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What is in a name? Over the past 30 years we have had the pleasure of watching Oprah. It matters not that we have to know that her last name was Winfrey.

To learn more of the persona of Oprah I just read her book, "What I know for sure." No ghost writers needed, she wrote the memoir all by herself. She was conceived out of wedlock by Vernon Winfrey and Verita Lee in 1953 in rural Mississippi. Her birth was marked by regret, hiding and a sense of regret by her mother

Oprah was sexually abused, from the age 10-14 and finally at 14 becoming pregnant. She gave birth in 1968; the baby subsequently died a few weeks later.

She felt a sense of shame and was truant from school which resulted in her being expelled. Her mother, Verita, was unable to handle her troubled daughter and bought a one way bus ticket for her to live with her father, Vernon.

He was a disciple of the tough-love-philosophy with Oprah who became an "A student" in high school. A sense of perfection and a love of reading were great assets allowing her to attend university.

She espouses the philosophy that: "When you have nothing to be ashamed of, when you know who you are and what you stand for, you stand in wisdom."

The unwanted girl born out of wedlock who was sexually assaulted and became pregnant is now one of the most successful television personalities in the world. Oprah, age 62, is one of the richest (billionaire) self made women in the United States.

She is a wonderful role model giving back to society by creating schools in Africa for young women to attend while believing that being females their children will follow in their foot steps to make a meaningful difference in their society and the world

Oprah lives: "In the space of thankfulness and for that she has been rewarded a million times over. The more thankful she became the more her good fortune increased. When you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love that you are able to give to other people."

The 228 page 13 by 18 cm. little book is a great read for us to learn how someone who came from a poor humble beginning persevered into a great success story for us to emulate.

It is not how you start out but how you finish that counts. Hard work along with a sense of direction and willpower allowed Oprah to go from the gutter to prosperity and influence to make a huge difference in the world

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com