Inspired Leadership Quotes

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Albert Einstein
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Bill Gates
  • Dalai Lama
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Martin Luther King
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Richard Branson
  • Steve Jobs

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

“With malice toward none, with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

“Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. That every man may receive at least a moderate education, and thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance, even on this account alone, to say nothing of the advantages and satisfaction to be derived from all being able to read the Scriptures, and other works both of a religious and moral nature, for themselves.”

“Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say, for one, that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow-men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.”

“Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.”

“The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.”

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.”

“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.”

“I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruit of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes with any other man’s rights.”

“Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere.”

“The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves — in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.”

“This is a world of compensation; and he would be no slave must consent to have no slaves. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.”

“I know of nothing so pleasant to the mind, as the discovery of anything which is at once new and valuable — nothing which so lightens and sweetens toil, as the hopeful pursuit of such discovery.”

“No country can sustain, in idleness, more than a small percentage of its numbers. The great majority must labor at something productive.”

“A capacity, and taste, for reading, gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so. It gives a relish, and facility, for successfully pursuing the [yet] unsolved ones.”

“I hold that while man exists, it is his duty to improve not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating mankind.”

“The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds.”

“Property is the fruit of labor — property is desirable — is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”

“I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once that it was not best to swap horses when crossing streams.”

“I am thankful to God for this approval of the people; but, while deeply grateful for this mark of their confidence in me, if I know my heart, my gratitude is free from any taint of personal triumph. I do not impugn the motives of any one opposed to me. It is no pleasure to me to triumph over any one, but I give thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the people’s resolution to stand by free government and the rights of humanity.”

“In times like the present men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and in eternity.”

“God created all men free, giving to each the same rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Albert Einstein

"Albert Einstein, official 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics photograph", in the public domain
“Albert Einstein, official 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics photograph”, in the public domain

“Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world; he then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus to overcome it. This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientist do, each in his own fashion. Each makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of his emotional life, in order to find in this way the peace and security which he cannot find in the narrow whirlpool of personal experience.”

“I do not carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books. The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.”

“Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.”

“Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in point of fact, religious.”

“If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x, play is y and z is keeping your mouth shut.”

“Science is international but its success is based on institutions, which are owned by nations. If therefore, we wish to promote culture we have to combine and to organize institutions with our own power and means.”

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

“Reading after a certain age diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking, just as the man who spends too much time in the theater is tempted to be content with living vicariously instead of living his own life.”

“I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am.”

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.”

“Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open, and that in his youth, and so try to test his ideas on reality.”

“Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.”

“I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one?”

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

“All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.”

“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man.”

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

“Still, there are moments when one feels free from one’s own identification with human limitations and inadequacies. At such moments, one imagines that one stands on some spot of a small planet, gazing in amazement at the cold yet profoundly moving beauty of the eternal, the unfathomable: life and death flow into one, and there is neither evolution nor destiny; only being.”

“Every man knows that in his work he does best and accomplishes most when he has attained a proficiency that enables him to work intuitively. That is, there are things which we come to know so well that we do not know how we know them. So it seems to me in matters of principle. Perhaps we live best and do things best when we are not too conscious of how and why we do them.”

“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”

“Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.”

“I am often worried at the thought that my life is based to such a large extent on the work of my fellow human beings and I am aware of my great indebtedness to them.”

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”

“People like you and I, though mortal of course like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live…[We] never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.”

“The great moral teachers of humanity were, in a way, artistic geniuses in the art of living.”

“When we survey our lives and endeavors we soon observe that almost the whole of our actions and desires are bound up with the existence of other human beings.”

“A man’s value to the community depends primarily on how far his feelings, thoughts, and actions are directed towards promoting the good of his fellows.”

“The example of great and pure characters is the only thing that can produce fine ideas and noble deeds.”

“It is the duty of every man of good will to strive steadfastly in his own little world to make this teaching of pure humanity a living force, so far as he can.”

“Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting, strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society.”

“Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.”

“Truth is what stands the test of experience.”

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”

Benjamin Franklin

"Portrait of Benjamin Franklin", by National Portrait Gallery, in the public domain
“Portrait of Benjamin Franklin”, by National Portrait Gallery, in the public domain

“He that would live in peace and at ease, Must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees.”

