Now that I have grown old, I realize that for most of us it is not enough to have achieved personal success. One’s best friend must also have failed.William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright
On his 85th birthday. Quoted in Richard Cordell, Somerset Maugham: A Biographical and Critical Study (1961). Cordell mentions the influence of La Rochefoucauld, and the quote is often attributed to him though it is not in his Maxims. Also attributed to Gore Vidal, Iris Murdoch, Genghis Khan. (More info here.)
Pithier (and more common) paraphrases:
- "It is not enough to succeed; one’s best friend must fail."
- "It is not enough to succeed; one’s friends must fail."
- "It is not enough to succeed; others must fail."
- "It’s not enough that I should succeed, others should fail."
- "It is not sufficient that I succeed –- all others must fail."