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Leadership Quotes

Thursday, September 25, 2003

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Dr. Pournelle,

Your column and readers inspire me from time to time. I have collected the most inspirational (to me) quotes from your site. I send them to you now as my way of saying thanks.

Rod Wittler

"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." -- Theodore Roosevelt

"I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution." -- U.S. Grant

"That is something up with which I will not put." -- W. Churchill

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." -- Napoleon Bonaparte.

"There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't." -- Unknown

"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." -- James Thurber

" there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new." -- Machiavelli, The Prince?

"In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all, and it often comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better. But this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it, will make you less miserable now. I have had enough experience to make this statement." -- Abraham Lincoln

"That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers." -- Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in "Oath of Fealty"

"From the Far East I send you one single thought, one sole idea -- written in red on every beachhead from Australia to Tokyo - "There is no substitute for victory!" -- Douglas MacArthur

"Great Spirits often encounter violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence." -- Albert Einstein

"No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy." -- Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

"Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return." -- Colin Powell

Oscar Wilde: "I wish I had said that." Friend: "Don't worry, Oscar, within an hour you will have."

"Forgive everybody everything everyday." -- Dulles

"When we have strong values, decision making is easy." -- Roy Disney

"The will to succeed is important, but the will to prepare is more important." -- Bobby Knight

"We often need reminding even if we do not often need educating." -- Samuel Johnson

"When a stupid man is doing something he knows is wrong, he always insists that it is his duty." -- Appolodorus the Sicilian in Caesar and Cleopatra

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

"We do not live by rule of law, because no one can possibly go a day without breaking one or another of the goofy laws that have been imposed on us over the years. No one even KNOWS all the laws that apply to almost anything we do now. We live in a time of selective enforcement of law." -- Dr. J. E. Pournelle

"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded - here and there, now and then - are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as bad luck." -- Robert Heinlein

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury." -- Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1742-1813), Scottish jurist and historian, professor of Universal History at Edinburgh University

"Nothing good ever happens after midnight." -- Bo Schembechler

"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." -- Catherine Aird

Also, concerning Rod Wittler's list of quotes -- For some time I have been keeping a list of quotes that strike my fancy. Here are a few of them that I believe (not all confirmed) have appeared on your site at one time or another.

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues."-- Abraham Lincoln

"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul."-- George Bernard Shaw

"Gold cannot always get you good soldiers, but good soldiers can always get you gold"-- Niccolo Machiavelli

"The arrogance of some of those who are so damned sure they are right is just astounding. Scientific witch hunts are often the worst kind, and have been since the secular authorities stopped enforcing the local bishop's decrees of anathema."-- Jerry Pournelle

"Freedom is not free. It is bought at a high price. It can be squandered cheaply."-- Jerry Pournelle

"One of the things we must be able to agree to is to lose an election and not take to the streets."-- Jerry Pournelle

"In this complex world, the scientific method, and the consequences of the scientific method are central to everything the human race is doing and to wherever we are going."-- R. A. Heinlein

"Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free."-- Unknown

"A mind is like a parachute; it works best when fully opened."-- Unknown

"I may despise what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."-- Voltaire (ascribed to)

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."-- Winston Churchill

Cheers, Clyde Wisham