualities and resources that each individual possesses. And in the late 1990s and early 2000s, human capital became an increasingly popular way to look at the problem of poverty. No one had all the answers yet, but they had, at least, a new set of questions: What specific resources did middle-class children have that allowed them to succeed at such higher rates than poor children? What skills did poor children need to help them compete? And most important, what kind of interventions in their lives or in their parents’ lives could help them acquire those skills?
Paul Tough (Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America)
Nothing is ever good enough, and they experience the gap between what is and what could be as both a tragedy and a source of unending motivation. No one can stand in the way of their achieving what they’re going after. On one of the personality assessments there is a category they all ranked low on called “Concern for Others.” But that doesn’t mean quite what it sounds like. Consider Muhammad Yunus, for example. A great philanthropist, he has devoted his life to helping others. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering the ideas of microcredit and microfinance and has won the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Gandhi Peace Prize, and more. Yet he tested low on “Concern for Others.” Geoffrey Canada, who has devoted most of his adult life to taking care of all the disadvantaged children in a hundred-square-block area of New York’s Harlem, also tested low on “Concern for Others.” Bill Gates, who is devoting most of his wealth and energy to saving and improving lives, tested low as well. Obviously Yunus, Canada, and Gates care deeply about other people, yet the personality tests they took rated them low. Why was that? In speaking with them and reviewing the questions that led to these ratings, it became clear: When faced with a choice between achieving their goal or pleasing (or not disappointing) others, they would choose achieving their goal every time.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Every child learned the skills and attitudes that are valued by their own class culture. But outside of the family unit, all skills were not considered to be equal. Modern American culture, Lareau wrote, valued the qualities that middle-class children were developing over the ones that poor and working-class children were developing. “Central institutions in the society, such as schools,” Lareau wrote, “firmly and decisively promote strategies of concerted cultivation in child rearing. For working-class and poor families, the cultural logic of child rearing at home is out of synch with the standards of institutions.” In one poor household Lareau studied, for example, family members didn’t look each other in the eye when they spoke—an appropriate response in a culture where eye contact can be interpreted as a threat, but ill-suited to a job interview where a firm handshake and a steady gaze are considered assets, and a failure to make eye contact can make a candidate seem shifty.
Paul Tough (Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America)
For eighteen hours we had neither drunk nor eaten anything. My body and mind both felt strangely distant. Both were aching for some relief. In the porch of our tiny single-skinned tent, I reached out to hug Neil again. Then--unceremoniously--I collapsed. “Bear, come on, buddy. You’ve got to get inside the tent properly. Bear, can you hear me?” Michael’s voice brought me round. He had been waiting for us at the col--hoping. I shuffled backward into the tent. My head was pounding. I needed to drink. I hadn’t peed for more than twenty-four hours. Neil and Alan were slowly shedding their harnesses. Neither had the energy to speak. Michael passed me a warm drink from the stove. I was so happy to see him and Geoffrey in one piece. As the afternoon turned to evening we talked. I hadn’t really known fully why Michael and Geoffrey had retreated. They told their story. Of the impending storm and their growing fatigue, as they struggled in the deep snow and thin air. Their retreat had been a decision based on sound mountain judgment. A good call. Hence they were alive. We, though, had kept going. That decision had been based on an element of recklessness. But we got lucky, and that storm never came. Daring had won out--this time. It doesn’t always. Knowing when to be reckless and when to be safe is the great mountaineering game. I knew that. Michael turned to me later as we were getting ready for our last night in the Death Zone. He told me something that I have never forgotten. It was the voice of twenty years’ climbing experience in the wild Rockies of Canada. “Bear, do you realize the risk you guys were taking up there? It was more recklessness than good judgment, in my opinion.” He smiled and looked right at me. “My advice: from now on in your life, rein it back a fraction--and you will go far. You’ve survived this time--now go use that good fortune.” I have never forgotten those words.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
While reaching up for manhood they tumble over a moral and ethical precipice and many can never scale their way back up.
Geoffrey Canada (Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America)
a 1997 Boston Globe article notes that “several new studies highlight the problems boys have in reading and writing, showing that they are far worse than the well-advertised problems for girls in math and science
Geoffrey Canada (Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America)
NAZ was founded in 2008 in Minneapolis, and is modeled on Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone. It uses a holistic web of family coaches and tutors, combined with academic and wraparound support, for 1,100 families, to keep 2,300 children in an education pipeline from early childhood to college.
Thomas L. Friedman (Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations)
During that century the two countries nearly went to war again at least three more times. As prime minister in the 1840s, Sir Robert Peel was acutely conscious of the American threat to Canada, and warned Parliament of possible war. This was the age of ‘manifest destiny’, which for many Americans meant their country’s destiny to rule the whole of North America, including Canada. At the 1844 presidential election James Polk and the Democrats campaigned on a bellicose platform, demanding the territory which would become the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Pacific coast from Oregon north to the 54th parallel and the border with Russian America, now Alaska: hence the unwieldy slogan ‘Fifty-four forty or fight!’ When Polk was elected, he backed off and found an easier target to the south, embarking on the Mexican–American War of 1846.
Geoffrey Wheatcroft (Churchill's Shadow: The Life and Afterlife of Winston Churchill)
So now we had a new subcampaign to obsess over: Operation Keep Obama Neutral.* We drew a map of every connection we had to Obama, and then armed each of them with the same message: “Mike stayed out of your race, he’s your best conduit to Wall Street and best pro-business validator for many of your policies, so stay out of his.” Every day, I’d check the map, see where we had openings, where each person on our list had last talked to the targets on their list, and push, push, and push some more. For example: Geoffrey Canada, the founder of Harlem Children’s Zone—one of the first great charter schools in America—knew Valerie Jarrett. She trusted his opinion and Geoff and Mike were close. Geoff worked Valerie for us.
Bradley Tusk (The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics)
I was too young when I had her. Now I have a three-year-old daughter, and I know how I want to raise her: I want her to turn out the opposite of her seventeen-year-old sister.
Paul Tough (Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America)
For her teenage daughter, though, those years didn’t go so well. She had always told Stry, “I’m not going to turn out like you,” and then that’s exactly how she did turn out: pregnant at sixteen, a mother at seventeen, living with her own baby boy in a group home for teenage mothers, just like the one she had lived in as a baby girl sixteen years earlier.
Paul Tough (Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America)
Americans have been slaughtering one another in record numbers, in what can only be called America’s secret war against itself.
Geoffrey Canada (Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence)
So I went to Canada,” he recalled. “I remember that last beautiful drive, from Seattle to Vancouver, all the towering Douglas firs along the road. It was January 4, 1970. After we crossed the border, it was a breeze, they just sort of waved us through and I remember just looking in the rearview mirror, thinking, ‘Man, there goes my country. I’ll never see it again.’ I get called a coward all the time. It took me a long time not to feel that what I had done was cowardly, because I still had that ingrained military feeling inside. Now I think that was the bravest thing I ever did.
Geoffrey C. Ward (The Vietnam War: An Intimate History)