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18 Radically Successful People Who Lived With Their Parents

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Bloomberg Businessweek is taking some heat for an ad campaign mocking lazy millennials who still live with their parents. Parents can send their kids BBW e-cards with messages like, "You were supposed to make us rich, but we'll settle for just not making us poor" and "We can't wait for your terrible 20s to be over." But these debt-ridden graduates can look to history for more hopeful advice. Here are some notable people who launched successful careers, products, and companies while living with mom and dad.

1. Steve Jobs, Apple Computer Co-Founder

Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computer and manufactured the original Apple I computer in his parents’ garage. Jobs was living with his folks in 1975 after a brief stint at Reed College and a trip to India the year prior. Jobs ran his computer business out of that garage for more than a year; in 1977 he moved to a ranch house in Cupertino which he dubbed "Rancho Suburbia" and got a proper office space.

Trivia note: Jobs was adopted. His adoptive father taught him woodworking in that garage, and instilled values of craftsmanship. In the Steve Jobs biography, this passage illustrates Jobs’s pride in the craftsmanship of a well-built fence:

Fifty years later the fence still surrounds the back and side yards of the house in Mountain View. As Jobs showed it off to me, he caressed the stockade panels and recalled a lesson that his father implanted deeply in him. It was important, his father said, to craft the backs of cabinets and fences properly, even though they were hidden. ... In an interview a few years later, after the Macintosh came out, Jobs again reiterated that lesson from his father: "When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You'll know it's there, so you're going to use a beautiful piece of wood in the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through."

2. Alexander Graham Bell

Wikimedia Commons

Yep, the father of the telephone lived with his parents until just before his most famous invention. His mother home-schooled him early on, and his first invention was a wheat dehusking machine, assembled at the age of 12. Around that time, Bell's mother began going deaf, leading him to study early forms of sign language and the principles of acoustics. Bell lived with his parents in various parts of Scotland and England, though he left home several times to study and other times to teach. At age 23, he and his parents moved from London to Canada. Bell finally "moved out" in 1872, at the age of 25, when he headed to Boston to work in a school for the deaf. He promptly fell in love with one of his students, Mabel Hubbard (who was just 15 years old at the time), and proceeded to patent the telephone in 1875, at the age of 28. Two years later, Bell and Hubbard were married, and Bell's wedding present to her was a massive stock grant in the brand new Bell Telephone Company.

3. Rafael Nadal, Tennis Champion

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Rafael “Rafa” Nadal is a Spanish tennis player who has won eleven Grand Slam singles titles and is currently ranked No. 4 in the world. Nadal’s uncle Toni trained Rafa from an early age, and to this day Rafa lives in Manacor, Mallorca with his family. In his autobiography, he wrote, “My family had always been the holy, untouchable core of my life, my center of stability and a living album of my wonderful childhood memories.”

4. Kathy Griffin, Comedian

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Kathy Griffin’s comedic brand relies largely on her jokingly self-declared place on the Hollywood “D-List,” a spot she earned by having a really hard time breaking into the business and getting decent roles. Griffin is the youngest of five kids, and lived with her parents until she was 28. USA Today reported: “After high school, Griffin moved from the Chicago suburbs to Los Angeles with her parents. For the next decade, the three shared a two-bedroom apartment; Griffin worked as a temp and at mostly dead-end jobs while hustling for auditions.” Her first credited speaking role was as a guest star on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the premise of which involved Will Smith living with his aunt and uncle rather than his parents.

5. Orin Seybert, Founder of Peninsula Airways

Alaskan readers will recognize PenAir as Alaska’s largest regional air carrier, including charter service in Alaska, Canada, and the Lower 48. But its founder, Orin Seybert, learned to fly in high school while living with his grandparents. He earned his commercial pilot’s license at 18 and started the airline at 19 while living with his parents. Today a dozen family members work for PenAir, including several of Seybert’s grandchildren. When asked about his inspiration for becoming a pilot, Seybert said, "Part of my reasoning for having my own airplane was that in my village there were no girls my age. I knew I needed to get out and see who else was out there, so I went all over the central Peninsula and discovered all kinds of great adventures."

