By Joe Pulizzi published June 29, 2008 Est Read Time: 11 min

113 Expert and Best Business Quotes of All-Time

I found this listing of expert and best business quotes in a presentation from Razorleaf’s Paul Gimbel at SolidWorks World 2008. (Razorleaf is one of the leaders in engineering and manufacturing process management.)

There are some gems in here for this must print out page!  Thanks to Paul for sharing his best business quotes of all-time.

“Luck is what happens
when preparation meets opportunity.”
Seneca, Roman Philosopher

“The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances,
imbalances – are the primary sources of creativity.”
Margaret J. Wheatley, Management
Consultant

“Out there in some garage is an entrepreneur who’s forging a bullet with your
company’s name on it.”
Gary Hamel, Business Writer

“Confidence is contagious; so is lack of confidence.”
Vince Lombardi

“Technological change is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal .”
Albert Einstein

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.”
Sven Goran Eriksson

“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible,
he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he
is very probably wrong.”
Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the
Future

“Greatness is won, not awarded.”
Guy Kawasaki, How To Drive Your Competition Crazy

“When you compete with a person, you only have to be as good or better than the
person to win. If you compete with yourself, there is no limitation to how good
you can be.”
Chu Chin-Ning

“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Fight fair, but avoid fair fights.”
John Czepiel

“Incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy.”
Nicholas Negroponte, MIT Media Lab

“If it ain’t broke, break it (or someone else will break it for you).”
Tom Peters

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but
how to get old ones out.”
Dee Hock, Founder of Visa

“It doesn’t work to leap a twenty-foot chasm in two ten-foot jumps.”
American Proverb

“If things seem under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
Mario Andretti

“The first problem for us all, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”
Gloria Steinem

“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do
it.”
Pablo Picasso

“If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying.”
Coleman Hawkins, Jazz Musician

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most
intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for
success.”
Napoleon Hill, Author

“The word ‘Genius’ isn’t applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman
Einstein.”
Joe Theisman

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to
success when they gave up.”
Thomas Edison

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not
leadership.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

“With ISO 9000 you can still have terrible processes and products. You can
certify a manufacturer that makes life jackets out of concrete…”
Richard Buetow, Motorola

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Mark Twain

“They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them
yourself.”
Andy Warhol

“Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it.”
Stan Smith

“Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.”
Unknown

“Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.”
Vince Lombardi

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done
at all.”
Peter Drucker

“Great ideas often receive violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
Albert Einstein

“Not doing more than the average is what keeps the average down.”
William Lyon Phelps, American Author

“There’s something inherently funny about self-reference.”
Dr. Steven Gimbel, Philosopher,
Author

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as
impossible situations.”
Charles R. Swindoll, American Writer

“If you concede the obvious you’re conceding nothing, but you gain back
credibility. That’s a trade you should make every time.”
Mark Katz, former Clinton Humor Speech Writer

“Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well
informed just to be undecided about them.”
Laurence J. Peter

“I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be
flexible at all times.”

Everett Dirksen

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure
about the universe.”
Albert Einstein

“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for
failure, which is: Try to please everybody.”
Herbert B. Swope, American
Journalist

“Reengineering cannot be entrusted to the semi-competent, the hangers-on with
nothing better to do. “
Michael Hammer & James Champy, Reengineering The Corporation

“If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.”
Charles Kettering, Engineer

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”
Elbert Hubbard, American Philosopher

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
Epictetus

“Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared
aspirations.”
Jim Kouzes & Barry Posner, The Leadership Challenge

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
Alan Kay, father of the personal
computer

“A leader is a person you will follow to a place you wouldn’t go by yourself.”
Joel Barker, Future Edge

“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.”
Tom Peters

“That which is measured improves.”
Old Business Adage

“The customer is a rear-view mirror, not a guide to the future.”
George Colony, Forrester Research

“When cost is number one in importance, you’ve already lost.”
Jim Rembach, Six Sigma Consultant

“Failures are divided into two classes – those who thought and never did, and
those who did and never thought.”
John Charles Salak

“All work is creative work if done by a thinking mind”
Ayn Rand, From Atlas Shrugged

“’Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all
doubt.”
Attributed to Abraham Lincoln

“In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves
beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
Eric Hoffer, American Social
Philosopher

“Without customers, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby.”
Don Peppers & Martha Rogers, Return on Customer

“Realism is just another name for yesterday’s thinking.”
Robert Kriegel, Sacred Cows Make The Best Burgers

“Judge a man by his questions, not by his answers.”
Voltaire

“The higher you go in a company, the less oxygen there is, so supporting
intelligent life becomes difficult.” Guy Kawasaki, Rules for Revolutionaries

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
Winston Churchill

“That wasn’t flying. That was falling with style.”
Woody, A Toy Story

“People get into a rhythm that makes them resistant to change. To understand
the mind-set, try switching hands when you brush your teeth in the morning.”
Gary Gesme, Deere & Co.

