Steve's Great Quotations Page, favorite site of millions of readers, writers and public speakers...

created in 1999 and last updated on 12-18-11, arranged by subject.


Without adversity, we can never unleash our greatness.

-Paul Stoltz in Costco Connection

It’s easy to endure adversity --- if it happens to someone else.

-Mark Twain


Advice is overrated. Before you learn what others know, you need to learn what YOU know.

- Harriet Rubin, in Fast Company magazine

Have not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.

-Shakespeare -King Henry VIII


Alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, produces all the effects of intoxication.

-Oscar Wilde


Be wary of your own ambition. Temper your vision with an understanding of the value of survival.

-Stuart Kaminsky - Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express (2001)


When I was a boy we were poor and we had to make do with what we had. So my grandma used to make us quits that we used for blankets. She couldn't afford to go to the store and buy a blanket --- so she’d take scraps of cloth and sew them together. there’d be different colors and different patterns and different types of cloth --- but they all went together to make that big quilt to keep us warm.

That’s just like America. It’s made up of lots of different people. We’re all different colors, different ages, we do different jobs --- but it takes all of us black people, white people, brown people, men and women, young and old, working in the factories, working in the fields, working in offices, working in stores --- it takes a lot of different kinds of people to get the job done for America.

Jesse Jackson -Grandma’s Quilt

(quoted by Marshall Frady in The New Yorker (1992)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

-Thomas Jefferson -The Declaration of Independence (1776)

Not unlike the brazen Giant of Greek Fame

With conquering limbs astride

From land to land;

Here, at our sea-washed,

Sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch,

Whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning

And her name

Mother of Exiles

From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome;

Her mild eyes command

The air bridge harbor that

Twin cities frame

"Keep ancient lands, your storied

pomp!" Cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your

Tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to

Breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your

Teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless,

Tempest-tost to me.

I lift my lamp beside the Golden door.

Emma Lazarus- The New Colossus


Anger makes people stupid.

-William Kennedy - Very Old Bones (1992)


I sincerely believe ... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.

-Thomas Jefferson

Every man in a bank hates what the bank does and yet the bank does it.

-John Steinbach - Grapes of Wrath


Good hitting always stops good pitching and vice-versa.

-Casey Stengel


i thank You God for most this amazing

day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

and a blue, true dream of sky; and for everything

which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again, today,

and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth

day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay

great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing

breathing any --- lifted from the no

of all nothing --- human merely being

doubly unimaginable you?

(now the ears of my ears awake and

now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

- e.e. cummings


A man must not swallow more beliefs than he can digest

-Brooks Adams.

People only think a thing’s worth believing in if it’s hard to believe.

-Armigar Barkley

You gotta believe!

-Tug McGraw


In them days I just as soon died --- except for my harmonica. It was like a friend who didn't give a damn if I could see or not.

-Sonny Terry

The Blues

"…the blues was here the day that the world was born. Sadness, loneliness; it come from man and woman. A woman gets sad 'bout her man done left her, man gets sad 'bout his woman done left him … started hummin' sad songs. Somethin' 'bout a woman. You can't say nothin' … a man can't say nothin' that ain't about a woman. A woman can't say nothin' without sayin' somethin' about a man. That's what it come from, now, 'cause even Adam was in the garden. It's no sin. Do you see in the Bible anywhere where singin' is a sin? This leads into what I'm going to say. God, if there is such a thing as God, because we all believe in a Supreme Being: he wants you to do right, love people all over the world, and that's what I'm doing. I'm serving people all over. I'm serving people, I'm reachin' out, getting' people, helpin' people. I do benefits, I gives 'em. That's treatin' 'em as God want. And I never see 'em, I never will see 'em. But my voice is all over the world. John Lee Hooker on a record. I'll be here for ever, but my body won't. Accordin' to the Bible, you doin' what God want you to do: help people . People that need help: the sick, the needy, crippled kids. I do's all of that. I study givin'. I'm a Christian, but I just don't run to church. I don't believe in runnin' to church. I don't believe in getting' on my knees prayin'. I don't believe in that."