6. Grigori Perelman, Mathematician

Wikimedia Commons / George M. Bergman

Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman is a Russian mathematician best known for solving the Poincaré Conjecture in 2003 (the problem had remained unsolved for 99 years before Perelman came along). Perelman was awarded the Fields Medal for his work, but he declined the award (including the million dollars it came with) and refused to appear in public. From the door of the St. Petersburg apartment he shares with his mother Lubov (also a mathematician), Perelman told a reporter, “I don’t want to be on display like an animal in a zoo.” By all accounts, he’s still crashing with his mom at age 46.

7. Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia Founder

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In 1953, Yvon Chouinard became a climber at the age of 14. He was a member of the Southern California Falconry Club, which involved climbing up and rappelling down cliff faces to reach falcon aeries. At the time, the typical practice was to place soft iron pitons (spikes) into the cliff face and then leave them there  but Chouinard had a better idea. By the age of 18, he had bought a coal-fired forge and an anvil, and taught himself the art of blacksmithing. He set up shop in his parents’ Burbank backyard, making reusable chrome-molybdenum pitons, which he sold for $1.50 each. As the years wore on (and he moved the operation out of his parents’ place), Chouinard expanded into more gear and clothing for climbers, and thus Patagonia was born.

8, 9, 10. The Brontë Sisters, Authors

Wikimedia Commons / Painting By Branwell Brontë

Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë were successful women writers in an era when writing literature was perceived as an unseemly pursuit for ladies  but one that was loosely encouraged by their father Patrick, who was an Anglican priest and an author himself. Of the six children born in the family, two girls died in childhood, the remaining three went on to literary success, and the sole boy, Patrick Branwell, went on to become a painter and writer. The three sisters initially published work under the male pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. After Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre became popular (written by “Currer Bell”), she revealed her true identity; Emily went on to write Wuthering Heights and Anne wrote Agnes Grey, among other works. All of the Brontë children died tragically young: Anne died at age 29, Emily at 30, Patrick at 31, and Charlotte at 38.

11. Michael Kittredge, Yankee Candle Company Founder

Michael Kittredge was just 17 years old when he started making candles in his parents’ garage. His first candle was a Christmas present for his mother, and he made it by melting down his old crayons. When a neighbor offered to buy that candle, Kittredge spotted a business opportunity and began making more candles, founding the Yankee Candle Company just before Christmas, 1969. By 1972 he moved the operation into a former paper mill in Holyoke, Massachusetts  and the rest is scented candle history.

12. Jennifer Lawrence, Academy Award Winning Actress

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Jennifer Lawrence hails from Louisville, Kentucky. At age 14, Lawrence convinced her parents to bring her to New York to audition for acting roles. The reaction from talent agents was positive, but Lawrence’s mother offered this deal: Jennifer could get into acting only after she graduated from high school. So Lawrence blasted through high school, graduating two years early with a 3.9 GPA.

Lawrence went on to act in commercials, TV shows, and eventually films including Winter’s Bone, The Hunger Games, and Silver Linings Playbook (that last one garnered her an Oscar). Lawrence’s family moved with her to Los Angeles in 2007, though her official website still lists a Louisville PO Box for fan mail.

13. Miles Davis, Jazz Trumpeter

Wikimedia Commons / Photo By Tom Palumbo

Miles Davis owes a lot to his father, Miles Henry Davis. The elder Davis gave his son a trumpet when Davis was just 13, and arranged for lessons with a local musician. The choice of the trumpet was against his wife’s wishes  Davis’s mother was a blues pianist and wanted her son to study the piano. But Davis took to his trumpet quickly, becoming a professional performer at the age of 16. When Davis was just 18, he played with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker for several weeks while the Billy Eckstine band was performing in the area. Davis went to Juilliard briefly, but (with his father’s permission) dropped out and played professionally instead. During Davis’s “Blue Period” in 1954, he returned to his father’s house in St. Louis and locked himself in his room in order to kick his heroin habit. Now that’s a supportive dad. The next year Davis formed his “first great quintet” featuring John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones.

14. Lou Gehrig, Baseball Legend

Wikimedia Commons / University Archives — Columbiana Library

Lou Gehrig is perhaps best known today for his career-ending “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” technically called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS (the same disease now afflicts Stephen Hawking, among others). But in the 15 seasons between 1925 and 1939, Gehrig played in 2130 consecutive baseball games  a record that stood until Cal Ripken, Jr. broke it in 1995. But aside from his baseball career, Gehrig lived at home with his mother until the age of 30. He only moved out after marrying Eleanor Twitchell in 1933, just eight years before his death. (The New York Times has a whole story about Gehrig's mom and how she kept vetoing his prospective romantic partners....)

