"How did she do it?" Caitlin Flanagan asked in a 2011 essay about Oprah Winfrey. "How did she lift herself up from intense sorrow, abuse, and poverty? Well, as she has been trying to tell everyone who would listen to her for the past 25 years, she had an idea. A belief."
Fortune's Carol Loomis distilled that mantra in a 2002 interview. "To understand what makes Oprah Inc. such a powerhouse business, you must first understand the simple message that makes Oprah the new Queen of Soul," Loomis wrote. "Put simply," says Oprah, "my message is, 'You are responsible for your own life.'"
And Brian Stelter examined her biggest career move—and risk: ending her talk show to start the OWN network. "Ms. Winfrey’s baby will start out taking baby steps," Stelter noted. But Oprah had high hopes for the future. “By 2013," she told him, "we should be cracking.”