"…I don't know nothin' that'll stop me from playin' the blues. I'll never retire. I'll be doing this until God Jehovah call me to the next world, and I'm hopin' I can play there. Once you a blues singer in your blood, you can retire from the public, but in your heart and in your blood you never retire 'til you gone. You know I wrote that song --- me and Van Morrison did it --- called 'Never Get Out of These Blues Alive?' I'll never --- I'll never get out of these blues alive. Yeah."

"I never build myself us. I let the people do that. I'm the most laid-back person, and I let them build me up. If you ask me, I say, 'I''m just a guy playin' some blues."

- John Lee Hooker - in Boogie Man by Charles Murray (2000)


The Cure for boredome is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. - Ellen Parr


The best way for business to move out of the Hall of Shame is to demonstrate a commitment to social causes. This also makes business sense. A focus on solving social problems has motivational benefits in lean economic times.

-Rosabeth Moss Kanter in Business 2.0 Magazine

What do you really believe makes a difference in the company? For me it's really clear. It's about customers and employees. Everything else follows. If you take care of your customers and you have motivated employees, everything else follows.

-Anne Mulcahy (Xerox CEO) in Rochester Business Journal

Catcher in the Rye

I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body," I said. "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids and nobody’s around --- nobody big, I mean --- except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff --- I mean, if they’re running and they don't look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy."

J.D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye (1945)


The biggest trouble with a sure thing is the uncertainty.

- Anonymous


There is nothing permanent except change.- Haraclitus

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.

- Chinese Proverb.

The losers now will be later to win

For the times they are a-changing

- Bob Dylan - The Times Are A-Changing

I wish I was on some Australian mountain range,

I wish I was on some Australian mountain range.

I have no reason to be there, but I imagine it might

Be some kind of change.

Bob Dylan - Outlaw Blues

The pace of change is so great, there is always something else going on. What that says to me is that you have to have strategic vision and peripheral vision. Strategic vision is the ability to look ahead and peripheral vision is the ability to look around, and both are important.

- Carly Fiorina (CEO of Hewlett Packard) - in The Wall Street Journal (2002)


If You chase two rabbits, both will escape.

- Ken Askey in The Toastmaster - September 2002


They think about heaven, they don't care what goes on down here.

- William Kennedy - Very Old Bones (1992)

Christopher Columbus

In a museum in Havana, there are two skulls of Christopher Columbus, one when he was a boy and one when he was a man. - Mark Twain


The older I grow, the less important the comma becomes. Let the reader catch his own breath. - Elizabeth Clarkson Zwart


Committee: A group of men who individually can do nothing, but as a group decide that nothing can be done.

- Fred Allen


Conscience: A little voice that tells you what other people should do. - Anonymous


Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. - Albert Einstein


Cowards die many times; a brave man dies but once.

William Shakespeare - Julius Caesar

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. - Winston Churchill


Sometimes you get more creativity when you're in a box than when you can do anything. In really difficult situations, sometimes, you get the most interesting thinking.

Jim Mullen (CEO of Biogen) in Fast Company (2002)

(The scientist must have) a vivid intuitive imagination for new ideas that are not generated by deduction, but by artistically creative imagination. - Max Planck


Behind every fortune there is a crime. - Honore de Balzac

It was the promise of a good day, but Rostnikov had learned from experience that the sun was indifferent to the petty crimes of man.

-Stuart Kaminsky - Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express (2001)


Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger. - Franklin Jones


Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded. - Yogi Berra


I’d spent half of my life crying, the other half refusing to cry – Jean Claude Izzo – Chourmo (1996)


The Cure for boredome is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. - Ellen Parr


I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.

- Woody Allen

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.

- Woody Allen

Always go to other people's funeral, otherwise they won't go to yours. - Yogi Berra

No man is an island entire of itself;

Everyone is a piece of a continent, a part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,

As well as if a manor or the friend’s or of thine own were.

Anyone’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

It tolls for thee.

-John Donne

from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions


The ultimate dragon is within you. - Joseph Campbell


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined. - Henry David Thoreau

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore ---

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over ---

Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just lays

Like a heavy load ...

Or does it explode?

- Langston Hughes - Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951)


I'm in favor of it as long as it's multiple choice.

Kurt Rambis -on his opinion of drug tests


It's always easy … until it's hard.

Steven Hunter - Havana (2003)


The cost of living is going up and the chance of living is going down.

