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Truman’s favorite words to live by

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Harry Truman didn’t go to college but educated himself through reading widely, from Plutarch and Shakespeare to Dickens and the Koran. (He received an honorary degree from Oxford as “Harricum” Truman, where students shouted, “Give ’em hell, Harricum!”)

His favorite author was Mark Twain.

Never as bold during his frail childhood as Twain’s adventurous characters, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, Truman felt he’d been “kind of a sissy growing up.”

As president, though, Truman did keep a framed copy of his most prized Twain quotation on his desk in the Oval Office: “Always do right! This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

--Adapted from Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure, Matthew Algeo, Chicago Review Press.

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