Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

William Congreve (1670-1729) English dramatist
The Mourning Bride (1697)
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There is no such thing as absolute truth; there are only degrees of plausibility.

Peter Connolly (1935-2012) British archaeologist, military historian
(Attributed)
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Every age is fed on illusions, lest men should renounce life early and the human race come to an end.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Polish-English novelist [b. Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski]
Victory: An Island Tale, ch. 3 (1915)
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Man has an incurable habit of not fulfilling the prophecies of his fellow men.

Alistair Cooke (1908-2004) Anglo-American essayist and journalist
Talk About America, ch. 8 (1968)
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You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Polish-English novelist [b. Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski]
Lord Jim, ch. 34 (Marlow) (1900)
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A professional is a person who can do his best at a time when he doesn’t particularly feel like it.

Alistair Cooke (1908-2004) Anglo-American essayist and journalist
(Attributed)
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Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshiped.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Speech in Boston (11 Jun. 1928)
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If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you, and you have to battle with only one of them.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Recounted by Herbert Hoover as advice he received as Coolidge's Secretary of Commerce. Often quoted without the final "and you ..." section. See also Coolidge.
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Colonel, never go out to meet trouble. If you will just sit still, nine cases out of ten someone will intercept it before it reaches you.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)

To Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., on enforcement of Prohibition (1924). See also Coolidge.
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We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)
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Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil; our great hope lies in developing what is good.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)
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In the discharge of the duties of the office there is one of action more important than all others. It consists in never doing anything that some one else can do for you.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
Autobiography (1929)
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The meaning of America is not to be found in a life without toil. Freedom is not only bought with a great price; it is maintained by unremitting effort.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
(Attributed)
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The tendency of democracies is, in all things, to mediocrity.

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) American novelist
“On the Disadvantages of Democracy,” The American Democrat (1838)
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The same fence that shuts others out shuts you in.

William Taylor (Bill) Copeland (1797-1868) British politician
(Attributed)

in Reader's Digest, Nov. 1989
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You become a champion by fighting one more round. When things are tough, you fight one more round.

James Corbett (1866-1933) Irish-American boxer [a.k.a. Gentleman Jim]
(Attributed)
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The heart of marriage is memories.

Bill Cosby (b. 1937) American comedian
Love and Marriage (1989)
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Rule of Thumb #26: When in doubt, power cycle.

Joel C. Corcoran (b. 1968) American technology attorney
(Attributed)
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Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.

Bill Cosby (b. 1937) American comedian
(Attributed)
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I guess the real reason that my wife and I had children is the same reason that Napoleon had for invading Russia: it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Bill Cosby (b. 1937) American comedian
Fatherhood, ch. 3 (1986)
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The childless experts on child raising also bring tears of laughter to my eyes when they say,

Bill Cosby (b. 1937) American comedian
Fatherhood, ch. 5 (1986)
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I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.

Bill Cosby (b. 1937) American comedian
(Attributed)
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What the use of having ignorance if you can’t show it?

Lou Costello (1906-1959) American comedian
(Attributed)
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The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.

Norman Cousins (1915-1990) American editor
(Attributed)
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There is a tendency to mistake data for wisdom, just as there has always been a tendency to confuse logic with values, intelligence with insight. Unobstructed access to facts can produce unlimited good only if it is matched by the desire and ability to find out what they mean and where they lead. Facts are terrible things if left sprawling and unattended. They are too easily regarded as evaluated certainties rather than as the rawest of raw materials crying to be processed into the texture of logic. It requires a very unusual mind, Whitehead said, to undertake the analysis of a fact. The computer can provide a correct number, but it may be an irrelevant number until judgment is pronounced.

Norman Cousins (1915-1990) American editor
Human Options: An Autobiographical Notebook, “Freedom as Teacher” (1981)
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Death is not the enemy; living in constant fear of it is.

Norman Cousins (1915-1990) American editor
The Healing Heart (1983)
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Management works within the paradigm. Leadership creates new paradigms. Management works within the system. Leadership works on the system. You manage ‘things’ but you lead people.

Stephen R. Covey (1932-2012) American consultant, author
First Things First (1994)

(with Merrill & Merrill)
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You ask my advice about acting? Speak clearly, don’t bump into the furniture and if you must have motivation, think of your pay packet on Friday.

Noël Coward (1899-1973) English playwright, actor, wit
(Attributed)


Quoted in Dick Richards, The Wit of Noël Coward (1968): "Just say the lines and don't trip over the furniture."

