- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony.
Please feel free to browse and borrow.
- 18,841 quotes and counting ...
Author CloudAdams, John • Aristotle • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterfield (Lord) • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Cicero, Marcus Tullius • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Homer • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Lyndon • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Seneca the Younger • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Sophocles • Stevenson, Robert Louis • Twain, Mark
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
Most Quoted Authors
Topic Cloudaction age America beauty belief change character death democracy education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history human nature humanity integrity leadership liberty life love morality perspective politics power pride progress reality religion science society success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (9,007)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (6,375)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (6,144)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (5,388)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,931)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (4,577)
- “Tips for Teens,” Social Studies (1981) (4,384)
- “In Search of a Majority,” Speech,… (4,043)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (3,842)
- “Get a Knife, Get a Dog, but Get Rid of… (3,792)
- “Notes on Nationalism” (1945) on
- Notice to email subscribers on
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- A Writer’s Notebook (1949) on
- The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 6, l. 180ff [Odysseus to Nausicaa] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Rieu (1946)] on
- Meditations, Book 2, #11 [tr. Gill (2014)] on
- “We’ll Meet Again” (1939) [with Hughie Charles] on
- Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #3366 (1732) on
- In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010) on
Do you know what makes a leader? It’s the man or woman who can persuade people to do what they ought to do — and which they sometimes don’t do — without being persuaded. They must also have the ability to persuade people to do what they do not want to do and like it.
Speech, Annapolis (24 May 1952)
Truman used this phrase multiple times in his speech and writing:
- Common paraphrase: "You know what makes leadership? It is the ability to get men to do what they don't want to do and like it."
- "I could see that history had some extremely valuable lessons to teach. I learned from it that a leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do, and like it." -- Memoirs, Book 1 (1955)]
- "My definition of a leader in a free country is a man who can persuade people to do what they don't want to do, or do what they're too lazy to do, and like it." -- Where the Buck Stops (1990) [ed. M. Truman]
Added on 4-Jan-16 | Last updated 4-Jan-16