Business Class

Describe your school-aged self in three words.

Curious, introverted, average.

What was your favourite subject?

English for most of my schooling, until Grade 10 when the wonderful Mrs. Stapleton made me believe that I was great at math — and then I was.

Who was your favourite teacher?

It will always be Mrs. Stapleton — the kind of teacher who changes the way you think; not about a subject so much as about yourself.

Standout school technology?

The typewriter — I took typing in Grade 9 to get out of Latin, and it was the best decision I ever made.

Strongest graduation day memory?

I was class valedictorian — I wasn’t nervous at all until I realized I couldn’t turn the pages of my speech because of the white gloves I was wearing!

What career path did you dream of following as a student?

I wanted to be an architect.

Do you have any school-day regrets?

We were horrible to our third grade teacher at Rockcliffe Park PS, and I’ve always felt bad about that.

Favourite historical figures?

Churchill, Gandhi, Nellie McClung.

Who are your favourite writers?

A.S. Byatt, Margaret Drabble, Ann Patchett.

Cover of 1982 Congratulations to Karen Vander Deen, OCT, who liked us on Facebook and won a signed copy of 1982, the debut book from CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi.

What were your favourite literary pieces studied at school?

Fifth Business and The Stone Angel were two novels that moved me.

What was the last book you read?

The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lam.

What book should every student read before they graduate?

Atlas Shrugged.

Most important life lesson learned at school?

Not everyone will play at the same level, but you all have to get along.

The thing I learned in kindergarten that still applies to my life today is…

Never shove people at the top of the slide.

Best advice from your school years?

If people say negative things about you, don’t let it get you down — either it’s true and you should change it or it’s not true and you can ignore it.

If you could create a new course, what would it be?

Thinking for the 21st century.

How did your education inform the thesis of The Power of Why?

Education is at the core of how we’re able to remain curious. Unfortunately, we may be training the curiosity out of kids. We all know what a difference one great teacher can make — imagine if we could free our teachers from the shackles of a system that assumes 20 kids are exactly alike, and let them have fun with their students by encouraging them to ask “Why?”

NAME: Amanda Lang
  • Born in Ottawa in October 1970; has an identical twin sister
  • Her father, Otto Lang, served in Pierre Trudeau’s cabinets
  • Attended Rockcliffe Park PS in Ottawa until Grade 4, then moved to Winnipeg and went to St. Ignatius School and St. Mary’s Academy
  • Received a B.A. in architecture at the University of Manitoba; Went on to pursue a career in journalism
  • Worked for The Globe and Mail at age 21. Joined the Financial Post in 1994, eventually becoming its New York correspondent
  • Was part of the team that launched Report on Business Television (now the Business News Network [BNN])
  • Became a CNN anchor in 2000. Returned to Canada in 2002 as a BNN anchor; hosted SqueezePlay and The Commodities Report
  • Joined the CBC in 2009; co-hosts The Lang & O’Leary Exchange and is the CBC News senior business correspondent
  • Her book, The Power of Why, was released in 2012