Also attributed to Spencer Tracy.

 

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Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.

Noël Coward (1899-1973) English playwright, actor, wit
Private Lives, Act I (Amanda) (1930)
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Freedom has a thousand charms to show that slaves, howe’er contented, cannot know.

William Cowper (1731-1800) English poet
(Attributed)
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Habit with him was all the test of truth,
“It must be right: I’ve done it from my youth.”

George Crabbe (1754-1832) English poet, writer, surgeon, clergyman
The Borough, Letter 3 “The Vicar,” l. 138 (1810)
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Exactness is the sublimity of fools.

[L’exactitude est le sublime des sots.]

William Cowper (1731-1800) English poet
The Task, Book 3, l. 187 (1785)
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You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.

Frank Crane (1861-1929) American clergyman, journalist
(Attributed)
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Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.

Joan Crawford (1908-1977) American actress
(Attributed)
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“Think as I think,” said a man,
“Or you are abominably wicked;
You are a toad.”
And after I had thought of it,
I said, “I will, then, be a toad.”

Stephen Crane (1871-1900) American writer, poet
“‘Think as I Think,’ Said a Man” (1899)
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If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside.

Robert X. Cringely (contemp.) American technology columnist [pseud. for Mark Stephens and others]
“Notes from the Field,” InfoWorld (6 Mar 1989)
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HAMMOND: When they opened Disneyland in 1956 nothing worked.
MALCOLM: Yeah, but, John, if the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.

Michael Crichton (1942-2008) American author, producer, director, and screenwriter
Jurassic Park (movie) (1993)
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The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Mostly Harmless (1992)
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What I love the most about deadlines is the whooshing sound they make as they go by.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Salmon of Doubt (2002)
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We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.

Abigail Adams (1744-1818) American correspondent, First Lady (1797-1801)
Letter to John Adams (1774)
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By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes to be his duty against the influences of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
“The History of Freedom in Antiquity,” Speech, Bridgenorth Institute (28 Feb 1877)
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Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
Letter (23 Jan 1861)
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The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
“The History of Freedom in Antiquity,” Speech, Bridgenorth Institute (28 Feb 1877)
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There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
Letter (23 Jan 1861)
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VENKMAN: Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

Dan Aykroyd (b. 1952) Canadian comedian
Ghostbusters (with Harold Ramis) (1984)
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EGON: There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.
VENKMAN: What?
EGON: Don’t cross the streams.
VENKMAN: Why?
EGON: It would be bad.
VENKMAN: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean “bad”?
EGON: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
RAY: Total protonic reversal.
VENKMAN: That’s bad. Okay. All right, important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

Dan Aykroyd (b. 1952) Canadian comedian
Ghostbusters (with Harold Ramis) (1984)
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RAY: Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.
PECK: They caused an explosion!
MAYOR: Is this true?
VENKMAN: Yes, it’s true. This man has no dick.

Dan Aykroyd (b. 1952) Canadian comedian
Ghostbusters (with Harold Ramis) (1984)
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RAY: I think we better split up.
EGON: Good idea.
VENKMAN: Yeah. We can do more damage that way.

Dan Aykroyd (b. 1952) Canadian comedian
Ghostbusters (1984) [with Harold Ramis]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 24-Jun-10
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RAY: Symmetrical book stacking. Just like the Philadelphia Mass Turbulence of 1947.
VENKMAN: You’re right. No human being would stack books like this.

Dan Aykroyd (b. 1952) Canadian comedian
Ghostbusters (with Harold Ramis) (1984)
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ELWOOD: It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.
JAKE: Hit it!

Dan Aykroyd (b. 1952) Canadian comedian
The Blues Brothers (with John Landis) (1980)
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I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Diane Ackerman (b. 1948) American poet, author, naturalist
Newsweek (22 Sep. 1986)
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The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.

Bella Abzug (1920-1998) American politician
Bella! (1972)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The establishment is made up of little men, very frightened.

Bella Abzug (1920-1998) American politician
(Attributed)
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Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel.

Bella Abzug (1920-1998) American politician
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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While I have an almost insatiable craving for knowledge, I believe death to be the final and perhaps greatest teacher — the one that provides the key to the ultimate questions life has never answered. In my darkest hours I have been consoled by the thought that death at least is a payment for the answer of life’s haunting secrets.

Morris B. Abram (1918-2000) American diplomat, civil rights lawyer
The Wall Street Journal
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