Quotations about   business

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The trail of the serpent reaches into all the lucrative professions and practices of man, Each has its own wrongs. Each finds a tender and very intelligent conscience a disqualification for success. Each requires of the practitioner a certain shutting of the eyes, a certain dapperness and compliance, an acceptance of customs, a sequestration from the sentiments of generosity and love, a compromise of private opinion and lofty integrity.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Man the Reformer,” lecture, Boston (25 Jan 1841)
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Added on 7-Nov-17 | Last updated 7-Nov-17
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Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) Austrian-American business consultant
(Attributed)

Frequently attributed to Drucker, but not found in his writings. See here for more discussion.
Added on 8-May-17 | Last updated 23-May-17
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When the rich rob the poor it’s called business. When the poor fight back it’s called violence.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Spurious)

Frequently, but incorrectly attributed to Twain, no earlier than 2015. It appears to have been an anonymous phrase coined in the Occupy Movement in 2011. See here for more information.
Added on 16-Jan-17 | Last updated 16-Jan-17
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Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

kierkegaard-most-men-pursue-pleasure-hurry-past-wist_info-quote

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Either/Or, Vol. 1 “Diapsalmata” (1843) [tr. Swenson (1959)]
Added on 4-Jan-17 | Last updated 4-Jan-17
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To furnish the means of acquiring knowledge is the greatest benefit that can be conferred upon mankind. It prolongs life itself and enlarges the sphere of existence.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Report on the Establishment of the Smithsonian Institution (c. 1846)
Added on 17-Oct-16 | Last updated 17-Oct-16
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If you attempt to beat a man down and to get his goods for less than a fair price, you are attempting to commit burglary, as much as though you broke into his shop to take the things without paying for them. There is cheating on both sides of the counter and generally less behind it than before it.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
(Attributed)

Quoted in John Bate, A Cyclopaedia Of Illustrations Of Moral And Religious Truths (1865)
Added on 5-Jul-16 | Last updated 5-Jul-16
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The engine which drives Enterprise is not Thrift, but Profit.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) English economist
The Treatise on Money (1930)
Added on 6-Apr-16 | Last updated 6-Apr-16
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I’m not really rich. I’m something far more noble I’m a job creator. [Heavenly chorus] Sort of the same way Patagonian tooth-fish became Chilean sea-bass. [Heavenly chorus] But y’know what, just by suggesting, just by bringing it up, that he is going to tax me more, Comrade Obama has created an atmosphere of uncertainty that makes me skittish about creating more jobs, yeah, I have been so freaked out that today at breakfast I could barely butter my gold. You see, you poor people, you don’t get how much “uncertainty” gives us job creators the willies. It’s terrifying — like when you find out your private island has natives; or when your wife notices the maid’s kid looks just like you; or when the limo driver tries to start a conversation. So tax me at a higher rate if you like, you’re practically firing yourselves. Because I’ll tell you something, I have been so shitting in my pants about this uncertainty thing, that yesterday I let go a dozen essential workers at my compound, including my Tivo programmer, my manscaper, the liposuctionist, my gardener’s personal trainer, my dog whisperer, the lookalike I hired to foil assassination attempts, my private farmer, the lady who dispenses hand sanitizer after our pre-show prayer circle, the girl I pay to mistake me for Jon Hamm, and the guy who takes care of the shark tank. Which reminds me, I’m gonna have to let go two sharks!

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
Real Time with Bill Maher (23 Sep 2011)
Added on 24-Feb-16 | Last updated 24-Feb-16
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One who is too nice an observer of the business of others, like one who is too curious in observing the labor of bees, will often be stung for his curiosity.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
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Added on 21-Jan-16 | Last updated 21-Jan-16
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I hold it to be our duty to see that the wage worker, the small producer, the ordinary consumer, shall get their fair share of the benefit of business prosperity. But it either is or ought to be evident to everyone that business has to prosper before anybody can get any benefit from it.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Speech, Ohio Constitutional Convention (1 Feb 1912)
Added on 9-Nov-15 | Last updated 9-Nov-15
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Business and pleasure, rightly understood, mutually assist each other, instead of being enemies, as silly or dull people often think them. No man tastes pleasures truly who does not earn them by previous business; and few people do business well who do nothing else.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (7 Aug 1749)
Added on 15-May-15 | Last updated 15-May-15
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Recently I asked three corporate executives what decisions they had made in the last year that they would not have made were it not for their it not for their corporate plans. All had difficulty in identifying one such decision. Since each of their plans were marked “secret” or “confidential,” I asked them how their competitors might benefit from the possession of their plans. Each answered with embarrassment that their competitors would not benefit. Yet these executives were strong advocates of corporate planning.

Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
“A Concept of Corporate Planning” (1969)
Added on 19-Feb-15 | Last updated 19-Feb-15
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The only way in which our people can increase their power over the big corporation that does wrong, the only way in which they can protect the working man in his conditions of work and life, the only way in which the people can prevent children working in industry or secure women an eight-hour day in industry, or secure compensation for men killed or crippled in industry, is by extending, instead of limiting, the powers of government.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Speech, San Francisco (14 Sep 1912)
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Added on 13-Nov-14 | Last updated 13-Nov-14
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So long as governmental power existed exclusively for the king and not at all for the people, then the history of liberty was a history of the limitation of governmental power. But now the governmental power rests in the people, and the kings who enjoy privilege are the kings of the financial and industrial world; and what they clamor for is the limitation of governmental power, and what the people sorely need is the extension of governmental power.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Speech, San Francisco (14 Sep 1912)
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Added on 10-Nov-14 | Last updated 10-Nov-14
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Business is a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life; this will enable them truly to serve the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to all.

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
Evangelii Gaudium, sec. 203 (24 Nov 2013)
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Added on 3-Sep-14 | Last updated 3-Sep-14
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To read the front pages, you might conclude that Americans are mostly out for themselves, venal, grasping, and mean-spirited. The front pages have room only for defense contractors who cheat and politicians with their hands in the till. But you can’t travel the back roads very long without discovering a multitude of gentle people doing good for others with no expectation of gain or recognition. The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.

Charles Kuralt (1934-1997) American journalist
On the Road with Charles Kuralt (1985)
Added on 21-May-14 | Last updated 21-May-14
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I hope we shall take warning from [England’s] example and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to George Logan (12 Nov 1816)
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Added on 4-Mar-14 | Last updated 4-Mar-14
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What’s important is not just to develop the technology; it’s to develop the processes.

Hal Abelson (contemp.) American mathematician, computer scientist, academic
(Attributed)
Added on 4-Feb-14 | Last updated 4-Feb-14
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For every special interest is entitled to justice, but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, to a voice on the bench, or to representation in any public office. The Constitution guarantees protections to property, and we must make that promise good. But it does not give the right of suffrage to any corporation. The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man’s making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have called into being.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
“The New Nationalism,” speech, Osawatomie, Kansas (31 Aug 1910)
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Added on 30-Oct-12 | Last updated 14-Apr-14
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To business that we love we rise betime
And go to it with delight.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, sc. 4, l. 20 (1606)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-May-16
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“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
A Christmas Carol (1843)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Jun-16
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