• October 2014

Get Ready to Unlock Your Potential

Ah, the power of potential. Who doesn’t want to tap into their innate gifts and bring to life all the characteristics and capabilities that make their contribution to the world unique and important? This is especially true for the small-business owner.

But, how?

  • Confucius said: “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential … these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”
  • Pope St. John XXIII advised: “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”
  • And Winston Churchill believed: “Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Still, harnessing the true potential of yourself, and your business, can be difficult and frustrating. But what happens when you are struggling with disorders that plague millions—such as alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, and post-traumatic stress?

That’s why we are excited to feature best-selling author Tom Shroder and his new book, “Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal.” In it, the former Washington Post Magazine editor reveals the therapeutic powers of psychedelic drugs. When taken in controlled, medical settings, his research shows they may have the power to heal. Scroll down for more.

Throughout this issue, our columnists help you find additional ways to unlock your potential.

  • Brilliant artist Bob Staake is a living illustration of what it means to tap your potential. Case in point: his bestseller, My Pet Book.
  • And two of our retirement experts show us how to wisely plan ahead for the future. Don’t miss suggestions from Estate Planning attorney Lisa Hughes on what to consider when writing your Will. And Certified Financial Planner Michael Egan provides a checklist for 20-somethings in his article on Millennials and Money.

We leave you with this parting thought from Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist featured in “Acid Test,” who was the first person to synthesize, ingest, and learn of the psychedelic effects of LSD: “Instead of all of this energy and effort directed at the war to end drugs, how about a little attention to drugs which end war?”

Here’s to unlocking your potential. — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine

Tom Shroder Takes Us on a Trip With "Acid Test"

COVER STORY:
OCTOBER 2014

LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal

Author Tom Shroder Investigates the Powers of Psychedelic Drugs

By Hope Katz Gibbs, Publisher
Be Inkandescent

When former Washington Post Magazine editor Tom Shroder was a 21-year-old college journalist, he noticed an article about a charismatic hippie with a pet wolf who was building himself a house in the woods. His name was Rick Doblin, then 22.

“He was trying to live authentically, guided by an inner light rather than society’s preconceived ideas; consciously working to discover and create his own destiny rather than trudging along the rutted tracks set before him,” Shroder explains decades later in his new book, Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal.

In the years since, Shroder has written about Doblin numerous times—the former hippie went on to be a leader in the psychedelic healing community. He founded the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and has been at the forefront of the fight for advancing the responsible use of psychedelic therapy for more than 30 years.

LSD? Ecstasy? Really?

Shroder encourages us to open our minds to the fact that lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) can heal. In fact, that was the premise of Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann, who is credited with being the first person to synthesize the drug back in 1938. Five years later, he was the first person to ingest and learn of the psychedelic effects of the compound.

On his 100th birthday, in 2006, Hofmann said in a speech: “It gave me an inner joy, an open mindedness, a gratefulness, open eyes, and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation. […] I think that in human evolution it has never been as necessary to have this substance, LSD. It is just a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be.”

Certainly, LSD and Ecstasy are controversial. Taken without medical supervision, these hallucinogens can be dangerous—even lethal. But Shroder insists there is more to the story.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten says of Shroder’s 2014 tome, “A captivating narrative with irresistible characters [Shroder’s book] will leave you wondering weathering we have the moral right to oppose this breakthrough therapy.”

In “Acid Test,” released in September by Blue Rider Press, Shroder contends that there are most definitely therapeutic powers in psychedelic drugs—especially in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression, among others disorders that plague so many Americans.

“Since the discovery of the profound alterations of consciousness caused by LSD, psychedelics have played a crucial role in the still-nascent quest to understand the link between mind and matter,” Shroder believes. “From the beginning, compounds like LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and MDMA (better known as Ecstasy) have astounded psychiatrists and researchers in their ability to produce profound altered states that can permanently untangle the deep-seated compulsions behind alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, and PTSD.”

However, after two decades in which psychedelics became the most studied psychoactive drugs in history, their widespread abuse prompted a backlash that shut down the research. “Ironically,” Shroder points out, “the prohibitions on research did nothing to curb illegal and ill-advised recreational use, which continued to mount. Meanwhile, the promise of psychedelic therapy remained out of reach of the millions of people who could benefit from it.”