15. Reggie Aggarwal, CEO of Cvent

Reggie Aggarwal founded Cvent in 1999 to help schedule events. But in 2000, the dot-com bubble burst, leaving him in a desperate financial position. To avoid bankruptcy, at age 33, Aggarwal swallowed his pride and moved in with his parents, drew no salary for two years, and saved the business. In 2011, Cvent received $136 million in venture capital. Although he moved out of his parents’ house after the business turned around, Aggarwal lives in a modest two-bedroom condo with his wife and child. “We still remember the bad times, and we're always going to think like a startup, which is don't get arrogant, treasure your customers, treasure your employees, and be frugal,” he told Business Insider.

16. Justin Halpern, Author of Sh*t My Dad Says

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At age 28, Justin Halpern was dumped by his girlfriend and moved in with his dad, who was then 73. Halpern had long noted his father’s colorful way with words, but the close quarters provided even more material, leading Halpern to start the “Sh*t My Dad Says” Twitter account. That Twitter account led to a book and even a TV show starring William Shatner. A sample Dad-ism:

"The worst thing you can be is a liar. ...Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is liar. Nazi one, liar two."

Halpern’s Amazon biography says he now “Splits his time between Los Angeles and his parents’ home in San Diego.” His Twitter account is still going strong, with over 3 million followers.

17. Andrew Gower, Creator of RuneScape

British game developer Andrew Gower made his biggest hit, RuneScape, in his childhood bedroom at his parents’ house in Nottingham. Gower was an undergraduate student at Cambridge, still living at home, when he created the massively successful MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). He later sold his stake in RuneScape and in 2009 his wealth was estimated at £99 million; he turned 31 that year.

18. Mangesh Hattikudur, mental_floss Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Mangesh Hattikudur lived with his parents while establishing mental_floss. He wrote, “After working two part-time jobs (waiting tables and working as a video store clerk) then coming home at 10 or 11 to work on mental_floss, I needed to focus more on the floss. In 2001 and 2002, people weren't that eager to invest in a magazine from two college grads who had no idea what they were doing. Being able to crash with my parents helped. If they hadn't taken me in (again) I'd have become a mediocre lawyer instead of a mediocre editor!” Things worked out OK for Mangesh. And without his generous parents, you wouldn’t be reading this article right now.

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11 Ridiculously Overdue Library Books (That Were Finally Returned)
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Last week, Massachusetts's Attleboro Public Library received a big surprise when one of its regular patrons returned a copy of T.S. Arthur's The Young Lady at Home ... more than 78 years after it had been checked out. 

The man, whose name was not revealed, was reportedly helping a friend clean out his basement when he came across the tome. He recognized the library's stamp, then noticed its original due date: November 21, 1938. “We were amazed,” said Amy Rhilinger, the library’s assistant director. “I’ve worked here for 15 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Because the library charges $.10 per day for overdue books, the total bill for this dusty read would come to about $2800—but the library isn't planning to cash in. “We’re not the library police," Rhilinger said. "We’re not tracking everyone’s things. Everyone returns things a few [days] late, and it’s one thing we joke about here.”

Though it's rare, the decades-overdue book's return is not unprecedented. Here are 11 more tardy returns.

1. The Versatile Grain and the Elegant Bean: A Celebration of the World’s Most Healthful Foods by Sheryl and Mel London

LOANED FROM: The Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Kansas
YEARS OVERDUE: 21

In 2014, someone anonymously returned this fitness-friendly cookbook, which had been missing since September 24, 1992. The volume, published that April, contains over 300 recipes—and it’s probably safe to assume that the culprit had plenty of time to try out every single one of them.

2. The Real Book About Snakes by Jane Sherman

LOANED FROM: The Champaign County Library in Urbana, Ohio 
YEARS OVERDUE: 41

Like the previous entry, whoever turned in this musty old field guide declined to reveal his name. But lest anyone question the man’s honesty, he also left the following note: “Sorry I’ve kept this book so long, but I’m a really slow reader! I’ve enclosed my fine of $299.30 (41 years, 2 cents a day). Once again, my apologies!”

3. Days and Deeds: A Book of Verse for Children’s Reading and Speaking compiled by Burton and Elizabeth Stevenson

LOANED FROM: The Kewanee Public Library in Kewanee, Illinois
YEARS OVERDUE: 47

According to Guinness World Records, the $345.14 fee paid by the borrower of this lyrical compilation stands as the highest library fine ever paid.

