Quotes that for one reason or another resonate...
The most reckless and treacherous of all theorists is he who professes to let facts and figures speak for themselves, who keeps in the background the part he has played, perhaps unconsciously, in selecting and grouping them.
Alfred Marshall - 1885
Innovation is the opposite of policy.
Carmen Medina - Rebels at Work
The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity.
Jacob Burckhardt - Historian - 1818-97
Freedom is participation in power.
Marcus Tullius Cicero - 106-43 BC
Nature’s answer to those who sought to control nature through programmable machines is to allow us to build machines whose nature is beyond programmable control.
George Dyson - Childhood's End
Years ago a professor gave me a bunch of white papers written by physicists at the Santa Fe Institute, and I became voraciously interested in them. I began to learn about complex systems theory, which holds that evolution isn’t just a biological process; it can apply to social organizations as well. I found myself asking, “If Darwin’s ideas exist in nature, who am I to say they don’t apply in business? What if they apply everywhere?”
Jim Hackett - Ford CEO
Most Western managers believe that long-term success flows from a state of stability, harmony, predictability, discipline, and consensus - a state that I refer to as stable equilibrium. This belief leads them to demand general prescriptions that they can immediately convert into successful action. The most popular prescriptions are to formulate a vision of an organization's future state, to prepare long-term plans to realize that vision, to set strategic milestones and monitor achievements against those plans, to write mission statements and persuade people to share the same culture, to encourage widespread participation and consensus in decision making, and to install control systems that allow top executives to set the organization's direction and stay in command.
Ralph Stacey - Tools and Techniques of Leadership and Management: Meeting the Challenge of Complexity
Scarcity of rhyme and reason frightens us and so we impose on the world around us, even on random facts and chance phenomena, artificial order based on false principles
Murray Gell-Mann - The Quark and the Jaguar
People must ... get away from the idea that serious work is restricted to beating to death a well-defined problem in a narrow discipline, while broadly integrative thinking is relegated to cocktail parties. In academic life, in bureaucracies, and elsewhere, the task of integration is insufficiently respected.
David Christian - Maps of Time
Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science
Smooth shapes are very rare in the wild but extremely important in the ivory tower and the factory
Everyone’s got a plan until you punch them in the mouth
Nothing pleases people more than to go on thinking what they have always thought, and at the same time imagine that they are thinking something new and daring: it combines the advantage of security and the delight of adventure
T S Elliot
The great unexplored frontier is complexity… I am convinced that nations and people that master the new science of complexity will become the economic, cultural, and political superpowers of the next century
I do not regard ambiguity as an enemy, nor do I consider disagreement a pest to be eradicated. New ideas almost inevitably excite disagreement. Knowledge is the child of disagreement.
The future is an endless series of experiments
I shall not ask you what your religion is. I prefer to ask instead: How do you put into practice whatever beliefs you have?
The world is what is revealed when we each say what we see, when we all shine our faint torches on it
May God us keep from single vision and Newton’s Sleep
When we speak without jargon, it frees us from hiding behind knowledge we don’t have
Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities arise
It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.
People, ideas, hardware - in that order!
Colonel John Boyd
There should be no element of slavery in learning. Enforced exercise does no harm to the body, but enforced learning will not stay in the mind. So avoid compulsion, and let your children's lessons take the form of play.
Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.
John Stuart Mill via Johnnie Moore
Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.
Peter F Drucker
There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.
...so many great truths must be very gently introduced, with voices soft and the truths themselves understated.
Neale Donald Walsch via Euan
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.
The pencil is mightier than the pen.
Robert Pirsig - Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance
Is it hard? -- Not if you have the right attitudes. It's having the right attitudes that's hard.
Robert Pirsig - Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery via Bob Marshall
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride via Tom Graves
To make matters worse, in order to ride a bike, you have to be willing to embrace its precariousness.
You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.
You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them.
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant but has forgotten the gift.
There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.
Morpheus (the one in The Matrix not the Greek God)
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
W Edwards Deming
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.
This task was appointed to you, Frodo of the Shire. If you do not find a way, no one will.
Galadriel - Lady of Lórien
Simple rules lead to complex behavior. Complicated rules lead to stupid behavior.
Eli Gothill on twitter
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw
In a knowledge economy there no such thing as conscripts, there are only volunteers. The trouble is we have trained our managers to manage conscripts.
Eliminate numerical quotas.
W Edwards Deming
Do or do not. There is no try.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Management by objective works - if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don't.
No, I will not calm down!
I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.
All lasting business is built on friendship.
Alfred A. Montapert
As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth.
John Greenleaf Whittier
We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.
Shut up! [Vikings stop] Bloody Vikings! You can't have egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam.
Waitress (or at least Terry Jones dressed as a waitress)
The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn.
And, just to underline the point...
In times of change the learners will inherit the earth while the knowers will find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.