- Nothing defines human beings better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs.
Scott Adams (b.1957) U.S. cartoonist and humorist. The Dilbert Principle (1996)
- Some men turn every quality or art into a means of making money; this they conceive to be the end, and to the promotion of the end all things must contribute.
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) Greek philosopher and scientist. Politics (4th century B.C.), bk. 1
- The fact that people will be full of greed, fear, or folly is predictable. The sequence is not predictable.
Warren Buffett (b.1930) U.S. entrepreneur and financier. Channels (1986)
- Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for the public ends would work good to the community, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the state, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire’s unworthy life.
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. “Wealth,” North American Review (June 1889)
- The evils of our big businesses have not come because Americans are prone to cheat, because they want to get the better of their fellows, because their greed is inordinate, their ambition domineering. Individuals have not been to blame, but our whole system.
Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933) U.S. management thinker and author. The New State (1918)
- What kind of society isn’t structured on greed?
Milton Friedman (b.1912) U.S. economist and winner of the 1976 Nobel prize in Economics. There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (1975)
- What is a man if he is not a thief who openly charges as much as he can for the goods he sells.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian nationalist leader and philosopher. Non-Violence in Peace and War (1948)
- My father said: “You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money…you won’t make many deals.”
- Paul Getty (1892-1976) U.S. entrepreneur, oil industry executive, and financier. 1973-74. Referring to his father, George Franklin Getty, who was also a successful oil business executive. Quoted in Getty on Getty (Somerset de Chair; 1989), ch. 2
10.Greed is even more contagious than fear.Bud Hadfield (b.1923) U.S. entrepreneur and founder of Kwik Kopy. Wealth Within Reach: Winning Strategies for Success from the Unconventional Wisdom of Bud Hadfield (1995The Lord gave us farmers two hands so we could grab as much as we could with both of them.
Joseph Heller (1923-99) U.S. novelist. Catch 22 (1961)
- Avarice, the spur of industry.
David Hume (1711-76) Scottish philosopher and historian. “Of Civil Liberty,” Essays (1741-42)
- Greed-for lack of a better word-is good. Greed is right. Greed works.
Oliver Stone (b.1946) U.S. director and screenwriter. From the film satirizing some of the excesses of the 1980s. Wall Street (1987)
- It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.
Edwin Way Teale (1899-1980) U.S. naturalist and writer. Circle of the Seasons (1953)
- Many people have called me greedy because of the way I amassed real estate, companies, helicopters, planes, and yachts during the last several years. But what those critics don’t know is that these same assets that excite me in the chase often, once they are acquired, leave me bored.
Donald J. Trump (b.1946) U.S. real estate developer. Trump: Surviving at the Top (co-written with Charles Leerhsen; 1990)
- The point is that you can’t be too greedy.
Donald J. Trump (b.1946) U.S. real estate developer. Quoted in Trump: The Art of the Deal (co-written with Tony Schwartz; 1987)
- Money, big money (which is actually a relative concept) is always, under any circumstances, a seduction, a test of morals, a temptation to sin.
Boris Yeltsin (b.1931) Russian former president. The Struggle for Russia (Catherine A. Fitzpatrick; tr.; 1994)