Joe Marchese

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am slavishly devoted to memorable quotes.  Maybe because they say a lot in a brief moment.  I suspect that they touch all the bases in the Made to Stick formula of SUCCES: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories.  Like the blogs, they always educate, often amuse, occasionally inspire.  Do you have memorable quotes that you like?  Let me know.

I have been accused of having some memorable quotes of my own, but I'd rather shine a light on the quotes of others.  Enjoy.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”  -- George Bernard Shaw

"You can't get so far ahead of the parade that no one knows you're in it." - John Naisbitt

“The odds of a plaintiff's lawyer winning in civil court are two to one against. Think about that for a second. Your odds of surviving a game of Russian roulette are better than winning a case at trial. 12 times better. So why does anyone do it? They don't. They settle. Out of the 780,000 suits filed, only 12,000 or 1½% ever reach a verdict. The whole idea of lawsuits is to settle, to compel the other side to settle. And you do that by spending more money than you should, which forces them to spend more money than they should, and whoever comes to their senses first… loses.” -- John Travolta as Jan Schlichtmann, A Civil Action, 1998

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”  -- Upton Sinclair

”If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple.  But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”  -- George Bernard Shaw

“It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.” -- Somerset Maugham

"Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." – Henry Ford

“The fact of the matter is that there is a little bit of the totalitarian buried somewhere, way down deep, in each and every one of us.” -- George F. Kennan

“We all have to recognize, no matter how great our strength, that we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please.” -- Harry Truman

“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” -- Reinhold Niebuhr

“In a digital world, the gift I give you almost always benefits me more than it costs.” – Seth Godin

“More megaphones don’t equal a better dialogue. We’ve become slaves to our mobile devices and the glow of our screens. It used to be much more simple and, somewhere, simple turned into slow.” – Howard Mann

“When times are tough, vision is the first causality. Before conditions can improve, it is the first thing we must recover.” – Michael Hyatt

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” – John Wood

“Change happens when the cost of the status quo is greater than the risk of change.” – Alan Webber

Management isn’t natural…it doesn’t emanate from nature. Management isn’t a tree or a river… Somebody invented it. And over time, most inventions – from the candle to the cotton gin to the compact disc – lose their usefulness.” – Daniel Pink

“The problem is that you can't have good ideas unless you're willing to generate a lot of bad ones.” – Seth Godin

“People are NOT your greatest asset, the RIGHT people are.” -- Jim Collins

“Most companies do not have a management advantage." -- Gary Hamel

“Every organization must be prepared to abandon everything it does to survive in the future.”  Peter Drucker

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

“If things were simple, word would have gotten around.” – Jacques Derrida

"We are the 10th-largest brewer in the United States. Do you know what that means? We have one two-hundredth of the beer market. That's minuscule. Twelve years of busting my ass, and we've gone from nothing to infinitesimal. If I'm lucky, I'll go another 12 years and get to be small. That's my life's work."  -- Jim Koch, CEO, Boston Beer Company

[When the Dodgers returned to Brooklyn from a road trip, the fans were waiting for them], “which made me worry that if I failed I would be throwing all these people down.”  -- Pee Wee Reese, Captain, Brooklyn Dodgers

“I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird.” – Paul McCartney

"Today, people are asking, 'Is the crisis over? Is the economy coming back?' My reply is, 'No, the economy is not coming back. The economy has moved on, and the people asking if it's coming back are being left behind.'"  -- Robert Kiyosaki

“The trick to doing well with these things is to be in a place where people are saying, Hey, that's a crazy idea. If you're right, there's the opportunity to produce something really big. You want to be one to three years early. You want to start before others think it's an easy idea. It's much harder to be successful when 10 similar things are all being financed.”  --Reid Hoffman

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” - Albert Einstein

"Gentlemen, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking." -- Sir Ernest Rutherford

“Every night I would take home a different software manual, and I would read them... Peachtree, PFS, DBase, Lotus, Accpac… I couldn’t put them down. Every night I would read some after getting home, no matter how late.  It worked. Turns out not a lot of people ever bothered to RTFM (read the frickin’ manual), so people started thinking I really knew my stuff.”  -- Mark Cuban

“You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity.” -- Bullet Tooth Tony, Snatch, 2000

“Progress is only possible if we reverse the industrial revolution.”  -- Michael Hammer

“History can definitely repeat itself if everyone concentrates very hard on making the same stupid mistakes.  And yet, something draws us back to the familiar, because even if the familiar is not so good, it is familiar.”  -- Nelson DeMille

“People change and forget to tell one another.”   - Lillian Hellman


A company president admitted, “I’d like to get a firm grasp on reality, but somebody keeps moving it.”


