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1. There may be said to be two classes of people in the world: Those who constantly divide the people of the world into two classes and those who do not.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) U.S. humorist. Quoted in Washingtonian (November 1978)


2. My trouble is I lack what the English call character. By which they mean the power to refrain.

Alan Bennett (b.1934) British playwright. “An Englishman Abroad,” Single Spies (1989)


3. The rough broad difference between the American and the European business man is that the latter is anxious to leave his work, while the former is anxious to get to it.

Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) British novelist, playwright, and essayist. Those United States (1926)


4. Courtesy is the ornament of a noble man.

Bhartrihari (fl. 570?-651?) Indian poet and philosopher . Niti Sataka (7th century)


5. A man is known by the company he organizes.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) U.S. journalist and writer. Quoted in The Whiz Kids (J. A. Byrne;1993)


6. Be polite. Write diplomatically. Even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.

Otto Edward Leopold Von Bismarck (1815-98) Prussian chancellor. Attrib.


7. You know what charm is: a way of getting the answer yes without having asked any clear question.

Albert Camus (1913-60) French novelist and essayist. The Fall (1956)


8. Do not make riches, but usefulness, your first aim; and let your chief pride be that your daily occupation is in the line of progress and development; that your work, in whatever capacity it may be, is useful work, honestly conducted, and as such ennobling to your life.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. “From Oakland: How to Succeed in Life,” The Pittsburgh Bulletin (December 19, 1903)


9. Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is what others think you are.

Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) U.S. consultant and author. How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)


10. Every man is as Heaven made him, and sometimes a great deal worse.

Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616) Spanish novelist and playwright. Don Quixote (1615), pt. 2, ch. 4


11. Chief executives seem no more able to resist their biological urge to merge, than dogs can resist chasing rabbits.

Philip Coggan (b.1959) British journalist. Quoted in Treasury of Investment Wisdom (Bernice Cohen; 1999)


12. Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that carry them apart.

Confucius (551-479 B.C.) Chinese philosopher, administrator, and writer. Analects (500? B.C.)


13. Though meaning to let a man have something to be grudging about bringing it out from within, that is called behaving like a petty functionary.

Confucius (551-479 B.C.) Chinese philosopher, administrator, and writer. Analects (500? B.C.)


14. Though intelligence is powerless to modify character, it is a dab hand at finding euphemisms for its weaknesses.

Quentin Crisp (1908-99) British writer. The Naked Civil Servant (1968)


15. Humour is by far the most significant activity of the human brain.

Edward De Bono (b.1933) British creative-thinking theorist, educator, and writer. Daily Mail (London) (January 29,1990)


16. The perfection preached in the Gospels never yet built an empire. Every man of action has a strong dose of egotism, pride, hardness, and cunning.

Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970) French general and president. Quoted in New York Times Magazine (May 12, 1968)


17. Nurture your mind with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) British prime minister and novelist. Quoted in Light From Many Lamps (Lillian Eichler Watson; 1988)


18. A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize the truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself as well as for others.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-81) Russian novelist. The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80)


19. What e’r he did was done with so much ease, In him alone, ‘twas Natural to please.

John Dryden (1631-1700) English poet and playwright. Absalom and Achitophel (1680), pt. 1


20. We cannot jusge either of the feelings or of the character of men with perfect accuracy, from their actions or their appearance in public; it is from their careless conversation… that we may hope…to discover their real character.

Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849) British writer. Castle Rackrent (1800)


21. Desire for approval and recognition is a healthy motive but the desire to be acknowledged as better, stronger, or more intelligent than a fellow being or fellow scholar easily leads to an excessively egoistic psychological adjustment.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) U.S. physicist. Ideas and Opinions (1954)


22. A character is like an acrostic or Alexandrian stanza; read it forward, backward, or across, it still spells the same thing.

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


23. Women are definitely more intuitive. They interact with people differently; people can be much more open with a women.

Grace Fey, U.S. vice president and director of Frontier Capital Management. Quoted in Women of the Street (Sue Herera; 1997)


24. There are people whose external reality is generous because it is transparent , because you can read everything, accept everything, understand everything about them: people who carry their own sun with them.