4. The Fire of Francis Xavier by Arthur R. McGratty

LOANED FROM: The New York Public Library, Fort Washington Branch, in New York, New York
YEARS OVERDUE: 55

In 2013, this one was discreetly mailed in and the perpetrator was never brought to justice (be on guard, Big Apple bibliophiles).

5. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

LOANED FROM: The Rugby Library in Warwick, England 
YEARS OVERDUE: 63

The item found its way home during an eight-day “fines amnesty period,” which shielded the guilty patron from a £4000 penalty. “It’s amazing to think how much the library has changed since that book was taken out in 1950,” said librarian Joanna Girdle. 

6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

LOANED FROM: The Chicago Public Library in Chicago, Illinois 
YEARS OVERDUE: 78

Harlean Hoffman Vision found a rare edition of this novel nestled amongst her late mother’s personal effects and vowed to set things right. “She kept saying, ‘You’re not going to arrest me?’” recalled marketing director Ruth Lednicer, “and we said, ‘No, we’re so happy you brought it back.’”

7. Master of Men by E. Phillips Oppenheim

Amazon, Public Domain

LOANED FROM: The Leicester County Library in Leicester, England
YEARS OVERDUE: 79

Oppenheim was born in the surrounding region and, hence, the Leicestershire County Council was thrilled to reclaim this piece of their literary heritage after it turned up in a nearby house—even though the library branch it originally belonged to had shut down decades earlier.

8. Facts I Ought to Know About the Government of My Country by William H. Bartlett

Amazon, Public Domain

LOANED FROM: The New Bedford Public Library in New Bedford, Massachusetts
YEARS OVERDUE: 99

Stanley Dudek of Mansfield, Massachusetts claims that his mother—a Polish immigrant—decided to brush up on American politics by borrowing this volume from the New Bedford Library in 1910. “For a person who was just becoming a citizen, it was the perfect book for her,” says Dudek.

9. Insectivorous Plants by Charles Darwin

LOANED FROM: The Camden School of Arts Lending Library in Sydney, Australia
YEARS OVERDUE: 122

An Australian copy of Darwin’s treatise on bug-eating flora was borrowed in 1889. After two World Wars, Neil Armstrong’s moon landing, and the birth of the internet, it was finally returned on July 22, 2011.

10. The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians, and Grecians (volume II) by Charles Rollin

LOANED FROM: The Grace Doherty Library in Danville, Kentucky
YEARS OVERDUE: 150 (approximately)

In 2013, this tome was discovered at a neighboring school for the deaf, where it had presumably been stored since 1854 (as evidenced by a note written inside dating to that year). The library owns no records from this period, so exactly how long it was gone is anybody’s guess, but, said librarian Stan Campbell, “It’s been out of the library for at least 150 years."

11. The Law of Nations by Emmerich de Vattel

LOANED FROM: The New York Society Library in New York City
YEARS OVERDUE: 221

Five months into his first presidential term, George Washington borrowed this legal manifesto from the historic New York Society Library. For the next 221 years, it remained stowed away at his Virginia home, and organization officials wondered if they’d ever see it again. “We’re not actively pursuing overdue fines,” joked head librarian Mark Bartlett. “But we would be very happy to see the book returned.” His wish was granted when Mount Vernon staff finally sent it back in 2010 (luckily, they dodged a whopping $300,000 late fee).

An earlier version of this post appeared in 2014.

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11 Popular Quotes Commonly Misattributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald
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F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a lot of famous lines, from musings on failure in Tender is the Night to “so we beat on, boats against the current” from The Great Gatsby. Yet even with a seemingly never-ending well of words and beautiful quotations, many popular idioms and phrases are wrongly attributed to the famous Jazz Age author, who was born on this day in 1896. Here are 11 popular phrases that are often misattributed to Fitzgerald. (You may need to update your Pinterest boards.)

1. “WRITE DRUNK, EDIT SOBER.”

This quote is often attributed to either Fitzgerald or his contemporary, Ernest Hemingway, who died in 1961. There is no evidence in the collected works of either writer to support that attribution; the idea was first associated with Fitzgerald in a 1996 Associated Press story, and later in Stephen Fry’s memoir More Fool Me. In actuality, humorist Peter De Vries coined an early version of the phrase in a 1964 novel titled Reuben, Reuben.

