Quotes for people in businesses

by | 15.08.2022

On the quotes, get set, go!

Did you know that Albert Einstein is not only considered one of the most important theoretical physicists in the history of science, but was also a great philosopher of modern times? At least the assumption is obvious, because if you go looking for quotes for people in businesses, you can easily find numerous statements attributed to Einstein. Mentioning Einstein as the source of a piece of wisdom is practically the accolade for a quote. You can almost feel the special theory of relativity, the light quantum hypothesis, the confirmation of the molecular structure of matter by “Brownian motion” and the quantum theoretical explanation of the specific heat of solid bodies in every letter of the quote. Almost.

Below is a collection of quotations that I have come across in one form or another in recent weeks and months. Of course, Einstein must not be missing. And neither should Tucholsky. And Turing, Schweitzer, Jobs, Lincoln, Drucker, Wohland, Lotter, Ford, Schopenauer, Goethe, Gates, Tyson, Grandpa Albert and, and, and….

Quotes about paths, plans and the future

“Learning is like rowing against the current. If you stop, you drift back.” – Laozi aka Lao-Tse, Lao-tzu or Laudse, either way Laozi was a Chinese philosopher

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America

“If the path before you is clear, you are probably on someone else’s.”  – Joseph Campbell, US professor and publicist in the field of mythology

“Whoever wants something finds a way. Those who don’t want something find a reason.” – Jim Rohn, US entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker

“The path to your goal begins the day you take one hundred percent responsibility for your actions.” – Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy

“The slowest man who does not lose sight of his goal always walks even faster than the man who wanders without a goal.” – Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, important poet of the Enlightenment and slow sprinter

“Either we will find a way or we will make one!” – Hannibal, one of the greatest generals of antiquity and friend of the Alps

“The distance is unimportant. Only the first step is important.” – Marie de Vichy-Chamrond, a French salonnière known for her wit and audacity

“Only those who go their own way can never be overtaken by anyone.” – Marlon Brando, actor and motorcyclist

“If you never stray from the right path, you will fall by the wayside.” – Bernd Schuster, multiple book author, whose French pseudonym Bernard Le Cordonnier somehow sounds more elegant

“Any difficult situation you overcome now, you will be spared in the future.” – Dalai Lama, lineage holder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism

“Planning replaces coincidence with error. From error we can learn, from coincidence we cannot.” – Prof. Dr. Werner Kirsch, German economist and expert on differential operators in mathematical physics

“If you calculate everything, nothing succeeds.” – Romano Prodi, economist and multiple Italian prime minister

“He who fails to plan, plans his failure.” – Benjamin Franklin, American printer, publisher, writer, scientist and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America

“Dreaming is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem, journalist

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist and Christian philosopher

“High performers don’t plan in the context of high dynamics. Because there, planning is of no use at all.” – Gerhard Wohland, physicist and management consultant

“Logic gets you from A to B. Your imagination will take you anywhere.” – Albert Einstein, German physicist with Swiss citizenship

“The more planned people are, the more effectively chance may strike them.” – Friedrich Dürrenmatt, writer, playwright and painter

“The illusion that one has understood the past feeds the mistaken belief that one can predict and control the future.” – Daniel Kahnemann, winner of the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

“Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States of America

“One should never judge human plans and undertakings by their outcome.” – Frederick II, King of Prussia, aka the “Old Fritz”

“Columbus had no business plan when he discovered America.” – Andrew S. Grove, co-founder of Intel

“No plan survives the first contact with the enemy.” – Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke, Prussian field marshal and known as “The Great Silence”

Or as Mike Tyson, one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time, so aptly put it:

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Quotes about knowledge, ideas, risks and courage

“We should not take ourselves too seriously. No one has a monopoly on wisdom.” – Queen Elizabeth II, British icon

“Knowledge is not power until it is applied.” – Dale Carnegie, friend of positive thinking

“Ideas are easy. Implementation is difficult.” – Guy Kawasaki, entrepreneur responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984

“A mediocre idea that can inspire is more likely to succeed than a great idea that inspires no one.” – Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

“What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.” – Isaac Newton, expert on gravity

“Some people reject a good idea merely because it is not theirs.” – Luis Bunel, surrealist filmmaker

