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If This Guy Could Make a Portrait Out of Toast, I Can Do Anything

Sometimes keeping other people's weird accomplishments in sight helps to keep our own aspirations in perspective.

This story appears in the December 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

I graduated from college in the early ’90s with a major in Italian literature and no clue how I was going to make a living. I struggled to find my footing in a new city, on a new coast, working a variety of jobs, always looking for my “real” career. I was sorely in need of encouragement — ­from anyone, anywhere. One day I opened my mail and found it in the form of a note from my mother. She’d clipped out an image she found in Harper’s Magazine; it was a portrait of John Gorrie, the inventor of the first artificial ice machine, that the artist Dennis Gephardt had made entirely out of pieces of toast.

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