- Flip Wilson


It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

- Albert Einstein


The Top 10 Most Effective Things That You Can Say:

1. Thank you very much. 2, You are so right. 3. How can I help you right now? 4. I ask that you ... 5. I apologize for for what has happened. 6. Why is that? 7. Are you willing to ...? 8. I love you. 9. Will you help me? 10. Yes. - Thomas J. Leonard


…the Dodgers, the dozen or so athletes who were at the core of the team … stood together in purpose and for the most part in camaraderie. They respected bone another as competitors and they knew that they were set apart. No one prattled about team spirit. No one made speeches on the Rights of Men. No one sang "Let My People Go". But without pretense or visible fear these men marched unevenly against the sin of bigotry.

- Roger Kahn - The Boys of Summer (1971)


Experience enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. - Franklin Jones


When you get to the end of all the light, you know it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly. - Edward Teller


We have nothing to fear but fear itself. - Franklin Roosevelt


The same fire that melts iron forges steel. - anonymous


Nobody see a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time --- like to have a friend takes time. - Georgia O'Keefe


Thank God, men cannot as yet fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. - Thoreau


Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names. - John F. Kennedy


Some in America today would limit our freedom of expression and of conscience. In the name of unity, they would impose a narrow conformity of ideas and opinions. Only a government which fights for civil liberties and equal rights for its own people can stand for freedom in the rest of the world.

- Adlai Stevenson (1953)

Giving and Receiving

In all things I have shown you one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

- Acts 20:35

The less you expect in return for acts of professional generosity, the more you will receive. - Tim Sanders

I am convinced that the majority of people would be generous from selfish motives, if they had the opportunity. - Charles Dudley Warner

Jesus sat over against the treasury and beheld how many people cast money into it. Many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certian poor widow who through in two mites, which makes a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples and said unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in than all the others for all they did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had.'

Mark 12:41-44

Good and Bad

He must be a good man because he’s so hard to find. - Anonymous

If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life... - Thoreau


I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. TO make ourselves unhappy is where all our crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health and our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and I am happy that I lived long enough to find it out. – Roger Ebert


I did not get on the bus to get arrested. I got on the bus to go home.

Rosa Parks - Quiet Strength (1994)

The fellow who owns his own home is always just coming out of a hardware store. - Kin Hubbard


He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

- Matthew 23:11-12


Crank: A man with a new idea, until it succeeds. - Mark Twain

The idea flow from the human spirit is absolutely unlimited. All you have to do is tap into the well. I don't like to use the word efficiency. It's creativity. It's a belief that every person counts. - Jack Welch


Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-iot-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. - Sir Cecil Beaton

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.

If you can dream it, you can become it.

- William Arthur Ward


It isn't that information is exploding, but accessibility is. There's just about as much information this year as there was last year; it's been growing at a steady rate. It's just that now it's so much more accessible because of information technology. The consensus is that a Web crawler could get to a terabyte of publicly accesible HTML. A terabyte is about a million books. the UC Berkeley library has about 8 million books, and the Library of Congress has 20 million books. - Hal Varian


The primary wisdom is intuition. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The term intuition does not denote something contrary to reason, but something outside of the province of reason. - Carl Jung


As the demand for skeptical reporting dropped, the supply fell back to match it.

- John Cassidy in The New Yorker (2002)


Don’t jump on a man unless he’s down. - Finley Peter Dunne


Knowledge sharing is the basis of everything. Share knowledge with reckless abandon.

- Tim Sanders, Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo

To the small part of ignorance that we arrange and classify, we give the name knowledge.

- Ambrose Bierce

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.

- Thomas H. Huxley

What do I know?


Law and Order

Just as the apparent openness of rectitude will have its hidden places where foul things moulder in the dark, so, in the shadowed lives of those outside the law may sometimes be found concealed honesty and naive ideals.

William McIlvanney- Strange Loyalties (1991)


Don’t follow leaders

Watch the parking meters.

-Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues


Jody felt very sad. "If you’d like a glass of lemonade, I could make it for you."

Grandfather was about to refuse and then he saw Jody’s face. "That would be nice." he said, "Yes, it would be nice to drink a lemonade."

Jody ran into the kitchen where his mother was wiping the last of the breakfast dishes. "Can I have a lemon to make a lemonade for grandfather?"