“I know that I know nothing.” – Socrates, no relation to the captain of the Brazilian national football team

“Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.” – Lawrence Edward Page, former CEO of Alphabet Inc.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge, because knowledge is limited.” – Albert Einstein, German physicist with US citizenship

“Eskimos are always found telling the inhabitants of the Congo what to do.” – Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, Polish poet and aphorist

“People with a new idea are considered crackpots until the thing catches on.” – Mark Twain, known to friends only as Samuel Langhorne Clemens

“The saddest thing about science is that it gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” – Isaac Asimov, biochemist and science fiction writer

“The greatest risk is not taking risks. In a world that is changing very fast, the only strategy that guarantees failure is not to take risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta Platforms company

“What would life be if we didn’t have the courage to take risks?” – Vincent van Gogh, painter and friend of sunflowers

“I believe dangers await those who do not respond to life.” – Mikhail Gorbachev, winner of the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize

“One does not discover new continents without having the courage to lose sight of old shores.” – André Gide, winner of the 1947 Nobel Prize for Literature

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good in order to achieve the great.” – John D. Rockefeller, the first billionaire in world history

“He who has made one mistake and does not correct it, commits another.” – Confucius, Chinese philosopher

“Courage is not always roaringly loud. Sometimes it’s the calm, quiet voice at the end of the day that says: tomorrow I’ll try again.” – Mary Anne Radmacher, author

“A ship is safer when it’s in port. But that’s not what ships are built for.” – Paulo Coelho, writer and apparently ship expert

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to go on that counts.” – Winston Churchill, sports lover

“Do not spend time looking for an obstacle. Perhaps there is none.” – Franz Kafka, writer and poet

Quotes about mistakes and changes

“Today’s achievements were yesterday’s impossibilities.” – Robert H. Schuller, American motivational speaker

“Always try to determine the fool in a deal. If you can’t find one, it will be yourself.” – Mark Cuban, friend of Dirk Nowitzki and billionaire

“He who always does what he already knows how to do will always remain what he already is.” – Henry Ford, inventor and automobile pioneer

“Learning is like rowing against the current. As soon as you stop, you drift back.” – Benjamin Britten, composer and pianist

“Don’t play games you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money at them.” – Tony Hsieh, internet entrepreneur and venture capital investor

“One day is not a day of the week.” – Janet Dailey, author

“Anyone who doesn’t make mistakes has never tried anything!” – Albert Einstein, discoverer of E = mc³

“He who stays on the coast cannot discover new oceans.” – Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese navigator

“The definition of insanity, is always doing the same thing and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein, married twice

“Sometimes it’s the people no one can imagine doing things no one can imagine doing.” – Alan Mathison Turing, namesake for computer science’s highest honour

“Sacred cows that you slaughter make the best steaks.” – Richard Nicolosi, former head of Samsonite

“If you only do things that you know in advance how they’re going to go, your business will go under.” – Jeff Bezos, something to do with Amazon

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs, thought leader and arguably cranky boss

“Entrepreneur is not a job title. It’s the mindset of people who want to change the future.” – Guy Kawasaki, book author

“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe, tennis legend

“Your most dissatisfied customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, philanthropist

“You have to try the impossible to achieve the possible.” – Hermann Hesse, born in Calw, Baden-Württemberg

“You have to learn from the mistakes of others. You just can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Sam Levenson, American humorist

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company

“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that do not produce the desired result.” – Thomas Alva Edison, electrical engineering mastermind

Quotes about success

“Success is a staircase, not a door.” – Dottie Walters, author

“Diligence is the mother of happiness.” – Benjamin Franklin, Papa of the United States of America

“If you look closely, most overnight successes have taken a very long time.” – Steve Jobs, fruit lover and turtleneck wearer

“People so often work hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” – Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr

“Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry more about the day they stop doing it.” – Jeffrey Zeldman, entrepreneur and web designer

“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day after day.” – Robert Collier, author

“You don’t have to be peaky to start. But you do have to start to become peak.” – Zig Zagler, salesman and motivational expert

“Talent is cheaper than salt. What separates the successful person from the talented one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King aka John Swithen aka Richard Bachman, author

“I’ve never been able to resist a challenge where the prospect of success was low and I could prove otherwise.” – Richard Branson, entrepreneur

