1. When new industries become phenomenons, a lot of investors bet on the wrong companies…decades ago, it was de rigueur to us “Motors” in the name, just as everybody uses “dot.com” today…the parallel is interesting.
Jeff Bezos (b.1964) U.S. founder and C.E.O. of Amazon.com “Bezos on Buffet,” Fortune (November 22, 1999)
2. The kinds of people we employ are not afraid of taking risks. If someone mucks up, they don’t get a bollocking from me. They know they’ve mucked up and they redouble their efforts.
Richard Branson (b.1950) British entrepreneur, business executive and founder of the Virgin Group. Interview, ASAP (February 27, 1997)
3. Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.
Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) U.S. writer. What America Means to Me (1943)
4. Common sense always speaks too late…it is the little man in a gray suit who never makes a mistake in addition. But it’s always somebody else’s money he’s adding up.
Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) U.S. writer. Playback (1958), ch. 14
5. Don’t argue for other people’s weaknesses. Don’t argue for your own. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it immediately.
Stephen Covey (b.1932) U.S. writer and psychologist. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989)
6. Some mistakes cost money, others have a more personal cost.
Peter De Savary (b.1944) British entrepreneur. Quoted in The Adventure Capitalists (Jeff Grout and Lynne Curry; 1998)
7. Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous.
George Eliot (1819-80) British novelist. Middlemarch (1871-72)
8. If all else fails, immortality can always be achieved by a spectacular mistake.
- K. Galbraith (b.1908) U.S. economist and diplomat. Attrib.
9. We have to be willing to forge out our own path, make our own mistakes and learn from our own mistakes, and from the mistakes go on to achievement.
Indira Gandhi (1917-84) Indian prime minister. Speech (October 25, 1969)
10. The Internet was not always the top priority in Microsoft’s strategy. Its arrival changed our business and became the biggest unplanned event we’ve ever had to respond to.
Bill Gates (b.1955) U.S. entrepreneur, chairman and C.E.O. of Microsoft. Business@the Speed of Thought (co-written with Collins Hemingway; 1999)
11. Mistakes are a fact of life
It is the response to error that counts.
Nikki Giovanni (b.1943) U.S. poet. “Of Liberation,” Black Feeling/Black Talk/Black Judgment (1970)
12. Man errs as long as he strives.
Johann Wolfgang Vo Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, playwright, novelist and scientist. Faust (1808), pt. 1
13. Walking on the eggs will smash the eggs.
Barry Hearn (b.1948) British sports promoter. Referring to the ease of making mistakes. Quoted in The Adventure Capitalists (Jeff Grout and Lynne Banks; 1998)
14. Error is just as important a condition of life as truth.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychiatrist. Psychological Reflections (Jolande Jacobi, ed.; 1953)
15. I’ve always been able to make erroneous decisions very quickly.
Herb Kelleher (b.1931) U.S. businessman and founder of Southwest Airlines. The Nation’s Business (October 1991)
16. It is a good thing to make mistakes so long as you’re found out quickly.
John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) British economist. Attrib.
17. There is no harm in being sometimes wrong, especially if one is promptly found out.
John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) British economist. Essays in Biography (1963)
18. A mistake is an event, the full benefit of which has not yet been turned to your advantage.
Edwin Land (1909-91) U.S. inventor and founder of Polaroid Corporation. Personal maxim. Quoted in The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Peter M. Senge), 1990
19. Conceal a flaw, and the world will imagine the worst.
Martial (40?-104?) Roman poet and epigrammist. Epigrams (87?), bk. 3, 42
20. By falling to grasp the critical issues, too many senior managers today impose great anxiety on themselves and their subordinates, whose efforts end in failure and frustration.
Kenichi Ohmae (b.1943) Japanese management consultant and theorist. The Mind of the Strategist (1982), ch. 2
21. Give me fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections.
Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) Italian economist and sociologist. Mind and Society (1916)
22. You can’t live life without an eraser.
Tom Peters (b.1942) U.S. management consultant and author. The Circle of Innovation (1998)
23. The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.
- J. Phelps (1822-1900) U.S. diplomat. Speech, Mansion House, London (January 24, 1899)
24. A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser to-day than he was yesterday.
Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet. Thoughts on Various Subjects (1741)
25. The mistakes of the great, promulgated along with the discoveries of their genius, are apt to work havoc.
Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961) Austrian physicist. Nature and the Greeks (1954)
26. A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish writer and critic. The Doctor’s Dilemma (1906)
27. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.
Samuel Smiles (1812-1904) Scottish social reformer and writer. Self-Help (1859), ch. 11
28. Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.
Julia Stone, U.S. business executive. Quoted in In Mathematical Circles (H. Eves; 1969)
29. The only people who never make mistakes are those who have never taken a decision.
Jack Straw (b.1946) British politician. Observer (London) (May 1999)
30. use missteps as stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater achievement.
Susan L. Taylor (b.1946) U.S. journalist and editor. Quoted In My Soul Looks Back, ‘Less I Forget (Dorothy Winbush Riley; 1995)
31. We are built to make mistakes, coded for error.
Lewis Thomas (1913-93) U.S. academic, physician and writer. “To Err is Human,” The Medusa and the Snail (1979)
32. A mistake is simply another way of doing things.
Luc De Clapiers Vauvenargues (1715-47) French soldier and writer. Quoted in Washington Post (January 1988)
33. My own success was attended by quite a few failures along the way. But I refused to make the biggest mistake of all: worrying too much about making mistakes.
Kemmons Wilson (1913-2003) U.S. entrepreneur, founder and chairman of Holiday Inn. Speech, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale Michigan (September 1996)