Keeper of Quotes

Quotes are inspirational because they usually come from people who have done great things. The operative word here is done, since words hold more weight if they reflect actual accomplishments. Quotes often represent the principles people stand for or stood for.

“If we don’t fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don’t really stand for them.” —Paul Wellstone, United States Senator, 1944–2002

I am a big keeper of quotes—from books I have read, songs I have heard, films I have seen, and conversations I have had with people. I even save fortunes from the fortune cookies I have eaten at lunch.

“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” —Fortune from a fortune cookie, now in my wallet

You never know when a good quote will be staring back at you, stopping you dead in your tracks. On an earlier version of our website we had a javascript that each day randomly selected a quote to highlight from a list of quotes from our books. This simple home page feature was a cool way to cherry pick from our authors’ words and catch people’s attention with something meaningful. Many of our books are about important people, with incredible things to say.

“When Dr. King said segregation was wrong, John felt as though Dr. King were speaking directly to him, telling him it was time to get in the way. It was time to turn things upside down in order to set them right side up.” —From John Lewis in the Lead

quote of the week in our office
quote of the week in our office

In the office we have a dry erase board (pictured above) that my co-worker Lucy periodically freshens up with quotes about books and reading. Good quotes capture a time and place when someone’s conviction resulted in something groundbreaking. Bad quotes also stick in people’s memories like crazy glue. History can be especially unkind to people who were on the wrong or unpopular side of big issues. But people will always say what they think; they will say what is on their minds for all that it is worth.

“Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote.”—Grover Cleveland, United States President, 1905

Do you have any favorite quotes? I’d love to hear them!

10 thoughts on “Keeper of Quotes”

  1. I have a notebook that I keep with me at all times to record quotes I love. I had to do something because the little scraps of paper with wonderful quotes were taking over my life!
    Here are two all-time favorites:
    “Whatever you dream you can do, begin it now.” Goethe
    “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Henry David Thoreau
    (My notebook has several meaningful fortune cookie messages taped inside.)

  2. I love love love quotes! I want to read a college essay about how much I love quotes. Unfortunately I tend to write down awesome quotes on random scraps of paper and then lose them…but then I find them again! One of my summer porjects is to find all my quote scraps and write them in a notebook, not sure why that idea never occured to me 🙂

    I love the classic Edmund Burke quote “Evil only triumphs when good people do nothing” and also

    “Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.” Marian Wright Edelman

  3. “it’s not about what happens to you, it’s about what you do with what happens to you”— Rabbi Kushner from the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

    “If the bond of love was never broken, how could she cease to be?”– from Alicia Afterimage

  4. “I don’t know the key to success but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” ~Bill Cosby

  5. Ari, your quote reminded me of the quote: First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  6. One of my all-time favorite quotes, which I think about often, is this one from Dr. King: “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

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