“Do it like the postage stamp. It secures success through the ability to stick with something until it arrives.” – Josh Billings, writer and humorist

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth, baseball legend

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” – Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of quadruplex transmission technology for telegraphy

“Whether you think you can or you can’t; you’ll be right either way.” – Henry Ford, perfector of assembly line production in automobile manufacturing

“He who regards failure only as a slight diversions never loses sight of his goal.” – Martin Luther, Augustinian monk and professor of theology

“A dream doesn’t become reality by magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell, politician and military officer

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without losing one’s enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill, married to Clementine Churchill

“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.” – Will Rogers, US actor and comedian

“The surest road to success is always to try again.” – Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of screw sockets for light bulbs

“Great results require great ambition.” – Heraclitus of Ephesus, philosopher

“Successful people ask better questions; as a result, they get better answers.” – Anthony Robbins, author and NLP trainer

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 pitches in my career. I’ve lost nearly 300 games. Twenty-six times I was supposed to win the game on the last throw and failed. I have failed over and over again in my life. And that’s exactly why I’ve been so successful.” – Michael Jordan, basketball legend

Quotes about working in organisations and the development of products

“If you’re not ashamed of the first version of your product, you started too late.” – Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn

“If you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, it’s too big.” – Jeff Bezos, part-time politician

“Every day we didn’t spend improving our products was a day lost.” – Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Stack Overflow

“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details that need to be perfected.” – Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair, Firefighter

“If you want to build high towers, you must linger long over the foundations.” – Anton Bruckner, composer and music educator

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically anything.” – John Maxwell, author and pastor

“We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we trust, respect and look out for each other.” – Vala Afshar, columnist and digital evangelist

“As long as you need heroes or culprits to plausibly explain a situation, you haven’t understood it.” – Gerhard Wohland, director of the Institute for Dynamic Robust Organisation

“If you build fences around people, you get sheep.” – Anja Foerster and Dr. Peter Kreuz, management thinkers

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire aka François-Marie Arouet, philosopher and writer

“Progress cannot come about if we are content with the existing situation.” – Taiichi Ōno, developer of the Kanban system

“Without standards, there can be no improvement.” – Taiichi Ōno, developer of just-in-time production

“Having no problems is the biggest problem of all.”– Taiichi Ōno, idea generator for the Kaizen management concept

“No goal, no matter how small, can be achieved without proper training.” – Taiichi Ōno, Toyota driver

“The starting point for improvement is to identify the need.” – Masaaki Imai, organisational theorist and management consultant

“We sell a lifestyle – the motorbike comes for free.” – Bernhard Gneithing, former press officer at Harley-Davidson

“Better decide approximately right than exactly wrong.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet and naturalist

“The hen is the cleverest creature in the animal kingdom. She clucks only after the egg is laid.” – Abraham Lincoln, logistics expert

” Where there are many limitations, there will soon be many confined people.” – Wolf Lotter, journalist and author

“The biggest communication problem is that we don’t listen to understand. We listen to respond.” – Stephen R. Covey, effectiveness expert

“Innovation stagnation is not an excuse, it’s a diagnosis.” – Sabine Hauswirth, management consultant

“The problem is not the problem. How you think about the problem is the problem.” – Captain Jack Sparrow, funny pirate

“The purpose and goal of the organisation is to make people’s strengths productive and their weaknesses insignificant.” – Peter F. Drucker, economist and thinker

“Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs, inventor of colourful computers and computer monitors

“The most dangerous poison is the sense of achievement. The antidote is to think every night about what you can do better tomorrow.” – Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA

Quotes about motivation, leadership and self-knowledge

“In the next century, leaders will be those who promote others.” – Bill Gates, a little giant

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither is bathing – that’s why we recommend it every day.” – Zig Ziglar, US author

“The world is made up of those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who ask what happened.” – Norman R. Augustine, aerospace engineer

“Without logic, no one will be convinced. Without magic, no one will care.” – Gary Goldsmith, advertising executive

“After all, everyone hears only what he understands.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, universal genius

“It’s always too early to give up.” – Norman Vincent Peale, author and pastor

“I’ve never done this before, so I’m sure I can!” – Pippi Longstocking, the smartest girl in the world

