Tom Peters Favorite Quotes

TP’s “Top 41” Quotes
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”—Eleanor Roosevelt
As year’s end approaches, one tends (well, I tend) to think a little bit philosophically. To do the accounts of the year past—and to imagine the year to come. As I began that not(for me) very systematic process, I stumbled across the Eleanor Roosevelt remark above.
And it got me thinking—the whole point. To add a little fuel to the fire I mined a few old presentations for more spurs to both reflection and forethought. What emerged, in ever so haphazard a fashion, follows. It is not a listing of “business quotes,” though 100% are applicable to business. It is not a set of “motivational quotes” (perish the thought), though most are in some sense motivational. I guess it simply is what it is … some comments that may help you, if you’re so inclined, to ruminate on where you’ve been and where you might go in 2006:

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”—Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”—Helen Keller

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”—Mary Oliver

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”—James Dean

“The two most powerful things in existence: a kind word and a thoughtful
gesture.”—Ken Langone, founder, Home Depot

“The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated.”—William James

“Don’t belittle!”—OD Consultant, on the essence of a well-functioning human

“If you don’t listen, you don’t sell anything.”—Carolyn Marland/
MD/Guardian Group

“It was much later that I realized Dad’s secret. He gained respect by giving it. He talked and listened to the fourth-grade kids in Spring Valley who shined shoes the same way he talked and listened to a bishop or a college president. He was seriously interested in who you were and what you had to say.”—Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

“What creates trust, in the end, is the leader’s manifest respect for the
followers.”—Jim O’Toole, Leading Change

“If you can’t state your position in eight words or less, you don’t have a
position.”—Seth Godin

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the
world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead

“Make your life itself a creative work of art.”—Mike Ray, The Highest Goal

“Have you invested as much this year in your career as in your car?”—Molly Sargent,
OD consultant and trainer

“The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.”—James Yorke,
mathematician, on chaos theory in The New Scientist

“Tom, what have you done this year?”—Jessica Sutherland, Director, Institute for
International Research/Middle East (TP: “Yikes!”)

“To live is the rarest
thing in the world.
Most people exist,
that is all.”
—Oscar Wilde
“People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be
part of something they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.”—Howard Schultz, Starbucks

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”—Charles Darwin

“We may not be interested in chaos but chaos is interested in us.”—Robert Cooper, The
Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-first Century

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”—General Eric
Shinseki, retired Chief of Staff, U. S. Army

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”—Gandhi

“We eat change for breakfast!”—Harry Quadracci, founder, QuadGraphics

“If things seem under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”—Mario Andretti

“You can’t behave in a calm, rational manner. You’ve got to be out there on the lunatic fringe.”—Jack Welch, retired CEO, GE

“We have a ‘strategic’ plan. It’s called doing things.”—Herb Kelleher, founder,
Southwest Airlines

A man approached JP Morgan, held up an envelope, and said, “Sir, in
my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly
sell you for $25,000.” “Sir,” JP Morgan replied, “I do not know what is
in the envelope, however if you show me, and I like it, I give you my
word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.” The man agreed
to the terms, and handed over the envelope. JP Morgan opened it, and
extracted a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look, a mere glance,
then handed the piece of paper back to the gent. And paid him the
agreed-upon $25,000.

The Paper:
1. Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that
2. Do them.
“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busy
dying.”—The Shawshank Redemption (Tim Robbins)
“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”—Steve Jobs, Apple

“Groups become great only when everyone in them, leaders and members alike, is free to do his or her absolute best.”—Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman, Organizing Genius

“The best thing a leader can do for a Great Group is to allow its members to discover
their greatness.”—Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman, Organizing Genius

“You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend
or not.”—Isabel Allende

“Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional.”—Mark Sanborn, The Fred Factor

“A leader is a dealer in hope.”—Napoleon

“Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.”—Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“If you’re enthusiastic about the things you’re working on, people will come ask you to do interesting things.”—James Woolsey, former CIA director

“Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before
you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself
believe.”—Winston Churchill

“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”—Chinese Proverb

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”—John Quincy Adams

The greatest danger
for most of us
is not that our aim is
too high
and we miss it,
but that it is
too low
and we reach it.

“A year from now
you may wish you
had started today.”
—Karen Lamb

Tom Peters*: Leadership is all about love:
Appetite for Life,
Great Causes & Determination to Make a Damn Difference,
Commitment to Excellence,
Shared Adventures,
Bizarre Failures,
Growth Beyond Measure,
Insatiable Appetite for Change.

*Would have been No. 42, but it does not seem appropriate to quote oneself and count it as wisdom.


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