Can leaders be identified at an early age, then nurtured and encouraged? The question is very nearly unanswerable, since a combination of innate ability, early influences, later opportunity and sheer luck seems to make leadership a wholly unpredictable eruption. Nonetheless, one TIME task force explored the proposition that at an early age leaders come to feel separate, different from their peers. Members of the group spent part of one session recounting their own formative experiences. Excerpts:

BILL BRADLEY, New York Knicks basketball player: I came from a small town in Missouri of 3,000...

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