Archive for ‘1980s’



Don’t judge the value of higher education in terms of careermanship. Judge it for what it is – a priceless opportunity to furnish your mind and enrich the quality of your life. My father was a failure in business, but he read Horace in the loo until he died, poor but happy… You have a first-class mind. Stretch it. If you have the opportunity to go to a university, don’t pass it up. You would never forgive yourself.

David Ogilvy, letter to his nephew, Harry (1984)


a dignity

I believe very deeply in the human spirit and I have a sense of awe about it because I don’t know how people carry on…I’ve known people that the world has thrown everything at to discourage them, to kill them, to break their spirit. And yet something about them retains a dignity. They face life and they don’t ask quarters.

Horton Foote, interview with The New York Times Magazine (1986)


impossible to define

In the field of group endeavor, you will see incredible events in which the group performs far beyond the sum of its individual talents. It happens in the symphony, in the ballet, in the theater, in sports, and equally in business. It is easy to recongize and impossible to define. It is a mystique. It cannot be achieved without immense effort, training, and cooperation, but effort, training, and cooperation alone rarely create it.

Dee Hock, quoted in Schlesinger, Eccles, and Gabarro, Managerial Behavior in Organizations (1983)



It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.

Wendell Berry, “Poetry and Marriage: The Use of Old Forms” (1982)


a perfect example of irony (i think)

This American system of ours…call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.

Al Capone, in an interview with Claud Cockburn, quoted in “Mr. Capone, Philosopher,” Cockburn Sums Up (1981)


unrequited love

It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.

Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)



It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.

Roald Dahl, Matilda (1988)


your face

I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.

Lauren Bacall, in the Daily Telegraph (London) (1988)


the university

In the parameters that describe society—in the statistics that describe what it is and how it functions—we are indeed a very long way from 1883. But are we so far away from it in human terms? The mission of the University is still to develop the human resources of society. It is to develop the minds of its students so they can process information to increase their knowledge—to teach them to think—so that they will grow intellectually in judgment and in wisdom. It must carry out that traditional mission, however, in a new environment….As the University enters its second century, we can be sure that the society of the information age will expect a great deal of it and will define “first class” in escalating standards. A public institution that aspires to greatness can never be satisfied with its condition. When an individual achieves the ripe old age of 100 years, it is socially acceptable to take it easy. But, for a university, it is an occasion to celebrate, take a deep breath, and get back to work.

Peter T. Flawn, “The University in the Information Age,” Address to the Centennial Convocation (1983)


capacity for creative change

If the only new thing we have to offer is an improved version of the past, then today can only be inferior to yesterday. Hypnotised by images of the past, we risk losing all capacity for creative change.

Robert Hewison, The Heritage Industy: Britain in a climate of decline (1987)


the hope of a saint

I take as my guide the hope of a saint: in crucial things, unity—in important things, diversity—in all things, generosity.

George H.W. Bush, inaugural address (1989)

Note:  The Washington Post noted that Bush was probably paraphrasing Richard Baxter, a 17th century Puritan dissident from the Anglican Church: “In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.” )



There never comes a point where a theory can be said to be true. The most that one can claim for any theory is that it has shared the successes of all its rivals and that it has passed at least one test which they have failed.

Sir Alfred Jules Ayer, Philosophy in the Twentieth Century (1982)


your face

Just imagine living in a world without mirrors. You’d dream about your face and imagine it as an outer reflection of what is inside you. And then, when you reached forty, someone put a mirror before you for the first time in your life. Imagine your fright! You’d see the face of a stranger. And you’d know quite clearly what you are unable to grasp: your face is not you.

Milan Kundera, Immortality (1988)


southern speech patterns

The average Southerner has the speech patterns of someone slipping in and out of consciousness. I can change my shoes and socks faster than most people in Mississippi can speak a sentence.

Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent (1989)

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