His mother mimicked, "And another lemon to make a lemonade for you."

"No, ma’am. I don’t want one."

"Jody! You’re sick!" Then she stopped suddenly. "Take a lemon out of the cooler," She said softly. Here, I’ll reach the squeezer down to you."

John Steinbach - The Red Pony (1937)

Life and Death

Life is what happens while you're making other plans. - John Lennon

If life is so meaningless, then why are we always bringing it up? - Lily Tomlin

Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive. - Kin Hubbard

Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped. - Groucho Marx

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they are going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness an understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. - Og Mandino

Four experts had an appointment with an ordinary man. They needed him to ratify their findings, or anything they achieved would be meaningless. As they drove to meet him, they knocked down a man on the road. He was dying. If they tried to save him, they might miss their appointment. They decided that their appointment, which concerned all of us, was more important than the life of one man. They drove on to keep their appointment. They did not know that the man they were to meet was the man they had left to die.

William McIlvanney -Strange Loyalties (1991)

There is more to life than increasing its speed. - Gandhi


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

- Thomas Jefferson - The Declaration of Independence (1776)

Liberty doesn’t work as well in practice as it does in speeches. - Will Rogers


The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation. - Thoreau

Little Things

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were big things. - Robert Brault

Lost & Found

A man needs only to be turned around once with his eyes shut in this world to be lost.- Thoreau

Love & Hate

My love, she’s like some raven

At my window with a broken wing.

Bob Dylan - Love Minus Zero

She had thrilling flesh.

- Ed Gorman - Save the Last Dance for Me (2002)

Fitzgerald was always doing that in his stories. Having some guy think about some girl who'd deserted or betrayed him long, long years ago. But when he though of her the pain was still fresh as a knife slash.

-Ed Gorman - Save the Last Dance for Me (2002)

... every once in a while you see somebody the way they really are --- it only takes a second of seeing them that what --- and then you can't hate them quite as much as you did. It's a curse.

- Ed Gorman - Save the Last Dance for Me (2002)

If I held you any tighter, I'd be behind you. - Groucho Marx


Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer’d.

William Shakespeare - Cymbeline

It's hard to detect good luck … it looks so much like something you've earned. - Frank Howard Clark


Managers consistently delude themselves about how much good they're doing. The oath for managers should be the same as physicians. First do no harm.

- Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering - Stanford

Companies don't have one culture. They have as many as they have supervisors or managers. You want to build a strong culture? Hold every manager accountable for the culture that he or she builds.

- Marcus Buckingham

The term management comes from the Italian word, maneggio, which pertained to training a horse to do repetitive tasks. Our current concept of managing people may be a bit broader than its Italian antecedent, but it still implies control. Managers have historically worked by recruiting, developing and controlling budgets, processes, tasks and people. The notion that you should "set a person free to see if they fly back to you" (or in this case, bring new ideas back to you ) is difficult for many managers to grasp. In fact, fundamentally different approaches to managing employees are needed in order to build a successful electronic corporation.

- Arthur Coleman (Sun Microsystems)

It is improper for one person to take credit when it takes so many people to build a successful organization. When you try to be top dong, you don't create loyalty. It you can't give credit (and take blame), you will drown in you inability to inspire. - Jim Sinegal (CEO of COSTCO)

Employees are professional "boss watchers." What managers say means nothing unless their actions model what they say. - Darcy Hitchcock


Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons. - Woody Allen

He took a secretary-type wallet from a desk drawer and produced a stack of bills. He counted out ten of them, licking his square thumb for every other one and placed them in a neat stack next to the whiskey. I couldn’t see why it shouldn’t be my one hundred dollars.

- "Easy" Rawlins

in Devil in a Blue Dress (1989) by Walter Mosely


Never let your sense of morality get in the way of doing what's right.- Isaac Asimov

They're always accusing liberals of wanting to legislate morality --- especially with civil rights --- but they don't have any problem telling you when and where you can buy liquor, who you can have sex with (technically, adultery is still punishable by jail time), and what you can read.

-Ed Gorman

Save the Last Dance for Me (2002)


In a pleasant spring morning all men’s sins are forgiven. Such a day is a truce to vice. - Thoreau

Only that day dawns

To which we are awake.

