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1. It is the whole, not the detail, that matters.

Anonymous. German proverb.


2. He who purposes duly to manage any branch of economy should be well acquainted with the locality in which he undertakes to labor, and should be naturally clever, and by choice industrious and just.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Greek philosopher and scientist. Economics (4th century B.C.)


3. When it comes to the minor affairs of life one has to go into a great deal of detail.

Honore De Balzac (1799-1850) French writer. The Vicar of Tours (1832)


4. Genius (which meanstranscendent capacity of taking trouble first of all).

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) British historian and essayist. Frederick the Great (1858)


5. I recommend you to take care of the minutes for the hours will take care of themselves.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, orator, and letter writer. Letter to his son (November 1747)


6. Pedantry is the showy display of knowledge which crams our heads with learned lumber and takes out our brains to make room for it.

Charles Caleb Colton (1780?-1832) British clergyman and writer. Lacon (1820-22), vol. 1


7. Neglecting small thing under the pretext of wanting to accomplish large ones is the excuse of a coward.

Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969) French oriental scholar and explorer. Quest (May/June 1978)


8. It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) British writer and doctor. “A case of Identity,” The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)


9. Practice yourself in little things.

Epictetus (55?-135?) Greek philosopher. Discourses (2nd century A.D.), bk. 4


10. Leave no stone unturned.

Euripides (484?-406? B.C.) Greek playwright. Heraclidae (428? B.C.)


11. A handful of men have become very rich by paying attention to details that most others ignored.

Henry Ford (1863-1947) U.S. industrialist, automobile manufacturer, and founder of Ford Motor Company. Attrib.


12. It was not the matter of the work, but the mind that went into it, that counted-and the man who was not content to do small things well would leave great things undone.

Ellen Glasgow (1873?-1945) U.S. writer. The Voice of the people (1900)


13. The contribution which the human mind makes to work and business is very much one of picking up information from tiny, seemingly insignificant trifles, and relating them to new ideas or concepts.

John Harvey-Jones (b.1924) British management adviser, author, and former chairman of ICI. Managing to Survive (1993)


14. A business is only as good as the sum of its parts, which means you can’t afford to have weak parts.

Robert Heller (b.1932) British management writer. The Supermarketers (1987)


15. However numerous your products, the company won’t succeed unless each of them is treated with concentrated care.

Robert Heller (b.1932) British management writer. The Supermarketers (1987)


16. A wise man recognizes the convenience of a general statement, but he bows to the authority of a particular fact.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94) U.S. surgeon, teacher, and writer. The Poet at the Breakfast-Table (1872)


17. Pedantry is the dotage of knowledge.

Holbrook Jackson (1874-1948) British writer and critic. Anatomy of Bibliomania (1930), vol. 1


18. The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

William James (1842-1910) U.S. psychologist and philosopher. The Principles of Psychology (1890)


19. All knowledge is of itself of some value. There is nothing so minute or inconsiderable, that I would not rather know it than not.

Samuel Johnson (1709-84) British poet, lexicographer, essayist, and critic. 1775. Quoted in The Life of Samuel Johnson (James Boswell; 1791)


20. Particulars are not to be examined till the whole has been surveyed.

Samuel Johnson (1709-84) British poet, lexicographer, essayist, and critic. The Plays of William Shakespeare (1765), Preface.


21. The whole premise of Oxygen is this grassroots movement that’s trying to connect with the democratic landscape that the Web has provided, and to translate that into a TV network.

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


22. Look to the essence of a thing, whether it be a point of doctrine, of practice, or of interpretation.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180) Roman emperor. Meditations (2nd century A.D.), bk 8, sect. 22


23. God is in the details.

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe (1886-1969) German architect. New York Times (August 1969)


24. Trifles make the sum of human things, And half our misery from our foibles spring.

Hannah More (1745-1833) British playwright and religious writer. Sensibility (1783)


25. I try to keep in touch with the details-you can’t keep in touch with them all, but you’ve got to have a feel for what’s going on.

Rupert Murdoch (b.1931) U.S. C.E.O. of News Corporation. Attrib.


26. Things that are not of value singly are useful collectively.

Ovid (43 B.C.-A.D. 17) Roman poet. Remedia Amoris (Cure for love) (early 1st century A.D.)


27. Effective visions are lived in details, not broad strokes.

Tom Peters (b.1942) U.S. management consultant and author. Thriving on Chaos (1987)


28. Who overrefines his argument brings himself to grief.

Petrarch (1304-74) Italian poet and scholar. “To Laura in Life,” canzone 11


29. Even a single hair casts its shadow.

Pubililius Syrus (fl. 1st century B.C.) Roman writer. Moral Sayings (1st century B.C.)


30. Trifles make up the happiness or the misery of human life.

Alexander Smith (1830-67) Scottish poet and essayist. “Men of Letters,” Dreamthorp (1863)


31. Our life is frittered away by detail…Simplify, simplify.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-62) U.S. writer. “Where I Lived and What I Lived For,” Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854)


32. There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. writer. Attributed to Benjamin Disraeli. Autobiography (Albert Bigelow, ed.; 1924)


33. Whoever wants to accomplish great things must devote a lot of profound thought to details.

Paul Valery (1871-1945) French poet and essayist. Attrib.


34. Think naught a trifle, though it small appear; Small sands the mountain, moments make the year, And trifles life.

Edward Young (1683-1765) English poet. Love of Fame (1728), Satire 6