“Remember that time is money.”

“We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.”

“Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.”

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”

“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.”

“That as we enjoy great Advantages from the Inventions of Others, we should be glad of an Opportunity to serve others by any Invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously.”

“Let me add, that only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”

Bill Gates

"Bill Gates in 2012", by World Economic Forum, is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Generic
“Bill Gates in 2012”, by World Economic Forum, is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Generic

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

“To create a new standard, it takes something that’s not just a little bit different; it takes something that’s really new and really captures people’s imagination — and the Macintosh, of all the machines I’ve ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard.”

“Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren’t so irritating.”

“Personal computing today is a rich ecosystem encompassing massive PC-based data centers, notebook and Tablet PCs, handheld devices, and smart cell phones. It has expanded from the desktop and the data center to wherever people need it — at their desks, in a meeting, on the road or even in the air.”

“If you show people the problems and you show people the solutions they will be moved to act.”

“One of the wonderful things about the information highway is that virtual equity is far easier to achieve than real-world equity…We are all created equal in the virtual world and we can use this equality to help address some of the sociological problems that society has yet to solve in the physical world.”

“We cannot maintain a level of one thousand or two thousand cases a year. Either we eradicate polio, or we return to the days of tens of thousands of cases per year. That is no alternative at all. We don’t let children die because it is fatiguing to save them. Our commitment as a foundation is to work with partners until no children die from polio.”

“The mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there’s no scientific explanation of how it came about… I think it makes sense to believe in God.”

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama at WhiteHouse
Dalai Lama at WhiteHouse

“The essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others. When you have a pure, sincere motivation, then you have right attitude toward others based on kindness, compassion, love and respect.”

“My true religion is Kindness.”

“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible.”

“The root of happiness is altruism — the wish to be of service to others.”

“I feel that the essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others. When you have a pure, sincere motivation, then you have right attitude toward others based on kindness, compassion, love and respect. Practice brings the clear realization of the oneness of all human beings and the importance of others benefiting by your actions.”

“Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself.”

“When you engage in fulfilling the needs of others, your own needs are fulfilled as a by-product.”

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and freedom and wants to avoid suffering. In this we are all the same; and the more we care for the happiness of others the greater our own sense of each other becomes.”

“Each of us has the potential to contribute … You have a great opportunity to make a new shape of the world.”

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

“The universe that we inhabit and our shared perception of it are the results of a common karma. Likewise, the places that we will experience in future rebirths will be the outcome of the karma that we share with the other beings living there. The actions of each of us, human or nonhuman, have contributed to the world in which we live. We all have a common responsibility for our world and are connected with everything in it.”

“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.”

“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness … the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.”

“On my part, I remain committed to contribute my efforts for the welfare of all human beings, and in particular the poor and the weak to the best of my ability without any distinction based on national boundaries.”

“I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.”

“With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play by reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two.”

“When I meet people in different parts of the world, I am always reminded that we are all basically alike: we are all human beings. Maybe we have different clothes, our skin is of a different colour, or we speak different languages. That is on the surface. But basically, we are the same human beings. That is what binds us to each other. That is what makes it possible for us to understand each other and to develop friendship and closeness.”

“Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways, that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities, and we must share the good fortune that we enjoy.”

“Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world may affect us all.”

“Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility. In that state of mind you can deal with situations with calmness and reason, while keeping your inner happiness. That is very important. Without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed or unhappy because of circumstances.”

True peace with oneself and with the world around us can only be achieved through the development of mental peace.”

“Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each one of us individually.”

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend — or a meaningful day.”

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”

“If I say, “I am a monk.” or “I am a Buddhist,” these are, in comparison to my nature as a human being, temporary. To be human is basic.”

“Today we face many problems. Some are created essentially by ourselves based on divisions due to ideology, religion, race, economic status, or other factors. Therefore, the time has come for us to think on a deeper level, on the human level, and from that level we should appreciate and respect the sameness of others as human beings.”

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

“It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them.”

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson

“Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.”

