First, his mother taught him about self-control using this adage: “He that conquereth his own soul is greater than he who taketh a city.”
But the most incisive lesson came in 1912, when Eisenhower was an upperclassman at West Point Military Academy and a plebe, or first-year student, accidentally bumped into him. Eisenhower berated the guy, shouting that he looked like nothing more than a low-class barber.
In fact, the plebe had been a barber, and said so. Feeling awful that he’d mocked another man’s work, he told his roommate, “I’ve just done something that was stupid and unforgivable. I managed to make a man ashamed of the work he did for a living.”
The future general and president vowed never again to humiliate another human being.
—Adapted from Eisenhower, John Wukovits, Palgrave Macmillan.