“Win/win translates to: I win. I win again.” – Susan Scott

“Differences of opinion lead to raised voices and strong emotions, after which someone dies.“ – Susan Scott

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it’s the only one you have.”  Émile Chartier


“In any situation, the person who can most accurately describe reality without laying blame will emerge as the leader, whether designated or not.”  -- Edwin Friedman

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”  -- Rumi

 “I have not yet witnessed a spontaneous recovery from incompetence.”  -- Susan Scott


“If you want to see someone in real pain, watch someone who knows who he is and defaults on it on a regular basis.”  -- Pat Murray


“We are out there on the cutting edge of the uncontroversial.”  -- Martin Amis

“The experience of being understood, versus interpreted, is so compelling, you can charge admission.”  -- B. Joseph Pine II, The Experience Economy

“If you have a 150 I.Q., sell 30 points to someone else. You need to be smart, but not a genius.”  -- Warren Buffet


“Some of the worst business decisions I’ve ever seen are those with future projections and discounts back. It seems like the higher mathematics with more false precision should help you, but it doesn’t. They teach that in business schools because, well, they’ve got to do something.” -- Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises.  He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.  He is not an interruption in our work - he is the purpose of it.  We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve him.”  -- Mahatma Gandhi

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” -- Aldous Huxley

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” -- John F. Kennedy

“She who has the shortest to-do list wins.” – Susan Scott

“The problem named is the problem solved.”  Pat Murray

“What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”  -- Economist Herbert Simon, 1971

“Since every interruption costs around 25 minutes of productivity, we spend nearly a third of our day recovering from them.“ -- Linda Stone, who coined the phrase continuous partial attention

“My experience is what I agree to attend to.” -- William James

“Priorities are like arms: If you have more than two of them, they’re probably make-believe” – Lifehacker Merlin Mann

“My wife reminds me sometimes: ‘You have all the information you need to do something right now.’” -- Merlin Mann

“There’s no shell script, there’s no fancy pen, there’s no notebook or nap or Firefox extension or hack that’s gonna help you figure out why the fuck you’re here. That’s on you. This makes me sound like one of those people who swindled the Beatles, but if you are having attention problems, the best way to deal with it is by admitting it and then saying, ‘From now on, I’m gonna be in the moment and more cognizant.’ I said not long ago, I think on Twitter—God, I quote myself a lot, what an asshole—that really all self-help is Buddhism with a service mark.  -- Merlin Mann

“Where you allow your attention to go ultimately says more about you as a human being than anything that you put in your mission statement.”  -- Merlin Mann

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."  -- Theodore Roosevelt

“Before coming to the Yankees, every fifth day I expected to pitch.  When I came to the Yankees, every fifth day I expected to win.”  -- David Wells

“If it was any other team, you would have to consider it luck.” – Cornell Lacrosse coach Jeff Tambroni, on losing a 3-goal lead with 4 minutes remaining and seeing National Champion Syracuse University tie the game with 4.5 seconds remaining in regulation, and then winning at 1:20 into sudden-death overtime

“For some people, thinking is merely rearranging their prejudices.”   -- William James

"Truth arises from disagreement amongst friends.”   -- David Hume

“Everybody wants to be on a championship team…. nobody wants to come to practice.” – Bob Knight

“(My son) is the reason why some animals in the wild eat their young at birth.”  Bob Knight

Mental toughness is to physical as four is to one.” – Bob Knight

“The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare.” – Bob Knight

“Emotions serve as the gasoline that propels us into action.” – Susan Scott

“One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.”  -- Rita Mae Brown

“Good judgment comes from experience.  And experience comes from having made bad judgments.”  -- Abraham Lincoln

“Every success has a price, and it is paid up front.” -- HL Hunt