The American talk show host, business woman and philanthropist was born into poverty in Mississippi in 1954 and went on to become North America’s first billionaire black person and the ‘greatest black philanthropist in American history’. She has been called the most influential woman in the world. Here are 21 of our favourite pearls of wisdom
On integrity: Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.
On tackling challenges: Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new centre of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.
On being supported: Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
On trying: Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire.
On realising one’s dreams: The key to realising a dream is to focus not on success but on significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.
On finding ones calling: Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself.
On not being afraid to fail: Think like a queen: A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness. So go ahead – fall down. The world looks different from the ground.
On thinking big: You can either see yourself as a wave in the ocean or you can see yourself as the ocean.
On the power of passion: Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.
On the secret of life: The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work.
On financial success: The reason I've been able to be so financially successful is my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.
On overcoming ones circumstances: We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are. I don't think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who, from an early age, knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good.
On knowing when to move on: One of the hardest things in life to learn is which bridges to cross and which bridges to burn
On making decisions: Only make decisions that support your self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth.
On luck: I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.
On passion: You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.
On following one’s own path: Often we don’t even realise who we’re meant to be because we’re so busy trying to live out someone else’s ideas. But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.
On taking a risk: I believe that one of life’s greatest risks is never daring to risk.
On being limitless: Every time you state what you want or believe, you're the first to hear it. It's a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don't put a ceiling on yourself.
On success: What I know for sure is that if you want success, you can’t make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant, and the success will naturally follow.
On instinct: Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.