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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


Success


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


Specialists


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


Technology


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


Finance


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


Goals


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)


Metrics


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


Learning


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


Compliance


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


Communication


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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