“Never happy is he who eternally chases what he has not, and what he has he forgets.” – William Shakespeare, playwright and actor

“Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.” – Steve Jobs, computer industry personality

“All I can advise women is not to duck their heads at the first boo. Stick your chest out, keep going!” – Stella McCartney, fashion designer

“Impossible – is not a fact. It is an opinion. Impossible – is not an explanation. Impossible – is temporary. Nothing is impossible.” – Muhammad Ali, boxer, friend of butterflies and bees

“If you have more than three priorities, you have none at all.” – Jim Collins, management expert

“It’s not about prioritising your to-do list, it’s about making space in your list for your priorities.” – Stephen Covey, educator and author

“Experience means nothing – you can do your thing badly for 35 years.” – Kurt Tucholsky aka Kaspar Hauser, Peter Panter, Theobald Tiger and Ignaz Wrobel, journalist and writer

“You can learn more about a person by paying attention to how they talk about others than by paying attention to how others talk about them.” – Audrey Hepburn, film star and icon

“I am in charge, but not in control!” – Paul K. Van Riper, Lieutenant General, United States Navy

“Only at bus stops or taxi ranks do people want to be picked up and taken away” – Lars Vollmer, author, columnist and taxi user

“He who wants good, let him first be good.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, lover of Italy

“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Ben Parker, father of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man

“Everything great in the world happens only because someone does more than he has to.” – Albert Einstein, discoverer of the law of the photoelectric effect

“Only those who burn in themselves can kindle a fire in others.” – Augustine of Hippo, Roman bishop and Doctor of the Church

“A person who is quietly confident is the best leader.” – Fred Wilson, venture capitalist and blogger

“There are more people who surrender than those who fail.” – Henry Ford, winner of the 1909 “coast to coast” race

Quotes about luck, patience and almost all the rest

“In my experience, there is no such thing as luck.” – Obi Wan Kenobi, Jedi Master

“The death of all happiness is comparison.” – Soeren Kierkegaard, philosopher and theologian

“Patience creates perspective.” – Simon Sinek, author and business consultant

“Fate shuffles the cards, we play.” – Arthur Schopenhauer, university lecturer and philosopher

“If you think that only your greatest and brightest moments matter, you will feel like a failure most of the time.” – Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut

“The great moments are those in which we have done what we never thought we could do.” – Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, psychological writer

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my choices.” – Stephen Covey, lecturer and author

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things you did not do than those you did do.” – Mark Twain, namesake for an asteroid

“Time is not passing faster than it used to, but we are passing it more hurriedly.” – George Orwell, official of the British colonial police in Burma

“Perfection is the salt in the soup. Too much makes it inedible.” – Stefan Fleischer, author of religious reflections and soup lover

“When it comes to style, go with the flow. When it comes to principle, stand firm as a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson, state theorist and promoter of the separation of religion and state

“One should not wait until one has time.” – Joachim Panten, aphorist and publicist

“Time is the thing we want most, but the thing we waste most.” – William Penn, essayist and quaker

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr, writer

“Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” – William Wallace, Braveheart

“I ask myself almost every day: am I doing the most important thing I can do right now?” – Mark Zuckerberg, friend of the Like button

“Every day is a new chance to do what you want to do.” – Friedrich Schiller, physician, poet, philosopher and historian

“If you don’t go towards your dreams, only everyday things will come towards you.” – Ernst Ferstl, teacher and writer

“If you can imagine it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney, inventor of the world’s richest duck

“Monuments have never been built to critics, but they have often been built to the criticised.” – Glenn W. Turner, inventor of a “sophisticated” sales system

“Those who fight can lose. Those who do not fight have already lost.” – Bertolt Brecht, playwright and lyricist

“Much more than our abilities, it is our choices that show who we really are.” – Dumbledore, friend of Harry Potter

“Man’s freedom lies not in being able to do what one wants, but in not having to do anything that one does not want.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, philosopher, educator, naturalist and composer

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb, author

“Life is made up of opportunities. Even the ones we miss.” – Benjamin Button, a strange case

“Everyone is a genius! But if you judge a fish by whether it can climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it’s stupid.” – Albert Einstein, son of Pauline and Hermann Einstein

“No man is so busy that he doesn’t have time to tell everybody how busy he is.” – Robert Lembke, television presenter and friend of the piggy bank

