Quotations about   influence

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I am, by calling, a dealer in words; and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.

Kipling - Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind - wist.info quote

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
“Surgeons and the Soul,” speech, Royal College of Surgeons (14 Feb 1923)
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Added on 30-Nov-21 | Last updated 30-Nov-21
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Words are more powerful than perhaps anyone suspects, and once deeply engraved in a child’s mind, they are not easily eradicated.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
I Knew a Phoenix, “A Belgian School” (1959)
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Added on 9-Nov-21 | Last updated 9-Nov-21
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A cloudy day, or a little sunshine, have as great an influence on the constitutions as the most real blessings or misfortunes.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Spectator #162 (5 Sep 1711)
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Added on 27-Oct-21 | Last updated 27-Oct-21
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In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statues and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Debate #1, Ottawa, Illinois (21 Aug 1858)
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The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief, which is at the heart of all popular religion, that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
A Preface to Morals, Part 1, ch. 7 (1929)
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People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Witches Abroad (1991)
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Added on 15-Jun-21 | Last updated 15-Jun-21
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There are those in the industry who believe broadcasting can move men, and even some who believe it could move mountains, but they are outnumbered by those who believe all it has to do is move goods.

Alexander Kendrick (1910-1991) American journalist
Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow (1969)
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Added on 29-Jan-21 | Last updated 29-Jan-21
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But, of all motives, none is better adapted to secure influence and hold it fast than love; nothing is more foreign to that end than fear. […] For fear is but a poor safeguard of lasting power; while affection, on the other hand, may be trusted to keep it safe for ever.

[Omnium autem rerum nec aptius est quicquam ad opes tuendas ac tenendas quam diligi nec alienius quam timeri. … Malus enim est custos diuturnitatis metus contraque benivolentia fidelis vel ad perpetuitatem.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 2, ch. 7 / sec. 23 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]
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Discussing the fate of tyrants such as Julius Caesar. Original Latin. Alternate translations:

Now of all those methods, which tend to the advancement and maintenance of our interest, there is none more proper and convenient than love, and none more improper and inconvenient than fear. [...] For obedience, proceeding from fear, cannot possibly be lasting; whereas that which is the effect of love will be faithful for ever.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

Of all means there is none better fitted for supporting and retaining our influence than to be loved; or more foreign to it, than to be feared. [...] Fear is a false and short-lived security, but the love of men is faithful and lasting.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

Now, of all things there is none more adapted for supporting and retaining our influence than to be loved, nor more prejudicial than to be feared. [...] For fear is but a bad guardian to permanency, whereas affection is faithful even to perpetuity.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

But of all things nothing tends so much to the guarding and keeping of resources as to be the object of affection; nor is anything more foreign to that end than to be the object of fear. [...] For fear is but a poor guardian for permanent possession, and, on the other hand, good will is faithful so long as there can be need of its loyalty.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

Added on 25-Jan-21 | Last updated 25-Jan-21
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When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and true maxim “that aa drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what you will, is the great high-road to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgement of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause really be a just one.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Speech, Washingtonian Temperance Society, Springfield, Illinois (22 Feb 1842)
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Added on 21-Jan-21 | Last updated 21-Jan-21
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Ignorance iz the wet nuss of prejudice.

[Ignorance is the wet nurse of prejudice.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Puddin and Milk” (1874)
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Added on 2-Jul-20 | Last updated 2-Jul-20
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Human blunders, however, usually do more to shape history than human wickedness.

A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) British historian, journalist, broadcaster [Alan John Percivale Taylor]
The Origins of the Second World War, ch. 10 “The War of Nerves” (1961)
Added on 15-Apr-20 | Last updated 15-Apr-20
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We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Speech, House of Commons (28 Oct 1943)
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During the debate over rebuilding the House of Commons, which had been destroyed during a German bombing.
Added on 1-Apr-20 | Last updated 1-Apr-20
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Home is in every sentence of your writing.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“The Art of Fiction,” Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990)
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Added on 12-Mar-20 | Last updated 12-Mar-20
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An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) French writer, novelist
Letter to Louise Colet (9 Dec 1852)
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In a later letter to Leoroyer de Chanepie (18 Mar 1857), he repeated the sentiment: "The artist must be in his work as God is in creation, invisible and all-powerful; one must sense him everywhere but never see him."
Added on 13-Feb-20 | Last updated 10-Jun-21
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“Praying for particular things,” said I, “always seems to me like advising God how to run the world. Wouldn’t it be wiser to assume that He knows best?”

“On the same principle,” said he, “I suppose you never ask a man next to you to pass the salt, because God knows best whether you ought to have salt or not. And I suppose you never take an umbrella, because God knows best whether you ought to be wet or dry.”

“That’s quite different,” I protested.

“I don’t see why,” said he. “The odd thing is that He should let us influence the course of events at all. But since He lets us do it in one way, I don’t see why He shouldn’t let us do it in the other.”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
God in the Dock, Part 2, ch. 7 “Scraps,” #4 (1970)
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Added on 5-Feb-20 | Last updated 5-Feb-20
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Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Starting from Scratch, Part 3 “The Work,” “The Passive Voice, or The Secret Agent” (1989)
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Added on 26-Nov-18 | Last updated 26-Nov-18
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A man who marries a woman to educate her falls victim to the same fallacy as the woman who marries a man to reform him.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American writer, businessman, philosopher
The Note Book of Elbert Hubbard (1927)
Added on 8-Aug-18 | Last updated 8-Aug-18
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When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
Seder Nashim, Kiddushin 30a

Paraphrase of "This serves to say to you that whoever teaches his son Torah, the verse ascribes him credit as though he taught him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the end of all generations" (alt. trans. "to him who teaches his son Torah, the Writ ascribes merit as though he had taught him, his son and his son's son until the end of all time!"). This is in turn referenced to Deut. 4:9.
Added on 27-Jul-17 | Last updated 31-Jul-17
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Civility costs nothing, and buys everything.

Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) English aristocrat, letter writer, poet [née Pierrepont]
Letter to Mary, Countess of Bute (30 May 1756)
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Be as careful of the books you read as of the company you keep, for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter.

Edwin Paxton Hood (1820-1885) English nonconformist minister and author
Self-Formation (1858 ed.)
Added on 22-Sep-16 | Last updated 22-Sep-16
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I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)
Added on 15-Sep-16 | Last updated 15-Sep-16
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We are as liable to be corrupted by our books as by our companions.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) English novelist, dramatist, satirist
“A Fragment of a Comment on Lord Bolingbroke’s Essays” (1755)
Added on 8-Sep-16 | Last updated 8-Sep-16
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There are few mortals so insensible that their affections cannot be gained by mildness; their confidence by sincerity; their hatred by scorn or neglect.

Johann Georg Zimmermann (1728-1795) Swiss philosophical writer, naturalist, physician
Aphorisms and Reflections on Men, Morals and Things (1800)
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Added on 17-Aug-16 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.

Shakespeare - how far that little candle - wist_info quote

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
The Merchant of Venice, Act 5, sc. 1 (c. 1597)

Sometimes attributed to Roald Dahl; Willy Wonka uses the line toward the end of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Added on 11-Aug-16 | Last updated 11-Aug-16
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In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
“Farewell Address” (17 Jan 1961)
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Mister Marvin Middle Class is really in a stew
Wond’rin’ what the younger generation’s coming to
And the taste of his martini doesn’t please his bitter tongue
Blame it on the Rolling Stones.
Blame it on the Stones; blame it on the Stones
You’ll feel so much better, knowing you don’t stand alone
Join the accusation; save the bleeding nation
Get it off your shoulders; blame it on the Stones.

Kris Kristofferson (b. 1936) American singer, songwriter, musician, actor
“Blame It on The Stones” (1970) [with Bucky Wilkin]
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The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.

Stendhal (1783-1842) French writer [pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle]
Letter (c. 1818)

Variants:
  • "The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his are the same."
  • "The shepherd ... can never convince his flock of sheep that his interests and theirs are identical."
Added on 6-Aug-15 | Last updated 6-Aug-15
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My father had a profound influence on me. He was a lunatic.

Terence Alan "Spike" Milligan (1918-2002) Anglo-Irish comedian, writer, actor
(Attributed)
Added on 6-Aug-15 | Last updated 6-Aug-15
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No action, whether foul or fair,
Is ever done, but it leaves somewhere
A record, written by fingers ghostly,
As a blessing or a curse, and mostly
In the greater weakness or greater strength
Of the acts which follow it.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
Christus, pt. 2 “A Village Church” (1872)
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To work a Man to thy Bent: 1. Know his Inclinations. 2. Observe his Ends. 3. Search out his Weakness. And so thou mayst either draw or drive him.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Introductio ad Prudentiam, #1068 (1725)
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The result of a single action may spread like the circles that expand when a stone is thrown into a pond, until they touch places and people unguessed at by the person who threw the stone.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
“Literature and Moral Purpose” (1990)
Added on 18-May-15 | Last updated 18-May-15
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The very man who has argued you down, will sometimes be found, years later, to have been influenced by what you said.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Reflections on the Psalms (1964)
Added on 15-Aug-14 | Last updated 15-Aug-14
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It’s frightening to think that you mark your children merely by being yourself.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) French author, existentialist philosopher, feminist theorist
Les Belles Images, ch. 3 (1966) [tr. O’Brian (1968)]
Added on 27-Dec-11 | Last updated 12-Feb-18
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Of the best rulers
The people (only) know that they exist;
The next best they love and praise;
The next they fear;
And the next they revile.
When they do not command the people’s faith,
Some will lose faith in them,
And then they resort to oaths!
But (of the best) when their task is accomplished, their work done,
The people all remark, “We have done it ourselves.”

Lao-tzu (604?-531? BC) Chinese philosopher, poet [also Lao-tse, Laozi]
The Wisdom of Laotse, ch 17 (1948) [tr. Lin Yutang]

Alt. trans. [Tao-te Ching tr. Wing-Tsit Chan]:
"The best are those whose existence is merely known by the people.
The next best are those who are loved and praised.
The next are those who are feared. And the next are those who are reviled.
The great rulers accomplish their task; they complete their work.
Nevertheless their people say that they simply follow Nature."
Added on 28-Feb-08 | Last updated 6-Apr-17
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Par-runts of rugmonkeys everywhere are worrying that their children will want to become Force-wielding breath masked Sithlords? Sweet Cream-of-Jesus on TOAST POINTS, people!! So now we have to fear that every crib-lizard that loves Anakin Skywalker will become Evil Incarnate. It’s been a lovely planet, but I think I need to go, now.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Alan D. Swan
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Nov-21
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He is aloof, as if his talk
Were priced beyond the purchasing;
But once his project is contrived,
The folk will want to say of it:
“Of course! We did it by ourselves!”

Lao-tzu (604?-531? BC) Chinese philosopher, poet [also Lao-tse, Laozi]
The Way of Life, ch. 17 [tr. Blakney (1955)]

Alt. trans.:
  • "A good manager is best when people barely know that he exists. Not so good when people obey and acclaim him. Worse when they despise him. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done -- his aim fulfilled, they will say: 'We did it ourselves.'"
  • "When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Jan-20
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There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Time Must Have a Stop (1944)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Sep-16
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