2. “FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE OR, IN MY CASE, TOO EARLY TO BE WHOEVER YOU WANT TO BE.”

It’s easy to see where the mistake could be made regarding this quote: Fitzgerald wrote the short story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 1922 for Collier's Magazine, and it was adapted into a movie of the same name, directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, in 2008. Eric Roth wrote the screenplay, in which that quotation appears.

3. “OUR LIVES ARE DEFINED BY OPPORTUNITIES, EVEN THE ONES WE MISS.”

This is a similar case to the previous quotation; this quote is attributed to Benjamin Button’s character in the film adaptation. It’s found in the script, but not in the original short story.

4. “YOU’LL UNDERSTAND WHY STORMS ARE NAMED AFTER PEOPLE.”

There is no evidence that Fitzgerald penned this line in any of his known works. In this Pinterest pin, it is attributed to his novel The Beautiful and Damned. However, nothing like that appears in the book; additionally, according to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Association, although there were a few storms named after saints, and an Australian meteorologist was giving storms names in the 19th century, the practice didn’t become widespread until after 1941. Fitzgerald died in 1940.

5. “A SENTIMENTAL PERSON THINKS THINGS WILL LAST. A ROMANTIC PERSON HAS A DESPERATE CONFIDENCE THAT THEY WON’T.”

This exact quote does not appear in Fitzgerald’s work—though a version of it does, in his 1920 novel This Side of Paradise:

“No, I’m romantic—a sentimental person thinks things will last—a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t. Sentiment is emotional.” The incorrect version is widely circulated and requoted.

6. “IT’S A FUNNY THING ABOUT COMING HOME. NOTHING CHANGES. EVERYTHING LOOKS THE SAME, FEELS THE SAME, EVEN SMELLS THE SAME. YOU REALIZE WHAT’S CHANGED IS YOU.”

This quote also appears in the 2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button script, but not in the original short story.

7. “GREAT BOOKS WRITE THEMSELVES; ONLY BAD BOOKS HAVE TO BE WRITTEN.”

There is no evidence of this quote in any of Fitzgerald’s writings; it mostly seems to circulate on websites like qotd.org, quotefancy.com and azquotes.com with no clarification as to where it originated.

8. “SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL, BUT NOT LIKE THOSE GIRLS IN THE MAGAZINES. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR THE WAY SHE THOUGHT. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR THE SPARKLE IN HER EYES WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT SOMETHING SHE LOVED. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR HER ABILITY TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE SMILE, EVEN IF SHE WAS SAD. NO, SHE WASN’T BEAUTIFUL FOR SOMETHING AS TEMPORARY AS HER LOOKS. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL, DEEP DOWN TO HER SOUL.”

This quote may have originated in a memoir/advice book published in 2011 by Natalie Newman titled Butterflies and Bullshit, where it appears in its entirety. It was attributed to Fitzgerald in a January 2015 Thought Catalog article, and was quoted as written by an unknown source in Hello, Beauty Full: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You by Elisa Morgan, published in September 2015. However, there’s no evidence that Fitzgerald said or wrote anything like it.

9. “AND IN THE END, WE WERE ALL JUST HUMANS, DRUNK ON THE IDEA THAT LOVE, ONLY LOVE, COULD HEAL OUR BROKENNESS.”

Christopher Poindexter, the successful Instagram poet, wrote this as part of a cycle of poems called “the blooming of madness” in 2013. After a Twitter account called @SirJayGatsby tweeted the phrase with no attribution, it went viral as being attributed to Fitzgerald. Poindexter has addressed its origin on several occasions.

10. “YOU NEED CHAOS IN YOUR SOUL TO GIVE BIRTH TO A DANCING STAR.”

This poetic phrase is actually derived from the work of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who died in 1900, just four years after Fitzgerald was born in 1896. In his book Thus Spake ZarathustraNietzsche wrote the phrase, “One must have chaos within to enable one to give birth to a dancing star.” Over time, it’s been truncated and modernized into the currently popular version, which was included in the 2009 book You Majored in What?: Designing Your Path from College to Career by Katharine Brooks.

11. “FOR THE GIRLS WITH MESSY HAIR AND THIRSTY HEARTS.”

This quote is the dedication in Jodi Lynn Anderson’s book Tiger Lily, a reimagining of the classic story of Peter Pan. While it is often attributed to Anderson, many Tumblr pages and online posts cite Fitzgerald as its author.

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