Inspiring People


What Defines Winners and Losers?

In the last week there were two big sports stories that invite us to think about what defines winners and losers. The Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots were accused of deflating footballs in their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game. Especially in the cold and rain, underinflated balls (did I really just write that?) are easier to handle. Though Patriots coach Bill Belichick and star quarterback Tom Brady denied any knowledge of underinflated footballs, or of breaking any rules, football players past and present believe it was......

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Where Is Dr. King's Dream?

Today we remember Martin Luther King Jr., last century’s premier exemplar of morality in public life. There will be ceremonies, speeches, television specials, editorials – and there will be very serious protests and demonstrations: Millions of Americans are outraged by the shooting deaths of young Blacks, by racial economic inequality, by a return to segregation in our education system, by the disproportionate incarceration of Blacks… And millions of White Americans not only have no understanding of what Blacks are experiencing, but themselves feel alienation, dislocation and rage. We live in a strange......

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On Wisdom - Irwin Kula with Brad Hirschfield

We recently announced a new video series – On Wisdom – at The Wisdom Daily. On Wisdom will feature interviews with noted innovators in business, the arts, medicine, religion, academia and more. In addition to hosting these inspiring individuals to talk about wisdom with co-founders Brad Hirschfield and Irwin Kula, the two sat down to discuss what wisdom means to them, and how they use it in their daily lives. In the second part of their Q&A together (the first part can be viewed here), Brad interviews Irwin about why he wanted......

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A 'Wild' Idea: The Past Need Not Imprison You

The movie Wild is perfect to see during this last week of the year, when millions of us will make resolutions to change our life (that the vast majority of us will not keep for more than a few weeks). This film, starring a remarkable Reese Witherspoon, is a meditation on what to do when we get stuck in life, when the circumstances of our life control our destiny, when we are weighed down by our past. Based on Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 best-selling memoir Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found, the......

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The One and Only Joe Cocker

I was blessed to grow up with some of the greatest rock’n’roll ever recorded. Recently, one of the most original and emotionally powerful singers of the genre, raspy-voiced Joe Cocker, died of lung cancer at age 70.? To the many tributes already written, I can only add what this mad dog of an Englishman meant to me. Joe Cocker became famous for songs he didn’t write. In a culture that obsessively worships novelty, Cocker’s originality was improving others’ songs by adding a profound new resonance. What courage it took in 1969 to......

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Triumph of an Unbreakable Spirit

I found myself celebrating Easter this Christmas, and I was quite moved by the experience. No, my calendar was not off; I’m not even Christian. So what was going on? I went to the December 25 opening of the new film Unbroken. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the feature film was my first exposure to the true story of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner, American soldier and World War II POW. Indeed, I’m one of the few people who never read Lauren Hillenbrand’s bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience,......

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Misty Copeland Dances to Stardom

Do you know who Misty Copeland is? In case you don’t follow ballet: Copeland is the only African-American soloist with the legendary American Ballet Theatre (ABT). She currently has the lead in ABT’s The Nutcracker at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Let me put in perspective how rare an accomplishment this is. When Copeland joined the ABT 14 years ago, at age 18, she was the only African-American female in a company of 80 dancers. It remained this way for eleven years. In 2007, she became the first Black female soloist in......

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Who Should Be Person of the Year?

The 2014 Person of the Year according to Time magazine is “the Ebola fighters.” Do you agree? It’s hard to argue with recognizing the men and women who have fought, and continue to battle, this terrible disease for which there’s no established cure. These people genuinely put their lives on the line. They run into the burning building, so to speak, as most others are running out. And if that isn’t worthy of recognition, what is? And yes, that praise also extends to firefighters, cops and all first responders who do the......

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Human Rights For Real

We are all for freedom and for human rights in general. But we also know that our commitment to insure that people live in free societies with human rights is often compromised, consciously and unconsciously, by both our individual and national self-interests. We buy and enjoy consumer goods that we know are produced in places (China) where dissidents like Noble Peace Prize Laureat Liu Xiaobo are imprisoned, we have alliances with and approve of massive arm sales to places (Saudi Arabia) where repression of the most basic human rights is the law,......

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A Meeting of Cultures: Lessons from a Jazz Great - Week in Wisdom

Have you ever left a concert not only feeling joyful and connected to everyone but also knowing you just experienced something that transcended the music itself – that revealed wisdom about life? On Saturday evening I had the privilege of hearing one of the greatest salsa singers in the world – the Panamanian superstar Ruben Blades – together with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis. This unprecedented collaboration had Blades singing his own distinctive salsa hits from the 70’s and 80’s alongside and mixed with American jazz standards. The......

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