“Whom the gods wish to destroy they send 40 years of success.”
Ancient Proverb

“The minute you’re satisfied with where you are, you aren’t there anymore.”
Tony Gwynn, Hall of Fame Baseball
player

“Without caring there can be no quality.”
Joel Barker, Future Edge

“It isn’t uncommon for managers at senior levels of large organizations to be
so out of touch with customer or production reality that they don’t know just
how broken some of their business processes are.”
Michael Hammer & James Champy, Reengineering The Corporation

“Hanging a sign on a cow that says ‘I am a horse’ does not make it a horse.”
Unknown

“Customers, I realized, don’t care about functions or specific activities that
occur within our organization. The end game is whether they are getting the
right product at the right time at a competitive price.”
Max Guinn, Deere & Co.

“Some people make things happen, some watch things happen, while others wonder
what has happened.”
Proverb

“You can celebrate accomplishments, but after a while, you need to start
celebrating the speed at which you’re traveling instead of the destination
you’ve reached.”
Max Guinn, Deere & Co.

“If all you have is a hammer in the toolbox, everything looks like a nail.”
Bernard Baruch, Financial Genius

“There are two types of people in the world, those who say ‘there are two types
of people in the world’ and those who don’t.”
Gloria Steinham

“New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other
reason but because they are not already common.”
John Locke

“The best presenters have conversations with their audiences.”
Robert Bly
Become a Recognized Authority in Your
Field in 60 Days or Less!

“Speed is useful only if you are running in the right direction.”
Joel Barker
Future Edge

“Those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of those who are
doing it.”
Anonymous

“Successful organizations make habits of things others don’t like to do, or
don’t find time to do.”
Don House

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will
appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all,
accurately so they will be guided by its light.”
Joseph Pulitzer, Editor

“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”
Paul Valery, Poet

“Individuals and organizations that are good react quickly to change. Individuals and organizations that are great
create change.”
Robert Kriegel, Sacred Cows Make The Best Burgers

“The only muscle that you’ve got is in between your ears.”
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

“The only thing certain about any negotiation is that it will lead to another
negotiation .”
Leigh Steinberg, Sports Agent

“How fast you are moving is more important than where you are.”
Guy Kawasaki, Rules for Revolutionaries

“One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be
done.”
Marie Curie
Nobel Prize Winning Physicist

“The quickest way to kill the human spirit is to ask someone to do mediocre
work.”
Ayn Rand

“If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my
ax.”
Abraham Lincoln

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did he would cease
to be an artist.”
Oscar Wilde, Poet

“If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the
universe.”
Dr. Carl Sagan, Astronomer

“You can’t blame the pen or the paper if you write a lousy essay, right?”
Laura Bergells, Presentation Consultant

“No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you’ll see
why.”
Mignon McLaughlin, US Journalist (1913-1983)

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
Mark Twain

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”
Albert Einstein

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”
Zig Ziglar

“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”
Sir Winston Churchill

“The only certain thing about a forecast is that it will be wrong.”
From Lean Thinking (Womack and Jones)

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
Norman Vincent Peale

“Without [taking a process perspective of business], business improvement
efforts amount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”
Michael Hammer & James Champy, Reengineering The Corporation

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them
yourself.”
Andy Warhol

“A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with
the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.”
Frank Herbert in Dune

“Uncertainty will always be part of the taking charge process.”
Harold Geneen

“You can’t improve anything if you can’t define it.”
Max Guinn, Deere & Co.

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what
you’re doing.”
W. Edwards Deming

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
Mark Twain

“People are the gatekeepers of change.”
Robert Kriegel, Sacred Cows Make The Best Burgers

“The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.”
Isaac Asimov

“There is a theory that paradigms break through on the fringe of your business
before they reach the center.”
Gary Gesme, Deere & Co.

“I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be
flexible at all times.”
Senator Everett Dirksen

“An organization becomes bewildered rather than energized when it’s asked to do
too much at once.”
Michael Hammer & James Champy, Reengineering The Corporation

“A good design is not a democratic consensus.”

Edward de Bono
, Six Action Shoes

“To succeed, or even just to survive, businesses need to be able to change in
ways, and at times, determined by business drivers, not by their IT systems.”
Tony Morgan, Business Rules and Information Systems: Aligning IT with Business Goals

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
Anonymous

#113 – my personal favorite: “If you try to do something and fail, you
are vastly better off than if you had tried nothing and succeeded.”

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Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the bestselling author of seven content marketing books including his latest, Content Inc. He has founded four companies, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), and his newest venture, The Tilt. His podcast series, This Old Marketing with Robert Rose, has generated millions of downloads from over 150 countries. He is also the author of The Random Newsletter, delivered to thousands every two weeks. His Foundation, The Orange Effect, delivers speech therapy and technology services to children in 35 states. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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