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1. He wishes not to seem, but to be, the best.
Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.) Greek dramatist. Seven Against Thebes (467? B.C.)

2. Position, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.
W.H. Auden (1907-73) U.S. poet. The Life of That There Poet (1958)

3. I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around.
James Beard (1903-85) U.S. chef and author. Quoted in Obituary, New York Times (January 23, 1985)

4. One of the reasons I started this business was I wanted to go to my class reunion in a limo. In school, I knew I was smart…but I was the kid least likely to succeed.
Terri Bowersock (b.1956) U.S. furniture company entrepreneur. Quoted in “Terri Bowersock: Furniture Franchiser,” Women to Watch, (Teresa O’Neil; 1996)

5. Managerial intellect wilted in competition with managerial adrenaline. The thrill of the chase blinded pursuers to the consequences of the chase.
Warren Buffett (b.1930) U.S. entrepreneur and financier. “Acquisitions: The Process Can Be a Problem,” Harvard Business Review (David B. Jemison and Sim B. Sitkin; 1986)

6. Well is it known that ambition can creep as well as soar.
Edmund Burke (1729-97) British philosopher and politician. Letters on the Proposals for Peace with the Regicide Directory of France (1797), no. 3

7. When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.
Leo Burnett (1891-1971) U.S. advertising executive and author. Quoted in Reader’s Digest (January 1985)

8. My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. Address at the presentation of the Carnegie Library, Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania (November 5, 1895)

9. At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.
Salvador Dali (1904-89) Spanish artist. The Secret Life of Salvador Dali (1948)

10. It goes back to all of us wanting to be in Hollywood. We’re all dying to win an Oscar.
Jerry Della Femina (b.1936) U.S. advertising executive. Wall Street Journal (1987)

11. I don’t think that ambition is a bad word if you work hard yourself.
Lynn Forrester (b.1955) U.S. business executive. Sunday Times (London) (June 2000)

12. Nothing humbler than ambition, when it is about to climb.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) U.S. politician, inventor, and journalist. The Poor Richard’s Almanack series (1732-58) was originally published under the pseudonym Richard Saunders. Poor Richard’s Almanack (1753)

13. A guy like Ted Turner has all the money that he can possibly use…he wants people to think of him in a certain way, that he’s the man that founded CNN, that created an entirely new media business.
Francis Fukuyama (b.1952) U.S. economist and writer. Referring to the importance of the desire for recognition as a key motivating force for great entrepreneurs. Interview, Booknotes, (January 17, 1992)

14. People want to be head of General Motors, or General Electric…they want those jobs certainly for the income that is returned. But the income is itself a measure of the prestige and power, authority, that goes with achieving those positions.
J.K. Galbraith (b.1908) U.S. economist and diplomat. Interview, Conversations with History series, Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley, ”Intellectual Journey: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom” (March 27, 1986)

15. Man’s restlessness makes him strive.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, playwright, novelist, and scientist, Faust (1832), Part 2

16. Nothing arouses ambition so much in the hearer as the trumpet clang of another’s fame.
Baltasar Gracian (1601-58) Spanish writer and priest. The Art of Wordly Wisdom (1647)

17. To him that will, ways are not wanting.
George Herbert (1593-1633) English Poet. Jacula Prudentum (1651)

18. Man is the only creature that strives to surpass himself, and yearns for the impossible.
Eric Hoffer (1902-83) U.S. philosopher. New York Times (July 21, 1969)

19. Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want the chance to change the world?
Steve Jobs (b.1955) U.S. entrepreneur, cofounder and C.E.O. of Apple Computer Company, and C.E.O. of Pixar. Said to John Sculley, then president of PepsiCo, when inviting him to join Apple. Fortune (September 14, 1987)

20. I grew up with a lot of brothers and sisters. I did all I could do to really stand out and that nurtured a lot of confidence and drive and ambition.
Madonna (b.1958) U.S. singer and actor. 1985. Quoted in Rolling Stone (May 9, 1985)

21. Men do not desire to be rich but to be richer than other men.
John Stuart Mill (1806-73) British economist and philosopher. Posthumous Essay on Social Freedom, Oxford and Cambridge Review (January 1907)

22. A man always has two reasons for what he does-a good one and the real one.
J.P. Morgan (1837-1913) U.S. financier. Quoted in Roosevelt: The Story of a Friendship (Owen Wister; 1930)

23. If ambition doesn’t hurt you, you haven’t got it.
Kathleen Norris (1880-1966) U.S. novelist. Hands Full of Living (1931)

24. Don’t waste your effort on a thing which ends in a petty triumph unless you are satisfied with a life of petty issues.
John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) U.S. industrialist, philanthropist, and founder of Standard Oil. Random Reminiscenses of Men and Events (1909)

25. The man who starts out simply with the idea of getting rich won’t succeed, you must have a larger ambition.
John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) U.S. industrialist, philanthropist, and founder of Standard Ol. Random Reminiscenses of Men and Events (1909)

26. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English poet and playwright. Julius Caesar (1599), Act 3, Scene 2, 1. 94

27. The world continues to offer glittering prizes to those who have stout hearts and sharp swords.
Frederick E. Smith (1872-1930) British politician. Rectorial address (November 7, 1923)

28. Ambition if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.
Susan Sontag (b.1933) U.S. novelist and esaayist. The Benefactor (1963), ch. 1

29. Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) Irish writer and satirist. Thoughts on Various Subjects (1711)

30. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.
Henry David Thoreal (1817-62) U.S. writer. Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854)

31. I wasn’t satisfied just to earn a good living. I was living to make a statement.
Donald J. Trump (b.1946) U.S. real estate developer. Trump The Art of the Deal (co-written with Tony Schwartz; 1987)

32. What’s the subject of life-to get rich? All of those fellows out there getting rich could be dancing around the real subject of life.
Paul A. Volcker (b.1927) U.S. economist and banker. Newsweek (February 24, 1986)

33. My initial plan was to conquer the world, but in reality the world is not an easy place to conquer. I learned through the years that I had to build step by step, solidly.
Lise Watier (b.1942) Canadian proprietor of a cosmetics chain. Quoted in Looking Good (Rosa Harris- Adler; 1997)

34. The impulse to acquisition, pursuit of gain, of money, of the greatest possible amount of money, has in itself nothing to do with capitalism…One may say that it has been common to all sorts and conditions of men at all times and in all cultures of the earth, wherever the objective possibility of it is or has been given.
Max Weber (1864-1920) German economist and sociologist. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-05)

35. Ambition, madam, is a great man’s madness.
John Webster (1580?-1625?) English dramatist. The Duchess of Malfi (1613?), Act 1, Scene 1

36. I decided to be the best and the smartest.
Oprah Winfrey (b.1954) U.S. talk show host, actor, and business executive. Quoted in Oprah Winfrey Speaks (Janet Lowe; 1998)

37. I was like a hit album waiting to be released. I knew my day would come.
Oprah Winfrey (b.1954) U.S. talk show host, actor, and business executive. Quoted in Oprah Winfrey Speaks (Janet Lowe; 1998)

38. The idea was to prove…that you were one of the elected and anointed ones who had the right stuff and could move higher and higher and…join the special few at the very top.
Tom wolfe (b.1931) U.S. novelist and journalist. The Right Stuff (1979), ch. 2