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May 9, 2006   

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'Success is a lousy teacher'

  • "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."
  • "If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure."
  • "Life is not fair; get used to it."
  • "Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they'll give you as many chances as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself."

  • The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.
  • You will not make $40,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.


  • Bill Gates delivers a speech at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, June 28, 2005. He received an honorary science doctorate from the university in recognition of the major contributions he has made to the university.
    Photograph: Unko Kimura/Getty Images

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