Carlos Fuentes (b.1928) Mexican writer. The Old Gringo (1985)


25. Many would be cowards if they had courage enough.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician and writer. Gnomologia (1732), no. 3366


26. Deep down, I’m pretty superficial.

Ava Gardner (1922-90) U.S. actor. Quoted in Ava (Roland Flamini; 1983), ch. 8


27. If my parents hadn’t forced me time after time there would have been no driving sustained effort to top the field.

Amadeo Giannini (1870-1949) U.S. banker and founder of Bank of America. “The Story of an Unusual Career,” Forbes (November 1923)


28. Talent is formed in quiet, character in the stream of human life.

Johann Wolfgang Von Geothe (1749-1832) German poet, playwright, novelist, and scientist. Torquato Tasso (1790), Act 1, Scene 2


29. The ability to control impulse is the basis of will and character.

Daniel Goleman (b.1946) U.S. behavioral scientist, journalist, and author. Emotional Intelligence (1995)


30. Bury your ego. Don’t be the star. Be the star maker!

Bud Hadfield (b.1923) U.S> entrepreneur and the founder of Kwik Kopy. Wealth Within Reach: Winning Strategies for Success from the Unconventional Wisdom of Bud Hadfield (1995)


31. A bad reference is as hard to find as a good employee.

Robert Half (b.1918) U.S. consultant. Half on Hiring (1985), ch. 9


32. To keep your character you cannot stoop to filthy acts. It makes it easier to stoop the next time.

Katharine Hepburn (b.1909?) U.S. actor. Quoted in Los Angeles Times (November 1974)


33. I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, JR. (1841-1935) U.S. jurist. Memorial Day Address (1884)


34. Having a character that consists mainly of defects, I try to connect them one by one, but there are limits to the altitude that can be attained by hauling on one’s own boot-straps.

Clive James (b.1939) Australian writer and broadcaster. Unreliable Memoirs (1980), ch. 3


35. What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?

Henry James (1843-1916) U.S. novelist. “The Art of Fiction,” Partial Portraits (1888)


36. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.

John F. Kennedy (1917-63) U.S. president. Presidential inaugural speech (January 20, 1961)


37. I can’t do anything without first putting on lipstick.

Geraldine Laybourne (b.1947) U.S. chairman of Oxygen Media. Quoted in “10 to Watch: Geraldine Laybourne,” The Standard (Kenneth Li; 2000)


38. Between ourselves and our real natures we interpose that wax figure of idealizations and selections which we call our character.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) U.S. political commentator, editor, and writer. A Preface to Politics (1914), ch. 6


39. Women are less likely to have their egos tied up in their decisions, and therefore are more able to reverse direction if necessary.

Elizabeth Mackay, U.S. investment strategist and managing director of Bear Stearns. Quoted in Women of the Street (Sue Herera; 1997)


40. For every five well-adjusted and smoothly functioning Americans, there are two who never had the chance to discover themselves. It may well be because they have never been alone with themselves.

Marya Mannes (1904-90) U.S. essayist and journalist. “To Save the Life of ‘I’,” Vogue (1964)


41. One of the best strengtheners of character and developers of stamina…is to assume the part you wish to play; to assert stoutly the possession of whatever you lack.

Orison Swett Marden (1848-1924) U.S. author. The Young Man Entering Business (1903)


42. We don’t love qualities, we love persons; sometimes by reason of their defects as well as of their qualities.

Jacques Maritain (1882-1973) French philosopher. Reflections on America (1958), ch. 3


43. I recognize that I am made up of several persons and that the person that at the moment has the upper hand will inevitably give place to another. But which is the real one? All of them or none?

  1. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) British novelist. Short-story writer, and dramatist. Of Human Bondage (1915)


44. A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.

A.A. Milne (1882-1956) British children’s author. Said by Eeyore after Pooh sat on a thistle. Winner-the-Pooh (1926)


45. Too many lives are needed to make just one.

Eugenio Montale (1896-1981) Italian poet. “Summer” Le Occasioni (1939)


46. The first thing is character…before money or anything else. Money cannot buy it…because a man I do not trust could not get money from me on all the bonds in Christendom.

  1. P. Morgan (1837-1913) U.S. financier. Statement to U.S. Congressional banking committee (1912)


47. You’ve got to learn to survive a defeat. That’s when you develop character.

Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-94) U.S. president. Dallas Times-Herald (December 10, 1978)


48. It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles: the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet. Thoughts on Various Subjects (1741)


49. While animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survives by adjusting his background to himself.

Ayn Rand (1905-82) U.S. writer. For the New Intellectual (1961)


50. A woman is like a tea bag-only in hot water do you realize how strong she is.

Nancy Reagan (b.1921) U.S. actor and former first lady. Observer (London) (March 1981)


51. You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jelly beans.

Ronald Reagan (b.1911) U.S. former president and actor. Quoted in New York Times (January 15, 1981)


52. A radical is a man with both feet firmly planted in the air.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) U.S. president. Radio broadcast (October 26, 1939)


53. How is a legend different from a brand? An alternative spelling of “legend” is g-u-t-s.

Harriet Rubin (b.1952) U.S. author. “We Won’t See Great Leaders Until We See Great Women Leaders. As Role Models, Men are Going Flat,” Fast Company (2000)


54. Children with Hyacinth’s temperament don’t know better as they grow older; they merely know more.

  1. H. Mund (Saki) (1870-1916) British short-story writer. “Hyacinth,” The Toys of Peace (1919)


55. He looked like the kind of a guy that wouldn’t talk to you much unless he wanted something off you. He had a lousy personality.