- Thoreau


A man always has two reasons for doing anything --- a good reason and the real reason. - J. P. Morgan


I play it cool

And dig all jive

That’s the reason

I stay alive.

My motto

As I live and learn


Dig and be dug

In return.

- Langston Hughes - Motto (1959)


We are the music makers

We are the dreamers of dreams

Wandering by lone sea breakers

Resting by desolate streams

World losers and world forsakers

In the pale moon beams

Yet we are the movers and shakers

Of the world forever it seems.

-A.M. O'Shaughnesy

My songs will pass and be forgotten. What counts, however, is that I sang them.

- Andrew Greeley - Letters to a Loving God

By the time we got to Woodstock

We were half a million strong

And everywhere there was song and celebration

And I dreamed I saw the bombers

Riding shotgun in the sky

And they were turning into butterflies

Above our nation.

Joni Mitchell - Woodstock (1969)

Kino heard the little splash of morning waves on the beach. It was very good --- Kino closed his eyes again to listen to his music.

John Steinbach - The Pearl (1945)

In them days I just as soon died --- except for my harmonica. It was like a friend who didn't give a damn if I could see or not. - Sonny Terry

My Brother's Keeper

If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall maintain him; as a stranger and a sojourner he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or increase, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.

- Leviticus 25:33-37


It’s hard to believe those names. I've wondered most of my life who made them up and why. There’s Treasure Street and Abundance and Benefit. Humanity, Industry and Pleasure Streets --- all these in the midst of hopelessness and squalor and stone meanness out at the edge of what human beings can suffer, what they can do to themselves. Nobody would want to hear the names I’d give them. Like Cancer and Gunshot, Weeping and Dead Streets and Broke and Jobless Avenue.

- John & Joyce Corringrton - A Project Named Desire (1987)

Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words. - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

New York

New York has always been a place where it is possible to have memories without the experience that conventionally precedes them.

- Adam Gopnic - in The New Yorker (2001)


... the deserted baseball park where you could see advertisements on the fence for businesses that didn't exist anymore.

- Ed Gorman - Save the Last Dance for Me (2002)


You can observe a lot just by watching. - Yogi Berra


Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work so most people don't recognize them. - Ann Landers

Order and Disorder

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. - A.A. Milne


Organizations are not cool. People are cool.

Arthur Fonzarellin on Happy Days (1977)


He patiently tried to understand, never forgetting that the most obvious motives are not always the most important. If he hadn’t a very high opinion of men and their capabilities, he went on believing in man himself. He looked for his weak points and when, in the end, he put his finger on them, he didn’t crow with joy, but on the contrary, felt a certain sadness.

- Georges Simenon - Maigret in Society (1960)


Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. - Adlai Stevenson

Some can be patriotic who have no self-respect, and sacrifice the greater to the less. They love the soil which makes their graves, but have no sympathy with the spirit which may still animate their day. Patriotism is a maggot in their heads. - Thoreau

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it. - Oscar Wilde


If people don’t want to come out to the ball park, nobody’s going to stop them. - Yogi Berra


Beware of perfect people. They will never propel your enterprise to greatness. They're too cautious. You've to be fast to be good.

- Dick Brown, CEO of EDS


So persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

- The Sermon on the Mount


I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail, I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult ... I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking. - Og Mandino


A poem is a naked person.

Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home

Why should not a poet’s cat be winged as well as his horse? - Thoreau


You can't bluff someone who isn't paying attention.

- John Connolly - Every Dead Thing (1999)


Every now and then an innocent man gets sent to the legislature.- Kin Hubbard

Some fellers get credit for being conservative, when they’re really just stupid. - Kin Hubbard

You can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln

You can fool too many of the people too much of the time. - James Thurber

There’s no trick to being a humorist, when you have the whole government working for you. - Will Rogers

I feel like the boy who stubbed his toe. I’m too old to cry, but it hurts too much to laugh. - Adlai Stevenson

Adlai Stevenson- Concession Speech

Nations are possessed with an insane ambition to perpetuate the memory of themselves by the amount of hammered stone they leave. What if equal pains were taken to smooth and polish their manners? One piece of good sense would be more memorable than a monument as high as the moon.

