Martin Luther King Jr.
Your favorite answers to this question demonstrate a dedication to excellence -- and to the past. At the top of the list is Martin Luther King Jr., followed by Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. The first living person -- and first woman -- to join the heady ranks was Oprah Winfrey. There were many single vote getters, from the sentimental ("my husband," "my dad," "my English teacher from high school") to the counterintuitive ("Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith," and "Barry Manilow").
It was hard not to enjoy these crabby gems: "Our school board members! They need a little dose of reality now and then," and "A curriculum coordinator. They can pontificate, but they're not made for the trenches." And, finally, this rather polite suggestion: "George Bush, so he can appreciate the many unique individuals who come to school."
As extensive as your list is, we thought it would be nice to add some unlikely sources of wisdom, along with their qualifying utterances:
"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." -- Groucho Marx
"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers." -- James Thurber
"Have no fear of perfection -- you'll never reach it." -- Salvador Dali
"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." -- Jimi Hendrix
"Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." -- H.G. Wells
"There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher." -- Flannery O'Connor
"The truth is more important than the facts." -- Frank Lloyd Wright
"It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help." --Judith Martin, a.k.a. Miss Manners
"Never miss a good chance to shut up." -- Will Rogers
NEXT PAGE OF READERS' SURVEY: What you wish you had learned in high school
2007 Readers' Survey Index