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

“A miracle worker is an artist of the soul. There’s no higher art than living a good life. An artist informs the world of what’s available behind the masks we all wear. That’s what we’re all here to do. The reason so many of us are obsessed with becoming stars is because we’re not yet starring in our own lives. The cosmic spotlight isn’t pointed at you; it radiates from within you.”

“If we wait for the world’s permission to shine, we will never receive it. The ego doesn’t give that permission. Only God does, and He has already done so. He has sent you here as His personal representative and is asking you to channel His love into the world. Are you waiting for a more important job? There isn’t one.”

“There is no more powerful motivation than to feel we’re being used in the creation of a world where love has healed all wounds. We are no longer ambitious for ourselves, but are rather inspired by the vision of a healed world. Inspiration rearranges our energies. It sources within us a new power and direction.”

“Give all your gifts away in service to the world. If you want to paint, don’t wait for a grant. Paint a wall in your town that looks drab and uninviting. You never know who’s going to see that wall. Whatever it is you want to do, give it away in service to your community.”

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King, 1964. Author: Nobel Foundation
Martin Luther King, 1964. Author: Nobel Foundation

“We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.”

“the first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.”

“It is not enough to know that two and two makes four, but we’ve got to know somehow that it’s right to be honest and just with our brothers. It’s not enough to know all about our philosophical and mathematical disciplines, but we’ve got to know the simple disciplines of being honest and loving and just with all humanity. If we don’t learn it, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own powers.”

“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover these precious values: that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.”

“We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force.”

“We must work with determination to create a society, not where black men are superior and other men are inferior and vice versa, but a society in which all men will live together as brothers and respect the dignity and worth of human personality.”

“Keep moving. Let nothing slow you up. Move on with dignity and honor and respectability.”

“Life has its beginning and its maturity comes into being when an individual rises above self to something greater.”

“Find your sense of importance in something outside of the self. And you are then able to live because you have given your life to something outside and something that is meaningful, objectified. You rise above this self-absorption to something outside. This is the way to go through life with a balance, with the proper perspective because you’ve given yourself to something greater than self. Sometimes it’s friends, sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s a great cause, it’s a great loyalty, but give yourself to that something and life becomes meaningful.”

“Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

“Every genuine expression of love grows out of a consistent and total surrender to God.”

“Love is the most durable power in the world. This creative force … is the most potent instrument available in mankind’s quest for peace and security.”

“The time is always right to do what’s right.”

“Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.”

“The best way to solve any problem is to remove the cause.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 2008. Author: South Africa The Good News
“Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 2008”, by South Africa The Good News, is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Generic

“In its proper meaning equality before the law means the right to participate in the making of the laws by which one is governed, a constitution which guarantees democratic rights to all sections of the population, the right to approach the court for protection or relief in the case of the violation of rights guaranteed in the constitution, and the right to take part in the administration of justice as judges, magistrates, attorneys-general, law advisers and similar positions. In the absence of these safeguards the phrase ‘equality before the law’, in so far as it is intended to apply to us, is meaningless and misleading.”

“While poverty persists, there is no true freedom….Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity against which I ask all humanity now to rise up.”

“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

“Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.”

“I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”

“I have never regarded any man as my superior, either in my life outside or inside prison.”

“Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.”

“I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.”

“We are deeply concerned, both in our country and here, of the very large number of dropouts by schoolchildren. This is a very disturbing situation, because the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow… try as much as possible to remain in school, because education is the most powerful weapon which we can use.”

“Coloured communities would like to see coloured representatives. That is not racism, that is how nature works.”

“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can sit in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.”

“A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favour. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.”

“It is in the character of growth that we should learn from both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.”

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

“We affirm it and we shall proclaim it from the mountaintops, that all people – be they black or white, be they brown or yellow, be they rich or poor, be they wise or fools, are created in the image of the Creator and are his children!”

“These countless human beings, both inside and outside our country, had the nobility of spirit to stand in the path of tyranny and injustice, without seeking selfish gain. They recognised that an injury to one is an injury to all and therefore acted together in defense of justice and a common human decency.”