Henry David Thoreau - Walden

Ninety-eight per cent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two per cent that get all the publicity. But then --- we elected them. - Lily tomlin

"What’s all this about one man, one vote?" asked the Nottingham miner.

"Why, one bloody man, one bloody vote!" Bill replied.

"Well, why the hell can’t they say so?"

- Hugh Walpole

It is doubtful that congress would pass the Bill of Rights if it were introduced today.

-         Earl Warren

The people don’t matter to that gang. They pay no attention. They think in totalitarian terms. They’ve got the troops. They’ve got the army. They’ve got the judiciary. Why should they worry? Bush is a thug. I think there is something really wrong with him

- Gore Vidal    


People always told me that my natural ability and good eyesight were the reasons for my success as a hitter. They never talk about the practice, practice, practice.

- Ted Williams


When the Gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers. - Oscar Wilde


It's in the preparation --- in those dreary pedestrian virtues they taught you in 7th grade and you didn't believe. It's making the extra call and caring a lot. - Diane Sawyer


When you got your hand in the lion’s mouth, don’t do nothin’ til you get it out.

- Big Bill Broonzy


All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. - Adlai Stevenson

Problems and Solutions

Rather than denying problems, focus inventively, intentionally on what solutions might look or feel like. Our mind is meant to generate ideas that help us escape circumstantial traps --- if we trust it to do so. - Martha Sinetar


When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system's game. The establishment will irritate you, pull your beard and flick your face to make you fight because once they've got you violent then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don't know how to handle3 is non-violence and humor. - John Lennon


The trouble with being punctual is that nobody’s there to appreciate it. - Franklin Jones


Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

- Luke 12:2

Rich and Poor

If you pour yourself out for the hungry

And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

Then shall your light rise in the darkness

And your gloom be as the noon day.

And the Lord will guide you continually

And satisfy your desire with good things

And make your bones strong;

And you shall be like a watered garden,

Like a spring of water

Whose waters fail not.

- Isaiah 58:10-11

If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth.

- 1 John 3:17-18

The law ... allows rich as well as poor to sleep under bridges. - Anatole France


Run to daylight. - Vince Lombardi


Here's the thing about rights. They're not supposed to be voted on. That's why they call them rights. - Rachel Maddow


I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. - Jane Austin


Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life, are, not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meager life than the poor. The ancient philosophers, Chinese, Hindoo, Persian and Greek, were a class than which none has been poorer in outward riches, none so rich in inward. We know not much about them. It is remarkable that we know so much of them as we do. The same is true of the more modern reformers and benefactors of their race. None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life, but from the vantage ground of what we shall call voluntary poverty. - Thoreau - Walden

I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow out of life. - Thoreau


If you steal, you will be hailed as a great man, provided you steal everything in sight. - Anonymous


Well, it’s hard to stumble

And land in some muddy lagoon

When it’s nine below zero

And three o’clock in the afternoon.

- Bob Dylan - Outlaw Blues

Success & Failure

Eighty percent of success is showing up. - Woody Allen

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. - George S. Patton

Frank Ryan’s 10-rules for success:

1. Always be polite on the job. Say please and thank you.

2. Never say more than is necessary.

3. Never call your partner by name --- unless you use a made-up name.

4. Dress well. Never look suspicious or like a bum.

5. Never use your own car.

6. Never count the take in the car.

7. Never flash money in a bar or with women.

8. Never go back to an old bar or hangout once you have moved up.

9. Never tell anyone your business. Never tell a junkie even your name.

10. Never associate with people known to be in crime.

- Elmore Leonard - Swag (1976)

Crime, carefully planned and executed, is demonstrably the royal high road to pecuniary success in the United States.

- Ferdinand Lundberg - The Rich and the Super Rich (1964)

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. - Thoreau

Achievement is not always success, while reputed failure often is. It is honest endeavor, persistent effort to do the best possible under anay and all circumstances.

-Orison Swett Marden

Ever tried? Ever failed? Try again. Fail again. Fail better. - Samuel Beckett


The income tax has made liars out of more people than golf. - Will Rogers

That is what taxes are for. If you have forgotten, be reminded. We have pooled our resources to get the services we all need but can't afford on our own. None of us needs all of them, but all of us need many of them.

