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1. A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher and statesman. “Of Ceremonies and Respects,” Essays (1597-1625)


2. Only through curiosity can we discover opportunities, and only through gambling can we take advantage of them.

Clarence Birdseye (1886-1956) U.S. businessman and founder of Birdseye. American Magazine (February 1951)


3. Many leading business people…are reveling in the opportunity to put new ranges on the market with “eco-friendly” flashes and a 20 per cent mark up.

John Button (b.1933) Australian politician. Referring to the market’s response to the growing demand for environmentally friendly products. Times (London) (September 22, 1989)


4. We do not make very full value of the opportunities provided by technology because we prefer critical to constructive thinking, argument to design.

Edward De Bono (b.1933) British creative-thinking theorist, educator and writer. “Away with the Gang of Three,” Guardian (London) (January 25, 1997)


5. There’s an underutilized work force of well-qualified women who want to work part time. We’ve created job opportunities that allow parents to balance work and family life.

Gun Denhart (b.1945) U.S. mail-order entrepreneur, founder and chairwoman of Hanna Andersson. Referring to women in the workplace. Quoted in “Gun Denhart: Mail-order Maven,” Women to Watch, (Stephanie Irving; 1996)


6. Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forgo an advantage.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) British prime minister and novelist. The Infernal Marriage (1834)


7. As an investor in small companies, I don’t care how rich Microsoft is. I care about what my opportunities are.

Esther Dyson (b.1951) U.S. knowledge entrepreneur and government adviser. Wall Street Journal (1997)


8. As entrepreneurs, we have to remember the importance of building bridges…to new opportunities. Those links should reach out to all sorts of folks: artists, engineers, teachers, business owners, writers, elders, singles, couples.

Gladys E. Edmunds, U.S. travel company entrepreneur. “Building Bridges to Prosperity,” USA Today (August 9, 2000)


9. The distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) U.S. physicist. Letter (March 1955)


10. Don’t fight forces; use them.

  1. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) U.S. inventor, architect and philosopher. Shelter (1932)


11. Opportunities are not offered; they must be wrested and worked for. And this calls for perseverance and tenacity, determination and courage.

Indira Gandhi (1917-84) Indian prime minister. Speech (November 16, 1968)


12. In an increasingly non-linear economy, incremental change is not enough-you have to build a capacity for strategy innovation, one that increases your ability to recognize new opportunities.

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


13. One way of building private foresight out of public data is looking where others aren’t…if you want to see the future, go to an industry confab and get the list of what was talked about. Then ask, “What did people never talk about?” That’s where you’re going to find opportunity.

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


14. The opportunities for future growth are everywhere. Seeing the future has nothing to do with speculating about what might happen. Rather, you must understand the revolutionary potential of what is already happening.

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


15. Seize opportunity by the forelock and see where it leads you.

Armand Hammer (1898-1990) U.S. industrialist, philanthropist, founder and C.E.O. of Occidental Petroleum. Witness to History (1987)


16. When nobody wants something, that creates an opportunity.

Carl C. Icahn (b.1936) U.S. financier. Referring to buying into Texaco when it was in trouble. Fortune (November 5, 1990)


17. I look for vectors going in time. What’s changing, what are the trends? What windows have just opened and what windows are closing?

Steve Jobs (b.1955) U.S. entrepreneur, cofounder and C.E.O. of Apple Computer Company, and C.E.O. of Pixar. Quoted in “Steve’s Two Jobs,” Time (Michael Krantz; October 18, 1999)


18. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating-as possibility?

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55) Danish philosopher. Either/Or (1843), vol. 1


19. Companies worry too much about the cost of doing something. They should worry about the cost of not doing it.

Philip Kotler (b.1931) U.S. marketing management thinker. Marketing Management (1967)


20. Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.

Ann Landers (1918-2002) U.S. columnist. Attrib.


21.One can present people with opportunities. One cannot make them equal to them.

Rosamond Lehmann (1901-90) British novelist. The Ballad and the Source (1944)


22. In our business, the windows of opportunity open and close with dazzling rapidity…I constantly have to remind people to seize the moment.

Mark McCormack (1930-2003) U.S. entrepreneur, founder and C.E.O. of the International Management Group. McCormack on Managing (1985)


23. An unsuccessful manager blames failure on his obligations; the effective manager turns them to his own advantage. A speech is a chance to lobby…a visit to an important customer a chance to extract trade information.

Henry Mintzberg (b.1939) Canadian academic and management theorist. “The Manager’s Job: Folklore and Fact,” Harvard Business Review (July-August 1975)


24. The man who loses his opportunity loses himself.

George Moore (1852-1933) Irish novelist, poet, playwright and critic. The Bending of the Bough (1900)


25. You can’t pick cherries with your back to the tree.

  1. P. Morgan (1837-1913) U.S. financier. Attrib.


26. E-commerce, E-business or whatever else you may want to call it is a means to an end. The objectives, as with IT, are to improve or exploit unique business propositions.

William (Walid) Mougayar, U.S. consultant and management theorist. “E-commerce? E-business? Who E-cares?,” Computerworld (November 2, 1998)


27. The man who is denied the opportunity of taking decisions of importance begins to regard as important the decisions he is allowed to take.

  1. Northcote Parkinson (1909-93) British political scientist and author. Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress (1958)


28. Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair chance at becoming incompetent.

Laurence J. Peter (1919-90) Canadian academic and writer. Why Things Go Wrong: The Peter Principle Revisited (1984)


29. While we stop to think, we often miss an opportunity.

Publilius Syrus (fl. 1st century B.C.) Roman writer. Moral Sayings (1st century B.C.), no. 185


30. Grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might have been.

Arthur Ransome (1884-1967) British writer and journalist. We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea (1937)


31. AT&T invented the cellular telephone, but saw no future in it. It takes entrepreneurs, who are angels of destruction, to take advantage of things which the inventor cannot or does not see.

Lester Thurow (b.1938) U.S. economist, management theorist and writer. Speech, Sixth Workshop on Inventing the Organization of the 21st Century, Muncih, Germany. “Building Wealth in a Knowledge-Based Society” (February 2000)