“This is one of the most important moments in the life of our country. I stand here before you filled with deep pride and joy: — pride in the ordinary, humble people of this country. You have shown such a calm, patient determination to reclaim this country as your own, – and joy that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops — free at last!”

“The calm and tolerant atmosphere that prevailed during the elections depicts the type of South Africa we can build. It set the tone for the future. We might have our differences, but we are one people with a common destiny in our rich variety of culture, race and tradition.”

“We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity — a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.”

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

“I have always believed that exercise is the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind.”

“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.”

“A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

“We tried in our simple way to lead our life in a manner that may make a difference to those of others.”

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”

“When the history of our times is written, will we be remembered as the generation that turned our backs in a moment of global crisis or will it be recorded that we did the right thing?”

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

“You sharpen your ideas by reducing yourself to the level of the people you are with and a sense of humour and a complete relaxation, even when you’re discussing serious things, does help to mobilise friends around you. And I love that.”

“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey at the White House for the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors
Oprah Winfrey at the White House for the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors

“I never think about what I want. It’s about what you want to give to other people.”

“What other people label or might try to call failure, I have learned is just God’s way of pointing you in a new direction.”

“I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.”

“What I learned at a very early age was that I was responsible for my life. And as I became more spiritually conscious, I learned that we all are responsible for ourselves, that you create your own reality by the way you think and therefore act. You cannot blame apartheid, your parents, your circumstances, because you are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities. If you know that, you can do anything.”

“Love, what I know is that the energy that put out everyday with the best of intentions that it would reach you where you really live in heart of yourself has come back to me from all of you in full force. So that what we’ve learnt on this show; You are responsible for your life and when you get that, everything changes, my friends. So don’t wait for somebody else to fix you, to save you or complete you.”

“Things will get better when we make them better.”

“I know where my lane is, and I know how to stay in my lane. My lane is evolving the consciousness of people.”

“The thing that I do best is “Be Here. Be Now””.

Richard Branson

"Branson at the Time 100 Gala in May 2010", by David Shankbone, is licensed under CC BY 3.0
“Branson at the Time 100 Gala in May 2010”, by David Shankbone, is licensed under CC BY 3.0

“One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.”

“My general attitude to life is to enjoy every minute of every day. I never do anything with a feeling of, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to do this today.’”

“I became an entrepreneur by mistake. Ever since then I’ve gone into business, not to make money, but because I think I can do it better than it’s been done elsewhere. And, quite often, just out of personal frustration about the way it’s been done by other people.”

“My philosophy is that if I have any money I invest it in new ventures and not have it sitting around.”

“The talents of young people must not be stifled. Education is not just about getting the right grades in exams but it should encourage all students to develop their optimum capacity, whatever that may be. Schools and colleges should prepare young people for life.”

“As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you also must understand the art of delegation. I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back. The company must be set up so it can continue without me.”

Steve Jobs

"Steve Jobs holding a en:MacBook Air", by Matthew Yohe, is licensed under CC BY 3.0 Unported
“Steve Jobs holding a en:MacBook Air”, by Matthew Yohe, is licensed under CC BY 3.0 Unported

“We’re gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make “me too” products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it’s always the next dream.”

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”

“California has a sense of experimentation and a sense of openness—openness to new possibilities.”

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

“Computers are actually pretty simple.”

“A hundred years ago, if somebody had asked Alexander Graham Bell, “What are you going to be able to do with a telephone?” he wouldn’t have been able to tell him the ways the telephone would affect the world. He didn’t know that people would use the telephone to call up and find out what movies were playing that night or to order some groceries or call a relative on the other side of the globe.”

“What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”

“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.”

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard.”

“Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give it up. So you’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about otherwise you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that’s half the battle right there.”

“As a kid, I read an article in the Scientific American. It measured the efficiency of locomotion of various species on the planet. Bears. Chimpanzees. Raccoons. Birds. Fish. How many kilo-calories per kilometer did they spend to move? Humans were measured too. And the condor won. It was the most efficient. Humankind came in with an unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. But somebody there had the brilliance to test a human riding a bicycle. We blew away the condor. Off the charts. This really had an impact on me. Humans are tool builders. We build tools that can dramatically amplify our innate human abilities. We ran an ad for this once that the personal computer is the bicycle of the mind. I believe that with every bone in my body.”

