“I have gathered a posie of other men’s flowers, and nothing but the thread that binds them is mine own.” – John Bartlett
It’s my pleasure to share with you my own take on many of the most inspiring leadership quotes of all time.
I have been collecting quotes for many years on all manner of subjects. You may have already seen my Twitter feed @LeaderQuote. When I started putting quotes about leadership on Twitter, I had no idea how very popular they would become.
I have several other ways in which you can enjoy my collection of leadership quotes and my take on them.
You will find that many things in your life and in your work can be informed by the great minds who are quoted in these pages. I realised that I was searching out quotations to learn more about my chosen profession of management.
One of the early quotations I discovered was this one, which made me feel rather uneducated…
“It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. The quotations, when engraved upon the memory, give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.”
Sir Winston Churchill
I realised that, in the company of such leaders as those in this book, I could only consider myself to be uneducated. But I’m working on it.
Famous Leadership Quotes: Sources
I credit all the leadership quotes as accurately as I can. Occasionally the originator is unclear. For example, one of my favourites is
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Harold R. McAlindon
In many places, this is credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson and in others it is credited to George Bernard Shaw. There is no definitive way of resolving such a matter. The search engines are incredible tools but we have to accept that some of the information out there is not 100% accurate. I hope you will agree with me that the essence of the quotation is in the words themselves. Whilst we all have a spirit of natural fairness, most of these great minds would not spend very much time thinking about who said what, and in fact, there is no question that the great minds were reading each other and re-using the original thoughts many times over! There is a lesson in there for us all.
I know there can occasionally be errors lurking in a book like this. If you do happen upon a mistake, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are the first to spot the error I will send you a free electronic copy of one of my other paid-for books such as “Can You Really Manage Time?” – and if you already have that one, we can have a chat and I’m sure I can find something interesting for you.
Values and judgements
An important point arises in questions you may ask me about my choices of leaders to quote. When choosing leaders to quote, I do not make judgements about their politics or their morals. In many cases, the moral standards of their time were completely different from those in the modern era. I choose the quotations because they make me think and they inspire me, both for the words themselves and the thoughts they provoke. I do not judge them on the baggage they may bring with them.
There is also a point about gender. I do not modify the quotations from their original to take into account modern thinking about gender. Where a quote on leadership says “man”, I have left it unchanged. In the era in which it was written, that was the usual way. We have moved on, and I am very pleased about that. However, it is my view that we should not tamper with the sayings from the past, which cannot be changed.
Let us take from these quotations an inspiration to continue to drive the human race forward, as the great leaders from the past have done..