In an effort to shed light on the potential healing powers of LSD, Shroder braids together the stories of three men who form the narrative that he hopes will spur a new age of acceptance.

  • Rick Doblin, Shroder’s old friend, who has been on the forefront of the fight for advancing the responsible use of LSD and other psychedelic therapies.

  • Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a clinical researcher and psychiatrist, who for decades has been conducting clinical trials using MDMA to treat abuse survivors and those suffering from PTSD. Click here to see his YouTube video.

  • Nicholas Blackston, a marine combat veteran who suffered nightmarish hallucinations and panic attacks on his return from the war in Iraq and underwent life-changing treatment under the direction of Dr. Mithoefer.

Don’t stop now! Click here to read our Q&A with Shroder. And click here to listen to our podcast on Inkandescent Radio.

Can LSD and Ecstasy Help Us Harness the Power to Heal?

“If you think LSD is a relic of the 60s, or good for nothing except getting high, you need to read this riveting and important book,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Dave Barry of Tom Shroder’s new book, Acid Test.

“Tom Shroder is a fine journalist and a terrific writer; in ‘Acid Test,’ he’s written a book that should start a long-overdue national conversation, and someday may help to end a lot of unnecessary suffering.”

Indeed, LSD and Ecstasy have the power to heal, believes Shroder, the former Washington Post Magazine editor, who is intrigued by topics that push our boundaries. His other books include “Old Souls,” a study of the intersection between science and mysticism, and “Fire on the Horizon,” the untold stories of the Gulf oil disaster. His most recent editing project was the New York Times best-seller, “Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time,” by Brigid Shulte.

So it was a pleasure to interview Shroder about his provocative book and learn more about how these controversial drugs can change lives, clinical trial by clinical trial. — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine

Be Inkandescent: You tell readers to empty their minds of preconceptions about psychedelic drugs and enjoy the fascinating trip through the politics, science, history, and promise of these controversial chemical compounds. Your research clearly shows that LSD and Ecstasy can be good for you. Can you tell us why and how?

Tom Shroder: For 15 or 20 years, psychedelic drugs such as LSD or mescaline or psilocybin were used in therapeutic situations very successfully. The transcendent sort of mystical experiences that these drugs induced in the people who took them gave them insights and seemed to enable them to see their problems in a light that they hadn’t been able to before. As people went through their therapy session, exactly the material that they needed to confront emerged, and with the help of the therapist, they could deal with it. People in therapy using psychedelic drugs were making progress that would have been expected to take 10 to 15 years in traditional therapy.

Be Inkandescent: And that’s what the book really centers on, the medicinal properties of psychedelic drugs and how they can help people. Tell us about the three people whose lives and experience you feature in the book, and what their experience has been.

Tom Shroder: The book is really a history of how psychedelic research has recently been redeemed. It went from this period where people were frightened of synthesizing psychedelics into a new period now where medical research on the possible healing aspects of psychedelics is yielding very promising results. I realized that these particular three people and their individual stories really tell the history well.

Richard Doblin grew up wanting to save the world. At the age of 14, he took his family’s experience in the Holocaust to heart, deciding he would work to prevent anything like that from happening again. When he began using LSD in college, he wondered if there was something worthwhile in his experiences with it. With that in mind, he discovered the work of Dr. Stanislav Grof, a European LSD researcher who conducted LSD therapy sessions. Richard decided that his mission in life would be to restart LSD research in the United States. He taught himself how to do scientific research and went on to get a PhD in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government so that he could better communicate with authorities and deal with the complex issues involved in getting government research going.

Michael Mithoefer went from enjoying a leisurely lifestyle to wanting to give back. He went to medical school and became an emergency room doctor. In the ER, he dealt with victims of violence who had started out with psychiatric problems. He decided to become a psychiatrist so he could help patients stay out of the ER in the first place. Like Doblin, he learned about Stan Grof, and he became interested in how psychedelically altered states could facilitate healing. Finally, he and Doblin teamed up to try to get psychedelic psychiatric research going in the United States.

A US Marine, Nicholas Blackston came home from serving in combat with severe PTSD. He suffered from hallucinations, sleeplessness and nightmares, and extreme rages. The treatment he received was worse than ineffective, and he was suicidal. His story joined the other threads when he enrolled in a study that Doblin and Mithoefer were conducting on treating PTSD with Ecstasy.

