"What do you know for sure?" This profound question is one that Gene Siskel often asked his guests before signing off on an interview. His quest for knowledge
and drive to understand the human spirit was something that made him more than a journalist. Siskel knew that this one question - a mere six words in length - would force his guests to expose the
inner workings of their mind and that it would evoke an un-scripted and passionate response from even the most frigid and guarded celebrity. Siskel's motive for asking the question was simple:
The world consists of people from diverse walks of life, each carrying with them a different life story. If he could get his guests to share with him and his viewers the one thing in life that
they are certain is true, perhaps the world could be a better place.
The question became so popular that following Siskel's death in 1999, talk show host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey decided to incorporate it into both her television program and magazine. To this day, Winfrey frequently cites that Siskel was the first person to have asked her such a question, and that the question is her way of taking stock in life. Taking a page out of Gene Siskel's book and tweaking it ever so slightly, "O" magazine features a column in which Winfrey describes to her readers, "What I Know For Sure."