Perhaps to be enjoyed with a little caution

There are also a number of interesting quotes, but they should perhaps be taken with a little caution:

“Don’t wait. There is never the right moment.” – Napoleon Bonaparte, revolutionary dictator and French emperor

“Start with the necessary, then do the possible – and suddenly you will do the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor, co-founder of the Poor Clares and patron saint of animals

“Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever it is you wanted to do.” – Robert Downey Jr, actor

“The more pleasure you get out of your work, the better it pays.” – Mark Twain, adventurer

“Simplicity is the highest level of perfection.” – Leonardo da Vinci, painter, sculptor, architect, anatomist, mechanic, engineer and natural philosopher

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” – Niels Bohr, winner of the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics

“The terrible thing is that the inability to think so often goes hand in hand with the inability to remain silent.” – Hans Krailsheimer, lawyer and writer

“Whether you want to unlock the secrets of the universe or simply pursue a career in the 21st century, learning basic computer programming is essential.” – Stephen Hawking, astrophysicist

“What does money matter? A person is successful if he does what he likes between getting up and going to bed.” – Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate in Literature 2016

“Success is more likely to last if you achieve it without undermining your principles.” – Walter Cronkite, journalist and news anchor

“Admittedly, I cannot say whether it will become better if it becomes different; but this much I can say: it must become different if it is to become good.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, first German professor of experimental physics in the Age of Enlightenment

“In Germany, he who points out the dirt is considered much more dangerous than he who makes the dirt.” – Kurt Tucholsky, eminent publicist of the Weimar Republic

“If you prefer theory to practice, try eating a menu.” – Jo Taijun Fuss, believed to have been born in 1957

“If bureaucracy continues to spread as it has, God will make the next deluge not with water, but with paper.” – Cyril Northcote Parkinson, historian and publicist

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world – in fact, it’s the only way the world has ever been changed.” – Margaret Mead, ethnologist

“The reward for good work is more work.” – Tom Sachs, artist

“You don’t have a chance, so take it.” – Herbert Achternbusch, writer, film director and painter

“Happy is he who forgets what cannot be changed.” – Grandpa Albert, respectively, from the operetta “Die Fledermaus”

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle, actor, entertainer and comedian

“If you digitise a crap process, you still have a crap digital process.” – Thorsten Dirks, manager

“Many people know they are unhappy. But even more people don’t know they are happy.” – Albert Schweitzer, thinker and pacifist

The last two quotes are – of course – from Albert Einstein:

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

And, “Chopping wood is so popular because in this activity you see success immediately.”



Before I follow Curt Goetz’s statement “An opportunity to keep one’s mouth shut should never be let pass”, I would like to say thank you to some friends and colleagues. Thanks to Tobias Eickelpasch, Heiko Bartlog, Kristina Müller and Thomas Michl, who offered me a large pool of quotes. And thanks to Anja Klein, Peter Müller, Daniel Dubbel, Ringo Rupf, Stephan Moser, Sabine Hauswirth, Elisabeth Petracs, Juliane Molitor, Sandra Brauer, Gottfried Szing, Tobias Leisgang, Merlin Mechler, Alex Rammlmair, Dr. Jürgen Schüppel, Martina Baehr, Sascha Rülicke, Michael Wisser, Samantha Höttemann-Vos, Clemens Bauer, Jörg Löffler, Ulrike Alt, Dominque von Lossow, Ulrich Gerndt and Susanne Neunes and her grandpa Albert, who all collected quotes.

If you like the article or want to discuss it, feel free to share it in your network.

Michael Schenkel has published other articles in the t2informatik blog, including:

t2informatik Blog: The victory of basic features

The victory of basic features

t2informatik Blog: The demand for authenticity

The demand for authenticity

t2informatik Blog: The search for X

The search for X

Michael Schenkel
Michael Schenkel

Head of Marketing, t2informatik GmbH

Michael Schenkel has a heart for marketing - so it is fitting that he is responsible for marketing at t2informatik. He likes to blog, likes a change of perspective and tries to offer useful information - e.g. here in the blog - at a time when there is a lot of talk about people's decreasing attention span. If you feel like it, arrange to meet him for a coffee and a piece of cake; he will certainly look forward to it!​