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1. Boldness is an ill keeper of promise.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher and statesman. “O Boldness,” Essays (1625)


2. In civil business: what first? Boldness; what second, and third? Boldness.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher and statesman. “O Boldness,” Essays (1625)


3. People love to recognize, not venture. The former is so much more comfortable and self-flattering.

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) French poet, novelist, dramatist, and director. Quoted in Writers at Work (George Plimpton, ed.; 1977)


4. Boldness, again boldness, and always boldness!

Georges Jacques Danton (1795-94) French lawyer and revolutionary leader. Speech to the Legislative Committee of General Defense (September 2, 1792)


5. The difference between talents and character is adroitness to keep the old and trodden round, and power and courage to make a new road to new and better goals.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) U.S. essayist, lecturer, and poet. “Circles,” Essays: First Series (1841)


6. We must dare to think “unthinkable” thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not fear the voices of dissent.

  1. William Fulbright (1905-95) U.S. educator and politician. Speech, U.S. (March 27, 1964)


7. Boldness in business is the first, second, and third thing.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician and writer. Gnomologia (1732)


8. I buy when other people are selling.

  1. Paul Getty (1892-1976) U.S> entrepreneur, oil industry executive, and financier. 1961. Quoted in The Great Getty (Robert Lenzner; 1985)


9. Challenging the status quo has to be the starting point for anything that goes under the label of strategy.

Gary Hamel (b.1954) U.S. academic, business writer, and consultant. Interview, Strategy + Business (October-December 1997)


10. Be bold; everywhere be bold; but be not bowled over.

  1. Henry (1862-1910) U.S. short-story writer. “The Tale of a Tainted Tenner” (1907)


11. Don’t study the idea to death with experts and committees. Get on with it and see if it works.

Kenneth Iverson (1925-2002) U.S> industrialist, chairman and C.E.O. of Nucor corporation. Speech (February 5, 1996)


12. All classes of society are trades unionists at heart, and differ chiefly in the boldness, ability, and secrecy with which they pursue their respective interests.

William Stanley Jevons (1835-82) British economist and mathematician. The State in Relation to Labour (1882)


13. Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must first be overcome.

Samuel Johnson (1709-84) British poet, lexicographer, essayist, and critic. Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (1759)


14. If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.

Arthur Koestler (1905-83) British writer and journalist. The Sleepwalkers (1959)


15. It is better to be impetuous than circumspect. Experience shows that (fortune) is more often subdued by men who do this than by those who act coldly.

Nicollo Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian historian, statesman, and political philosopher. The Prince (1513)


16. Every week, an astonishing number of Internet start-ups get established, without objection from initial venture capital…They think everything is up for grabs…all the rules are to be changed.

William (Walid) Mougayar, U.S. consultant and management theorist. Opening Digital Markets (1997), Preface to 2nd edition


17. Leaders…grasp nettles.

David Ogilvy (1911-99) British advertising executive, founder and chairman of Ogilvy & Mather. Speech, American Marketing Association (May 10, 1972)


18. To a few rashness brings luck, to most misfortune.

Phaedrus (15?B.C.-A.D. 50?) Roman writer. Fable 4, Fables (A.D. 25?), bk. 5


19. Corporate risk takers are very much like entrepreneurs. They take personal risks to make new ideas happen.

Gifford Pinchot (b. 1942) U.S. author and software C.E.O. Intrapreneuring (1985)


20. In great affairs there is no little step.

Cardinal De Retz (1613-79) French prelate and politician. Memoires du Cardinal de Retz (1660-79)


21. There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all he voyage of their life. Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English poet and playwright. Julius Caesar (1599), Act 4, Scene 3


22. What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree.

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) British essayist and critic. Afterthoughts (1931)


23. Be bold, be bold, and everywhere, Be bold.

Edmund Spenser (1552-99) English poet. The Faerie Queen (1590), bk. 3 can.11. st.54


24. At some point a good leader with inadequate data will say,”Ready, fire, aim- and if it doesn’t work we’ll correct it, but at least the timing is right to start with what we have.”

Robert Townsend (b.1920) U.S. business executive and author. “Townsend’s Third Degree in Leadership,” The Conference Board Challenge to Business: Industry Leaders Speak Their Minds (Peter Krass and Richard E. Cavanagh, eds.; 2000)


25. If you’re going to be thinking only one thing, you might as well be thinking big.

Donald Trump (b.1946) U.S. real estate developer. Referring to the grand scale of his property deals. Trump: The Art of the Deal (1987)


26. Look with favor upon a bold beginning.

Virgil (70-19 B.C.) Roman poet. Georgics (36-29 B.C.), bk. 1, 1. 30.