“Part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, poets, and artists, and zoologists, and historians. They also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world. But if it hadn’t been computer science, these people would have been doing amazing things in other fields. We all brought to this a sort of “liberal arts” air, an attitude that we wanted to pull the best that we saw into this field. You don’t get that if you are very narrow.”

“We live in an information economy. The problem is that information’s usually impossible to get, at least in the right place, at the right time. The reason Federal Express won over its competitors was its package-tracking system. For the company to bring that package-tracking system onto the Web is phenomenal. I use it all the time to track my packages. It’s incredibly great. Incredibly reassuring. And getting that information out of most companies is usually impossible.”

“But it’s also incredibly difficult to give information. Take auto dealerships. So much money is spent on inventory—billions and billions of dollars. Inventory is not a good thing. Inventory ties up a ton of cash, it’s open to vandalism, it becomes obsolete. It takes a tremendous amount of time to manage. And, usually, the car you want, in the color you want, isn’t there anyway, so they’ve got to horse-trade around. Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of all that inventory? Just have one white car to drive and maybe a laserdisc so you can look at the other colors. Then you order your car and you get it in a week.”

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people… Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

“I was worth about over a million dollars when I was twenty-three and over ten million dollars when I was twenty-four, and over a hundred million dollars when I was twenty-five and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money.”

“We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

“We hired truly great people and gave them the room to do great work. A lot of companies […] hire people to tell them what to do. We hire people to tell us what to do. We figure we’re paying them all this money; their job is to figure out what to do and tell us.”

“You‘ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.”

“Nobody has tried to swallow us since I’ve been here. I think they are afraid how we would taste.”

“It looks like it’s from another planet. A good planet. A planet with better designers.”

“But in the end, for something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

“It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”

“I found that there were these incredibly great people at doing certain things, and that you couldn’t replace one of these people with 50 average people. They could just do things that no number of average people could do.”

“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them. It’s not the tools that you have faith in — tools are just tools. They work, or they don’t work. It’s people you have faith in or not. Yeah, sure, I’m still optimistic I mean, I get pessimistic sometimes but not for long. … The world’s clearly a better place. Individuals can now do things that only large groups of people with lots of money could do before. What that means is, we have much more opportunity for people to get to the marketplace — not just the marketplace of commerce but the marketplace of ideas. The marketplace of publications, the marketplace of public policy. You name it. We’ve given individuals and small groups equally powerful tools to what the largest, most heavily funded organizations in the world have. And that trend is going to continue.”

“I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.”

“It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry. This is landmark stuff. I can’t overestimate it!”

“People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

“We don’t believe it’s possible to protect digital content … What’s new is this amazingly efficient distribution system for stolen property called the Internet — and no one’s gonna shut down the Internet. And it only takes one stolen copy to be on the Internet. And the way we expressed it to them is: Pick one lock — open every door. It only takes one person to pick a lock. Worst case: Somebody just takes the analog outputs of their CD player and rerecords it — puts it on the Internet. You’ll never stop that. So what you have to do is compete with it.”

“We used to dream about this stuff. Now we get to build it. It’s pretty great.”

“We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on.”

“I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year…. It’s very character-building.”

“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

“The system is that there is no system. That doesn’t mean we don’t have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that’s not what it’s about. Process makes you more efficient.”

“But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.

And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

“Pixar is the most technically advanced creative company; Apple is the most creatively advanced technical company.”

“Look at the design of a lot of consumer products — they’re really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.”

“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. It’s very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. … Apple’s been very fortunate in that it’s introduced a few of these.”

“A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference.”

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.”

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

“Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of – maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone. And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”

“You always have to keep pushing to innovate. Dylan could have sung protest songs forever and probably made a lot of money, but he didn’t. He had to move on, and when he did, by going electric in 1965, he alienated a lot of people. His 1966 Europe tour was his greatest…. The Beatles were the same way. They kept evolving, moving, refining their art. That’s what I’ve always tried to do — keep moving. Otherwise, as Dylan says, if you are not busy being born, you’re busy dying.”

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