Be Inkandescent: What brought you to this topic?

Tom Shroder: I had had some experience with psychedelic drugs in college, but I never thought of it as merely for entertainment; it seemed way too profound and serious for that. At one point, I used mushrooms when I was completely knotted up with all sorts of anxiety and concerns about the future, and concerns about myself. As the mushrooms started to take effect, I saw a vision that these negative feelings were like gigantic stones that I was holding against my chest. I had this sudden perception that if you are holding a heavy stone to your chest and you can’t bear the weight, all you have to do is open your arms and it will fall away.

I realized that all I had to do was let go of these negative feelings and let them fall away, and I did it! Suddenly all these anxieties and concerns just vanished, and I have continued to use the insight I gained from that one experience for the rest of my life.

Be Inkandescent: Do you think you developed the ability to do that from the drug?

Tom Shroder: I do. I never would have been able to see that on my own for the first time, to really believe that I could let go of those feelings, if I hadn’t experienced whatever that altered state was. As I went on in life, I stopped doing drugs, but the insight I gained has continued to be important in my life.

Be Inkandescent: It sounds like there was some serendipity in how you discovered one of the people whose research on psychedelic drugs you showcase in your book.

Tom Shroder: I’ve noticed that there always seems to be an astonishing sort of coincidence going on around the use of psychedelic drugs. When I was a student journalist at the University of Florida in 1975, I somehow learned about a hippie who was building a fantastic house in the woods out of cedar, stone, and stained glass. His house was gorgeous, and full of stuff that was obviously psychedelically inspired, and I wrote a feature story about him for the college newspaper. Psychedelic drugs were never mentioned in the article, though that was the whole subtext of it.

Years later, I saw a news story about a perpetual college student who was proclaiming that MDMA, which is Ecstasy, was sort of a miracle drug for psychiatric therapy. When I looked at the photo that accompanied the article and I saw the name, I couldn’t believe it. This was the same guy, Rick Doblin, who I had written about when he was a hippie in the woods building a house.

Be Inkandescent: Then, 12 years later, you were the editor of The Washington Post Magazine, and there he was again.

Tom Shroder: That’s right! So glad you read my book! I saw a story in The New York Times about a nonprofit organization that was sponsoring the first psychedelic research at Harvard University since Timothy Leary, and it was Rick Doblin, same guy again. This time I decided I was going to write a story myself for the Post Magazine.

The results of the study I wrote about were unbelievable. Women with PTSD—with life-threatening problems that they hadn’t been able to solve for 10 to 15 years, despite all sorts of failed therapies—were set on the road to healing in sometimes one session, after having blinding flashes of insight.

All their problems didn’t just suddenly disappear, but one person in the study said that they had been feeling that their life was like thrashing through a jungle, lost. While on psychedelic drugs, they were looking at their life from great height, which enabled them to see that there was a path out of the jungle. Afterwards, they felt that they could follow that path until they were completely better.

Be Inkandescent: You write in the book that 80 percent of people in that study would not even be diagnosed with PTSD six months after treatment.

Tom Shroder: Right. They only did this treatment a couple of times, and three years later they were still symptom-free. The results were astonishing, and I decided to write a book on this. But I also knew that they were planning to study combat veterans, so I decided to wait until after the study so that I could talk to the people who went through the study, and when that happened that’s when I got the book contract.

Be Inkandescent: Bearing in mind that there are both pros and cons, who do you think is best served by using these drugs?

Tom Shroder: That’s a complicated question because so far there aren’t tons of clinical studies, if you don’t count the 15-year history of its actual clinical use back in the day. But the standards of research weren’t the same then as they are now, so you can always pick flaws with the 1950s research.

Now the research is done with more rigorous methods, and it’s showing tremendous promise in treating PTSD, which I have mentioned. It is also being used to help people with terminal cancer deal with end-of-life issues and the severe anxiety and depression issues that often come with that. Recently there have been studies suggesting that it might also help people quit smoking, and that it might help people with autism become more adept at relating to other people.

Be Inkandescent: Have there been any studies using LSD on people with good mental health?

