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The Dysfunctional Guide to Career Success

        posted by , December 15, 2012

If we could ask the thought leaders of history for career advice — what would they say?

Many of the great leaders, strategists and thinkers of the past were interesting characters. It's easy to find advice that's highly applicable to modern careers. However, some of the advice is a little dysfunctional.

Decision Making

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
~ Bertrand Russell

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
~ Voltaire

Interpersonal Skills

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.
~ Plato

You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans.
~ Ronald Reagan

Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
~ Voltaire

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
~ Oscar Wilde

Work Life Balance

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
~ Sir Winston Churchill

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.
~ Abraham Lincoln

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important.
~ Bertrand Russell

There’s an enormous number of managers who have retired on the job.
~ Peter Drucker

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.
~ Aristotle


To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.
~ Voltaire


No man can be a pure specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot.
~ George Bernard Shaw


Men have become the tools of their tools.
~ Henry David Thoreau

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
~ Albert Einstein


A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.
~ Mark Twain

There’s no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting. ~ David Letterman

Career Strategy

Objectives are not fate; they are direction.
~ Peter Drucker

Accomplishing the impossible means only the boss will add it to your regular duties.
~ Doug Larson

A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.
~ George S. Patton

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.
~ Peter Drucker

Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.
~ Thomas A. Edison

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
~ Peter F. Drucker


It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.
~ Sir Winston Churchill

It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy.
~ Steve Jobs

Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.
~ David Ogilvy (Famed Advertising Executive)


Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.
~ Mark Twain


Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.
~ David Ogilvy

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
~ Mark Twain

The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.
~ Socrates

Time Management

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
~ Albert Einstein

Never discourage anyone... who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.
~ Plato


Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it.
~ Albert Einstein

Nothing is illegal if a hundred businessmen decide to do it.
~Andrew Young

Problem Solving

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.
~ Albert Einstein


Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.
~ David Ogilvy

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
~ Albert Einstein

Office Politics

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it.
~ George Bernard Shaw

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