J.D. Salinger (b.1919) U.S. novelist. The Catcher in the Rye (1951), ch. 11


56. Character is the basis of happiness and happiness the sanction of character.

George Santayana (1863-1952) U.S. philosopher, novelist, and poet. “Reason in Common Sense,” The Life of Reason (1906), ch. 9


57. A certain person may have, as you say, a wonderful presence: I do not know. What I do know is that he has a perfectly delightful absence.

Idries Shah (1924-96) British writer. “Presence and Absence,” Reflections (1968)


58. Give me that man

That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him

In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart,

As I do thee.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English poet and playwright. Hamlet (1601), Act 3, Scene 2, II. 76-79


59. The analysis of character is the highest human entertainment.

Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-91) U.S. novelist and short-story writer. New York Times (November 26, 1978)


60. Never cheat, but do not be soft. It is a hard world. Be harder. But, and this is the test, at the same time, obviously, a good fellow.

Gerald Sparrow (1903-88) British business executive and writer. How to Become a Millionaire (1960)


61. A man with so-called character is often a simple piece of mechanism; he has often only one point of view for the extremely complicated relationships of life.

  1. August Strindberg (1814-1912) Swedish playwright and novelist. 1886. The Son of a Servant (claud Field, tr; 1913)


62. If a man’s character is to be abused, say what you will, there’s nobody like a relation to do the business.

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-63) British novelist. Vanity Fair (1847), ch. 19


63. I’m not hard-I’m frightfully soft. But I will not be hounded.

Margaret Thatcher (b.1925) British former prime minister. Daily Mail (London) (1972)


64. Don’t be afraid to be unique or speak your mind because that’s what makes you different from everyone else.

Dave Thomas (1932-2002) U.S. founder of Wendy’s. “Dave Thomas Serves up Advice for Graduates of All Ages,” USA Today (2000)


65. The depths and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.

Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) Russian revolutionary leader Marxist theorist. April 5, 1935. Diary in Exile (1959)


66. I’ve got a virtually limitless supply of bullshit.

Ted Turner (b.1938) U.S. founder of Turner Broadcasting Systems. Interview, Playboy (1978)


67. To arrive at a just estimate of a renowned man’s character one must judge it by the standards of his time, not ours.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. writer. Joan of Arc (1896), Preface


68. He is a man of brick. As if he was born as a baby literally of clay and decades of exposure have baked him to the color and hardness of brick.

John Updike (b.1932) U.S. novelist and critic. Rabbit, Run (1960)


69. The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can’t fight back.

Abigail Van Buren (b.1918) U.S. advice consultant. “Dear Abby,” syndicated newspaper column (May 16, 1974)


70. I think the atmosphere of imminent doom in which we lived during my formative years led to a lifelong sense of panic and anxiety.

Lillian Vernon (b.1927) U.S. entrepreneur and C.E.O. of Lillian Vernon Corporation. An Eye For Winners (1996)


71. I’m very neat. I like to know where things are. I think people have a tendency to want to be neat.

Lillian Vernon (b.1927) U.S. entrepreneur and C.E.O. of Lillian Vernon Corporation. “For Lillian Vernon, a Career Made to Order,” Washington Post (Megan Rosenfeld; 200)


72. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of anything.

Lillian Vernon (b.1927) U.S. entrepreneur and C.E.O. of Lillian Vernon Corporation. “For Lillian Vernon, a Career Made to Order,” Washington Post (Megan Rosenfeld; 200)


73. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

Joseph N. Welch (1890-1960) U.S> lawyer. 1954. Said to Senator Joseph McCarthy at the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954. Quoted in Mesa Tribune (1999)


74. It is only the superficial qualities that last. Man’s deeper nature is soon found out.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish writer and wit. Said by Cecily. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), Act 3


75. If you will think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself. Character is a by-product, and any man who devotes himself to its cultivation in his own case will become a selfish prig.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) U.S. president. Speech, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (October 24, 1914)


76. As a rule, from what I’ve observed the American captain of industry doesn’t do anything out of business hours. When he has put the cat out and locked up the office for the night, he just relapses into a state of coma from which he emerges only to start being a captain of industry again.

  1. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) U.S. writer and humorist. “Leave it to Jeeves,” My Man Jeeves (1919)