Susan Reid, Executive Secretary of City Watch in the Salem, Oregon Statesman Journal (2003)

Telephone Numbers

During daylight hours there are several telephone numbers that phone company repairmen and installers use to test equipment. But in the late night and early morning hours, these lines are used by people who somehow get the numbers. They get to know each other without seeing the other party. Then, maybe they make an appointment to meet somewhere, usually in a crowded public place, like a shopping mall. When they get there, they look each other over as strangers without being absolutely sure who they’re looking at.

If they like what they see, they make or accept overtures; if not, they simply walk away without making contact. It’s nothing new; it’s been going on in most big cities for years. There are people who have met through the lines and later married.

Technically, it’s illegal, but the phone company puts up with it. They don’t use the lines during those hours anyway and if they prosecuted these people, there would be nothing in it for them other than some bad publicity. People in trouble who need someone they can pour their problems to, someone who can’t even find out who they are, use the lines.

- John Lutz - Night Lines (1984)


I can resist anything except temptation. - Oscar Wilde


Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

- The Sermon on the Mount

I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.

- Albert Einstein

Everything has been thought of before, but the problem is to think of it again.

- Goethe

He thinks things through very clearly before going off half-cocked. - Carl Spaatz


There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself. - Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

Truth and Fiction

Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, but truth isn’t. - Mark Twain

Don’t ask me nothin’ about nothin’

I just might tell you the truth.

- Bob Dylan - Outlaw Blues

Everybody lies, but it doesn’t matter because nobody listens.

- Stuart Kaminsky - Lieberman’s Law

There’s one way to find out if a man is honest --- ask him. If he says, "yes," you know he is a crook. - Groucho Marx

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made. - Groucho Marx

I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it. - Groucho Marx

As scarce as truth is, the supply seems greater than the demand. - Adlai Stevenson

We have to serve the truth as candidates for public office and not mislead, misguide or misdirect the people merely to provoke emotional responses and win votes.

-Adlai Stevenson (1958)

Let’s talk sense to the American people. Let’s tell them the truth ... better we lose the election than mislead the people.

Adlai Stevenson -Acceptance Speech (1952)

It is a common heresy and its graves are to be found all over the earth. It is the heresy that says you can kill an idea by killing a man, defeat a principle by defeating a person, bury truth by burying its vehicle. -Adlai Stevenson (1952)

Man does not live by words alone, even though he sometimes has to eat them.- Adlai Stevenson

Man may burn his brother at the stake, but he cannot reduce truth to ashes;

He may murder his fellow man with a shot, but he does not murder justice;

He may slay armies of men, but, as it is written,

Adlai Stevenson - "Truth beareth off the victory." (1952)

Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. - Frank Herbert

History is full of politicians whose rhetoric is out of step with reality, who promise something and then fail to deliver. But the Bush administrtion offers a credibility gap with a new twist. This is a White House that promises one thing knowing full well that it is delivering another. - Tom Daschle

Turning the Other Cheek

Whosovever shall compel thee to go a mile,

Go with him twain.

- The Sermon on the Mount

The Universe

They could be in three places at the same time and still be at one with the universe. - Lily Tomlin

The Unspoken

The great weight of the unspoken left them little to talk about. - Saul Bellow

War and Peace

Have not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.

William Shakespeare - King Henry VIII

Someday the lion is going to lie down with the lamb, but the lamb isn’t going to get much sleep.

- Woody Allen

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of it scientists, the hopes of its children ... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross. - Dwight Eisenhower

America is addicted to wars of distraction.

- Barbara Ehrenreich

The Way

Ask the very beasts and they will teach you;

Ask the wild birds and they will tell you;

Crawling creatures will instruct you;

Fish in the sea will inform you.

For which of them all knows not that this is the Eternal Way,

In whose control lies every living soul

And the whole life of man.

