Quotes Uncovered: Who Said No Crisis Should Go to Waste?

Quotes Uncovered

75 ThumbnailHere are more quote authors and origins Shapiro’s tracked down recently.

A while back, I invited readers to submit quotations for which they wanted me to try to trace the origins, using The Yale Book of Quotations and more recent research by me. Hundreds of people have responded via comments or e-mails. I am responding as best I can, a few per week.

Ben asked:

Thanks for tracking these down! I’ve heard this quote attributed to everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Ben Hogan: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

The Yale Book of Quotations quotes F. L. Emerson in 1947: “I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.” Subsequent research by me, however, has found this saying used in a 1934 book, certainly not by Thomas Jefferson.

Westy asked:

How about the very recent “Don’t waste a crisis”? Did that phrase/quote have usage prior to Rahm Emanuel?”

Charles Doyle of the University of Georgia, my coauthor on the forthcoming Yale Book of Modern Proverbs, has found that this expression is now commonly applied to economic or diplomatic crises that can be exploited to advance political agendas, but he traced it back at least as far as 1976, when M. F. Weiner wrote an article in the journal Medical Economics entitled “Don’t Waste a Crisis — Your Patient’s or Your Own.” Weiner meant by this that a medical crisis can be used to improve aspects of personality, mental health, or lifestyle.

Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?

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  1. Eric says:

    Did I invent the phrase “The only difference between a rut and a routine is 4 letters”, or do I just not remember hearing anyone say it before?

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  2. PG says:

    “Life is a game of supply and demand.”

    It sounds like something you would say but I am having trouble finding the source..

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  3. Telly says:

    People get the government they deserve.

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  4. Brandon says:

    This might be out of the realm of this column…but…

    “You know, it’s beautiful over there.”

    I had heard this was attributed to Thomas Edison, who apparently was pronounced dead, only to come back, say this sentence, and then promptly die again. Too much of a reach?

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  5. Beth says:

    What about: “Democracy is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”

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  6. Walt French says:

    Who first dissed, “trying the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results?”

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    • einstien says:

      Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein.

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  7. nobody.really says:

    “A good slogan can stop (critical?) analysis for 50 years.”

    Most recently seen here: http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/kpsgill/governance/07feb17Pio.htm

    Attributed to people from Karl Marx to political scientist Paul Dawson.

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  8. nobody.really says:

    Also, last January Timothy Rosa asked about the quote “If I had more time I would write more.” You noted Pascal’s line, “I have made this [letter] longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” But perhaps Rosa was searching for the Issac Asimov quote. When this wildly prolific author was asked what he would do if he only had six months left to live, he allegedly remarked, “Type faster.”

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