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Remarks by Jamie Dimon at SU and SUNY ESF Commencement

There's some very thoughtful people out there, and reading their views and analysis will help educate you. If you think you are socialist, read Milton Friedman, the famous capitalist. If you think you are capitalist, read Karl Marx. If you think you're Republican, listen to the Democrats, and vice versa. Look for the kernels of truth in what they have to say. Don't reject it all out of hand, and be willing to change your mind. Do not fall into the trap of being rigid and simplistic. It's okay for us at times to blame and be dissatisfied with others and hold them responsible, but it's not okay to oversimplify and paint everyone with the same brush. It should not be acceptable to denigrate entire groups, not all companies, not all CEOs, not all politicians, not all media, not all students. Among these groups there are some terrific people, and among these groups there are some terrible people. To categorically and indiscriminately judge them as all equal is simply another form of prejudice and ignorance, and it's not fair, it's not just, it's just plain wrong.

One must be honest with one's self to be accountable. Shakespeare said it best: "To thine own self be true."

There's already a book being written on each and every one of you, and people ask you it every single day. If I want to know all about you, all I would need to do is talk to your teachers, your friends, your colleagues, your fellow students and your parents. I would know if you were trustworthy, hardworking, empathetic, ethical, and if you deliver on your commitments, or if you were lazy and always let people down. It's up to you to determine how you want that book to be written. It's a choice. Don't let others write it for you. So be the person you want to be, set your own high standards of integrity and performance.

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