Quotes Uncovered: Wisdom From Business Leaders

Continuing with my requests for famous quotations and sayings that might make it into the next edition of The Yale Book of Quotations, I’d like now to ask for memorable recent (or not-so-recent) words of wit or wisdom from business leaders.

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  1. James Hoadley says:

    A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well. – Jeff Bezos

    Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won’t make people enjoy life more, and it sends out terrible messages to the people who work for them. It would be so much better if that money was spent in Africa – and it’s about getting a balance. – Richard Branson

    As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. – Bill Gates

    Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one. – Bill Gates

    If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1000 MPG. – Bill Gates

    Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. – Steve Jobs

    I want to put a ding in the universe. – Steve Jobs

    Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. – Steve Jobs

    An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. – Jack Welch

    Globalization has changed us into a company that searches the world, not just to sell or to source, but to find intellectual capital – the world’s best talents and greatest ideas. – Jack Welch

    A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought. – Warren Buffett

    Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. – Warren Buffett

    If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians. – Warren Buffett

    I have had all of the disadvantages required for success. – Larry Ellison

    When you live for others’ opinions, you are dead. I don’t want to live thinking about how I’ll be remembered. – Carlos Slim Helu

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  2. Victor Marshall says:

    You only don’t think it’s possible because no one has done it yet! – John McGovern

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  3. William C. Waterhouse says:

    If a smart person goes into a room with an orangutan
    and explains whatever his or her idea is, the orangutan
    just sits there eating his banana, and at the end of the
    conversation the person explaining comes out smarter.

    — Warren Buffett

    (quoted in K. Graham, _Personal History_, p. 536.
    Buffett attributes the general idea to his partner,
    Charlie Munger.)

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  4. Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team says:

    It’s the Economy, STUPID! — Bill Clinton
    You can any color as long as it’s black. –Henry Ford
    I think we’re having fun. —Steve Jobs
    Greed is Good. -Gekko

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  5. David L says:

    Drill: Gekko never said “greed is good.” The quote is “greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” which is qualitatively different.

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  6. David L says:

    There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

    - Sam Walton

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  7. ornery says:

    There’s a sucker born every minute.–P.T. Barnum

    The next one will be greater than the last.–O. bin Laden (the P.T. Barnum of terrorists)

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  8. Chuck Phipps, AAP, CTP says:

    If you find that you are working too hard, you’re probably using the wrong tool. –Herb Nagler

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