Tom Shroder: Yes, in fact there have. And the vast majority of those healthy subjects said that it was the most important experience in their lives. It raises all sorts of challenging questions like: What could the role of LSD be? Could this be a long-term role? We want people to be able to enhance their potential and spiritual growth, which of course is what a lot of people were arguing for back in the 60s.

Be Inkandescent: But there’s another side to the story—of people using these drugs in uncontrolled situations where it ends up being dangerous.

Tom Shroder: Yes, and that’s what makes this such a tricky issue. While taking psychedelic drugs in controlled situations appears to be healing, it is not like taking penicillin. If you have an infection, you take the penicillin and without any conscious participation on your part, the infection gets healed.

With psychedelic drugs, it’s the conscious participation and the experience itself that create the opportunity for healing and for growth. It’s this range of experience that allows people to change their behavior into something that is actually more positive and productive than what they had been doing previously. I think that the value that people saw in the clinical use of psychedelics early on is beginning to be borne out now with the modern use.

Be Inkandescent: So if someone were interested in doing this clinically in a controlled situation, how would they go about doing that?

Tom Shroder: Well there are a handful of various studies that are looking for subjects, and each has certain requirements. At some point in the not-too-distant future, Phase 2 of the studies will begin, and it will include a much broader array of studies with hundreds of people around the country. Phase 3 is where the FDA approves it as a prescription drug if all goes successfully.

At this rate, it’s going to take at least a decade and possibly longer before the Phase 3 trials and before these treatments can be available by prescription. That’s what really frustrates me. It’s not happening faster because of 40-year-old stigmas that got attached to psychedelics in the 60s. It’s a real shame, and I hope that “Acid Test” will show how foolish that is.

Don’t stop yet! To listen to our entire podcast interview with Tom Shroder, click here.

And to learn more about Shroder, “Acid Test,” and his other books, visit tomshroder.com.

Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

– Madam C.J. Walker

If you want to be busy, keep trying to be perfect. If you want to be happy, focus on making a difference.”

– Lisa Earle McLeod

There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

– Christopher Morley

If it really was a no-brainer to make it on your own in business there’d be millions of no-brained, harebrained individuals quitting their day jobs.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

We never know how high we are
 till we are called to rise;
 And then, if we are true to plan,
 Our statures touch the skies.”

– Emily Dickinson

The journey is the reward.”

– Greg Norman

If it isn’t good, let it die. If it doesn’t die, make it good.”

– Ajahn Chah

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it”

– Andrew Carnegie

Ripeness is all.”

– William Shakespeare

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

– Albert Einstein

You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”

– Mae West

I was taught at a very young age that you can do whatever you want to, but you have to make it happen — not just talk about it.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.”

– Corita Kent

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

– John F. Kennedy

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

– Groucho Marx

Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.”

– Edgar W. Howe

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

– Thomas Carlyle

The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

He who knows he has enough is rich.”

– Tao Te Ching

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

– Seneca

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

– William Shakespeare

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

– Andrew Carnegie

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

– Jimi Hendrix

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

– Andrew Carnegie

The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.”

– Marcel Proust

Do you have the desire to create something new; the strength of conviction to believe your creation will be successful, and the reservoir of energy necessary to thrust it into the marketplace?”

– Steven Schussler

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”

– Andrew Carnegie

Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

Many people prefer to play it safe when it comes to business matters. Are you willing to take risks in the pursuit of entrepreneurial success?”

– Steven Schussler

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing.”

– Maya Angelou

I can’t go back to yesterday—because I was a different person then.”

– Lewis Carroll

Don’t follow, lead. Don’t copy, create. Don’t start, finish. Don’t sit still, move. Don’t fit in, stand out. Don’t sit quietly, speak up. (Not all the time, sure, but more often.)”

– Seth Godin

Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading.”

– Anita Roddick, founder, The Body Shop

The awakening to the mystery of life is a revolutionary event; in it an old world is destroyed so that a new and better one may take its place.”

– J.J. Van Der Leeuw, The Conquest of Illusion

Never never never never give up.”

– Winston Churchill

Success is about finding a livelihood that brings joy, self-sufficiency, and a sense of contributing.”

– Anita Roddick

If you do not tell the truth about yourself
you cannot tell it about other people.”

– Virginia Woolf

Things don’t change. You change your way of looking, that’s all.”