- Job 12: 7-10


The accumulation of great wealth is, in many instances, the effect of paying too little for the labor that produced it, the consequence of which is that the working people perish in old age and the employer abounds in affluence. - Thomas Paine


what if a much of a which of a wind

gives the truth to summer’s lie;

bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun

and yanks immortal stars away?

blow king to beggar and queen to seem

(blow friend to fiend: blow space to time)

--- when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,

the single secret will be man.

what if a keen of a lean wind flays

screaming hills with sleet and snow:

strangles valleys by ropes of thing

and stifles forests in white ago?

blow hope to terror; blow seeing to blind

(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)

--- whose hearts are mountains, roots are trees,

it’s they shall cry hello to spring.

what if a dawn of a doom of a dream

bites this universe in two,

peels forever out of his grave

and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?

blow soon to never and never to twice

(blow life to isn’t: blow death to was)

--- all nothing’s only our hugest home;

the most who die, the more we life.

- e.e. cummings

You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.

Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues

Wisdom & Wit

O wad some pow’r the giftie gie us

To see oursels as others see us!

It wad frae many a blunder free us

And foolish notion.

- Robert Burns - To a Mouse (1786)

I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person. - Oscar Wilde


Hard work never killed a man, but it sure has scared a lot of them.

- Anonymous

He gives you a nickel, he gives you a dime

He asks you with a grin if you’re having a good time

Then he fines you every time you shut the door

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more.

- Bob Dylan - Maggie's Farm

So now I do my job. It has a purpose. It’s all right. But I had intended to do more.

- William McIlvanney - Strange Loyalties (1991)

Once you wake up the human animal, you can’t put it back to sleep again.

Studs Terkel - Working (1972)

Fuck it! It’s only a car.

- Gary Bryner, Union President

in Working by Studs Terkel (1972)

I done the same job twenty-two years, twenty-three years. Everybody else on that job is dead.

- Ned Williams, stock chaser

in Working by Studs Terkel

I have brought home a forty-hour paycheck for Lord knows how long and that’s why I work.

- Hobart Foote, Utility man

in Working by Studs Terkel

When I put the plate down, you don’t hear a sound. When I pick up a glass, I want it to be just right. When someone says, "How come you’re just a waitress?" I say, "Don’t you think you deserve being served by me?"

- Dolores Dante, Waitress

in Working by Studs Terkel

To be remembered was the wish, spoken and unspoken, of the heroes and heroines of this book.

- Studs Terkel - Working (1972)

... a Monday through Friday sort of dying.

- Studs Terkel - Working (1972)

To survive the day is triumph enough.

- Studs Terkel - Working (1972)

This book, being about work, is, by its very nature, about violence --- to the spirit as well as to the body.

- Studs Terkel - Working (1972)

On the evening bus, the tense, pinched faces of young file clerks and elderly secretaries tell us more than we care to know. On the expressways, middle management men pose without grace behind their wheels as they flee city and job.

- Studs Terkel - Working (1972)

Jobs ... are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people.

- Nora Watson, Editor

in Working by Studs Terkel (1972)

One night a guy hit his head on a welding gun. He went to his knees. He was bleeding like a pig, blood was oozing out. So I stopped the line for a second and ran over to help him. The foreman turned the line on again, he almost stepped on the guy. That’s the first thing they always do. They didn’t even call an ambulance. The guy walked to the medic department --- that’s about half a mile --- he had about five stitches put in his head. The foreman didn’t say anything. He just turned the line on. You’re nothing to any of them.

- Jim Grayson, Spot-welder

in Working by Studs Terkel (1972)

You can work next to a guy for months without even knowing his name.

- Grayson in Working by Studs Terkel (1972)

I began to see how everything was so wrong --- when growers can have an intricate watering system to irrigate their crops, but they can’t have running water inside the houses of workers. Veterinarians tend to the needs of domestic animals, but they can’t have adequate unemployment compensation for the workers. They treat him like a farm implement. In fact, they treat their implements better and their domestic animals better. They have heat and insulated barns for the animals, but the workers live in beat-up shacks with no heat at all.

- Roberto Acuna, Farm worker

in Working by Studs Terkel (1972)

We’re giving jobs to people who would otherwise be out of work if we weren’t exploiting cheap labor. - Lily Tomlin

The truly efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task, surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure. – Henry David Thoreau

The World

The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. - William Makepeace Thackery


The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them. - Raymond Chandler

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why do we remember the past, but not the future?

- Steven Hawking - A Brief History of Time

We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow. - Thoreau

O God! O God! that it were possible

To undo things done; to call back yesterday.

-Thomas Heywood - A Woman Killed with Kindness