Tidbits & Quotes: June 2004


  • This is a collection of tidbits and quotes.
  • eMail: stefan@smalla.net


  • Everything here is my very personal collection and does not reflect the opinions of current or past employers, nor does it stem from confidential information obtained there. Also, I do not personally share the opinion of all of the quotes posted here.



I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Robert McCloskey

Posted Jun 30, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

That's the biggest obstacle for so many people, in the business world or the athletic world. There are too many people out there who don't take chances and make things happen because they fear failure. Certain guys can find a way to get to the winner's circle, while other greats fall just short despite individual stardom. I often discuss this topic when I give my motivational talks via the Washington Speakers Bureau. Speaking to marketing groups and sales people, we discuss closing the deal, the ability to finish it off. So many people can initiate a deal, but then they can't find a way to close it. It's the same way in sports. Some can get their teams the lead until the four-minute mark, but then in crunch time -- what I often call "winning time" -- they can't get it done. Guys like Jordan, Derek Jeter and Bryant find a way to get the job done in winning time, in memorable fashion.

Dick Vitale, Sports Reporter

Posted Jun 29, 2004 | # | Category: Magazines & Sites

Don't be humble. You're not that great.

Golda Meir, Politician


Posted Jun 28, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.

Arnold Toynbee, Historian


Posted Jun 27, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

Michael Jackson

From the song "Man in the Mirror"

Posted Jun 26, 2004 | # | Category: Poetry & Music

If you don't have a valid business model, scaling up only means losing money faster.

Terry Opdendyk, Venture Capitalist

Posted Jun 25, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

I'm talking to an empty telephone, 'cause there is a dead man on the other end of this fuckin' line.

Robert de Niro (as Neil McCauley)

From the movie "Heat"

Posted Jun 24, 2004 | # | Category: Movies & TV

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

Posted Jun 23, 2004 | # | Category: Poetry & Music

Do what you like, but like what you do.

Winston Churchill, British Statesman


Posted Jun 22, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

You don't get anything clean without getting something else dirty.

Cecil Baxter

Posted Jun 21, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

I'm never absolutely sure of anything, and I don't want to be. You're either right and you'll pull through, or you're not. We're never going to be right about everything, and we've certainly been wrong.

Barry Diller, CEO of InterActiveCorp

Quoted in Fortune on May 3, 2004.

Posted Jun 20, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

But there is one way in which countries will never be like companies. Companies can rise, fail, fall and disappear. Countries can rise, fail and fall -- but they rarely disappear. Instead, they stick around as failed states.

From the book "The Lexus and the Olive Tree"

By Thomas L. Friedman
Chapter 17, page 339

Posted Jun 19, 2004 | # | Category: Books

It is not always recognized that, to function best, morality should sometimes appear unfair, like most worldly outcomes. The craving for perfect fairness causes a lot of terrible problems in system function. Some systems should be made deliberately unfair to individuals because they’ll be fairer on average for all of us. I frequently cite the example of having your career over, in the Navy, if your ship goes aground, even if it wasn’t your fault. I say the lack of justice for the one guy that wasn’t at fault is way more than made up by a greater justice for everybody when every captain of a ship always sweats blood to make sure the ship doesn’t go aground. Tolerating a little unfairness to some to get a greater fairness for all is a model I recommend to all of you.

Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway


Posted Jun 18, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

So, economics should emulate physics' basic ethos, but its search for precision in physics–like formulas is almost always wrong in economics.

Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway


Posted Jun 17, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr, Theologian


Posted Jun 16, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

Well practically everybody (1) overweighs the stuff that can be numbered, because it yields to the statistical techniques they’re taught in academia, and (2) doesn’t mix in the hard-to-measure stuff that may be more important. That is a mistake I’ve tried all my life to avoid, and I have no regrets for having done that.

Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway


Posted Jun 15, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

One reason I don't drink is that I want to know when I am having a good time.

Nancy Astor, British Politician


Posted Jun 14, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

Profits Are Nature's Way Of Saying You Are A Useful Part Of The Ecosystem.

Mark Anderson, Publisher of SNS Newsletter

Posted Jun 13, 2004 | # | Category: Magazines & Sites

Life and Death

I thought of death beside the lonely sea
That went beyond the limit of my sight,
Seeming the image of his mastery,
The semblance of his huge and gloomy might.

But firm beneath the sea went the great earth,
With sober bulk and adamantine hold,
The water but a mantle for her girth,
That played about her splendor fold on fold.

And life seemed like this dear familiar shore
That stretched from the wet sand’s last wavy crease,
Beneath the sea’s remote and sombre roar,
To inland stillness and the wilds of peace.

Death seems triumphant only here and there;
Life is the sovereign presence everywhere.

Duncan Campbell Scott


Posted Jun 12, 2004 | # | Category: Poetry & Music

If I ache, it's because we are apart and yet that can't be because you are inside and a part of me, so we really aren't apart at all. Yet I ache but wouldn't be without the ache, because that would mean being without you and that I can't be because I love you.

Ronald Reagan, US President

In a letter to his wife Nancy in 1963

Posted Jun 11, 2004 | # | Category: Poetry & Music

You know, by the time you reach my age, you've made plenty of mistakes if you've lived your life properly. So you learn. You put things in perspective. You pull your energies together. You change. You go forward. My fellow Americans, I have a great deal that I want to accomplish with you and for you over the next two years. And, the Lord willing, that's exactly what I intend to do.

Ronald Reagan, US President

In 1987 regarding the Iran arms affair

Posted Jun 10, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations

We are creating a nation once again vibrant, robust, and alive. There are many mountains yet to climb. We will not rest until every American enjoys the fullness of freedom, dignity, and opportunity as our birthright. It is our birthright as citizens of this great republic.

Ronald Reagan, US President

Second inaugural address in 1985

Posted Jun 09, 2004 | # | Category: Speeches

So, you can see why, to me, the story of these last eight years and this presidency goes far beyond any personal concerns. It is a continuation, really, of a far larger story, a story of a people and a cause. A cause that, from our earliest beginnings, has defined us as a nation and given purpose to our national existence. The hope of human freedom, the quest for it, the achievement of it, is the American saga.

Ronald Reagan, US President

Parting radio address in 1989

Posted Jun 08, 2004 | # | Category: Speeches

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth' to ‘touch the face of God.'

Ronald Reagan, US President

To the nation after the shuttle disaster in 1986

Posted Jun 07, 2004 | # | Category: Speeches

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Ronald Reagan, US President

Adressing Mikhail Gorbachev in Berlin in 1987

Posted Jun 06, 2004 | # | Category: Speeches

In fact, America's relationship to the rest of the world today is a lot like Michael Jordan's relationship was -- in his heyday -- with the rest of the NBA. Every other player and team wanted to beat Michael Jordan; every other player and team hated him for the way he could expose all their weaknesses; every other player and team measured themselves against Michael Jordan, and to some extent modeled their moves after him; every other player and team constantly complained that the referees let Michael Jordan get away with all sorts of fouls that no one else could. But despite of all of that, none of the other teams really wanted to see Michael Jordan injured or retire, because anytime he came into town every seat was sold. He was the straw that stirred the drink for them all.

From the book "The Lexus and the Olive Tree"

By Thomas L. Friedman
Chapter 16, page 313/314

Posted Jun 05, 2004 | # | Category: Books

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?

Scott Adams, Comic Author

Posted Jun 04, 2004 | # | Category: Quotations


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