Katie Couric’s The Best Advice I Ever Got: Excerpt

An excerpt from Katie Couric’s new book gathering advice from famous and extraordinary people. Maya Angelou, Eric Schmidt, Mario Batali and others share their tips.

“I hope you’ll find these words as compelling, fun to read—and, yes, wise—as I have. And, wherever you are in your journey, I hope you’ll feel inspired to share your own.” –Katie Couric

Say Yes: “Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country, say yes to meet new friends, say yes to learn something new. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids.” —Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google

Life Is a Series of Happy Accidents: "Remember that the old lady who's taking forever in line is someone's grandma" —Eric Stonestreet, Emmy Award-winning actor

Make Your Own Path: "My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Annie Henderson, gave me advice that I have used for 65 years. She said, "If the world puts you on a road you do not like, if you look ahead and do not want that destination which is being offered and you look behind and you do not want to return to you place of departure, step off the road. Build yourself a new path.” —Maya Angelou, poet, educator, historian, and bestselling author

Life Is Not a Recipe: "Whatever you choose to do with your life—whether it's running a company or cooking dinner—stand for something you know is true. If there's a recipe for success, it's staying real and true. Which reminds me: Life is not a recipe. Recipes are just descriptions of one person's take on one moment in time. They're not rules. People think they are. They look as if they are. The say, 'Do this, not this. Add this, not that.' But, really, recipes are just suggestions that got written down." —Mario Batali, chef and restaurateur

Never Read Your Own Reviews: “The most interesting artists are those who aren’t too afraid to fail. As the late great Jack Lemmon once said, “Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.” You will never achieve a deeper understanding of your work, or learn the tough lessons, if you are liked or comfortable all of the time.” —Laura Linney, film, television, and theater actress

Ten Ways to Avoid Mucking Up the World Any Worse Than It Already Is: “Four: Sleep in the nude. In an age when people don’t even get dressed to go to the theater, it’s silly getting dressed up to go to bed.” —Russell Baker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist

Life Is a Series of Happy Accidents: "Sometimes you just have to learn to get out of your own way. I know there are a lot of folks out there who are hoping for some words of wisdom or keys to the kingdom or that I might let them in on the Big Secret. So I will defer to Carol Brady, who in her infinite wisdom once said, "Find out what you do best and do your best with it." —Jane Lynch, Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian

Have Faith, Not Fear: "Have faith, not fear." —Wes Moore, entrepreneur, bestselling author, and youth advocate

It's Not About the Forty Seconds: "You can accomplish whatever you set out to do, even when people think it can't be done. As an athlete, that's what taught me most about myself. It was more about the training and the discipline that led up to the race rather than the race itself." —Apolo Ohno, speedskater and eight-time Olympic medalist