– Carlos Castaneda

The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.”

– August Rush

We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”

– General Omar Bradley

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas Edison

You may ask me for anything you like except time.”

– Napoleon

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., U.S. Supreme Court justice

Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

– Woodrow Wilson

A people who mean to be their Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

– James Madison

Why am I whispering when I have something to say?”

– Eve Ensler

I may not be able to change what takes place, but I can always choose to change my thinking.”

– Michelle Sedas

Books

Unlock Your Imagination with Bob Staake's Bestseller: "My Pet Book"

“Most pets, you know, are cats and dogs. Go out and take a look. But there’s a boy in Smartytown, whose pet is … a little book!”

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Estate Planning

Your Will Is the Cornerstone of Your Estate Planning—Here's What Should Be in It

Your Will should be the first document you prepare when doing your estate planning. “It should answer the question: What do I want to happen to my assets after I die?” explains attorney Lisa Hughes.

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Great Spots to Work

You'll Find Style and Grace at DC's Panache

The next time you are in DC in the middle of the day, or just out for lunch in the city’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, step into Panache.

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Hiring

What's the Key to Unlocking Your Potential? Try Mentoring!

Looking for a mentor? Think outside the box, says HR expert Barbara Mitchell. “I love to think of mentoring as a relationship between someone who has more knowledge on a particular subject and someone with less experience—regardless of age.”

Read more...

History

History Matters: How Jim Basker Teaches Appreciation for the Past

As president and CEO of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Jim Basker talks about the ways they promote the study and love of the nation’s history.

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Intuition Rules

Edemir Rossi on the Art and Power of Meditation

To tap into your intuition, it’s helpful to have tools that enable you to go deeper into the practice, knows Edemir Rossi, a Brazilian who for decades has been teaching what he calls “practical spirituality.”

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Live Love Laughing

What Do You Need to Know About the Opposite Sex?

“What we don’t know about the opposite sex can result in a life of misery, or it can be transformed into happiness,” believes author Bernard Bushell.

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Andrew Carnegie

Publisher
Hope Katz Gibbs
Art Director
Michael Glenwood Gibbs
Website developer
Max Kukoy
Managing Editor
Kathleen McCarthy
Associate Editor
Cheryl Moore
Assistant Editor
Samantha Dannick
Editorial Interns
Meet our 2014 team

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Networking

We're Off to the Races on Nov. 1 at Montpelier's Annual Hunt Race

Enjoy a picnic lunch on the beautiful grounds of James Madison’s historic home, Montpelier, and pick a winner at the premier event on the National Steeplechase Association’s circuit.

Read more...

PR Rules

Unlock the Potential of Your PR Campaign with "PR Rules" — Available on amazon.com

Help us sell 100 books in 100 days! Get in on the best-kept secrets about how to maximize your visibility with the 8 Steps to PR Success. From www.PRRulesPlaybook.com.

Read more...

Public Speaking

Unlock the Potential of Your Public Speaking Ability

“Developing the potential in my clients is what I do on a daily basis,” says public speaking coach Hilary Blair. “When I look into someone’s eyes, I don’t just see what is before me. I see all that they can be.”

Read more...

Inkandescent Radio

Kate DiCamillo on the Art of Writing a Best-Seller

Themes of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances are the hallmark of Kate DiCamillo’s wildly popular novels. Listen to our podcast interview with the best-selling author to find out why she’s still surprised that her work is published.

Read more...

Retirement

Michael Egan on Millennials and Money—What They Need to Know

Are you ready to unlock the potential of saving for retirement? Certified Financial Planner™ Michael Egan says you’re never too young to start. “By the time you reach your 20s, it’s time to get serious about planning ahead of your future.”

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Speakers Bureau

Carol Kinsey Goman Helps Us Make the Most of Work

Carol Kinsey Goman who specializes in leadership and nonverbal communication, delivers keynote addresses all over the world. She coaches executives, female leaders, salespeople, and change-agents to build strong and productive business relationships by projecting confidence, credibility, caring, and charisma.

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Wealth

Time Is on Your Side

“When it comes to wealth management, one key to unlocking your potential is to be wise about the amount of time that you are invested in the market,” says Wealth columnist Rita Cheng.

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Andrew Carnegie

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