John W. Gardner Quotes

Most popular John W. Gardner Quotes

It is not easy to be crafty and winsome at the same time, and few accomplish it after the age of six.


Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.
— John W. Gardner


To sensible men, every day is a day of reckoning.
— John W. Gardner
True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents.


Someone said that "Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."


For every talent that poverty has stimulated, it has blighted a hundred.

talent poverty

Some people strengthen the society just by being the kind of people they are.
— John W. Gardner


We are all faced with a series of great opportunities—brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.

opportunity problems

If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure—all your life.  It's as simple as that.

risk-taking learning failure

Those whose gifts fit them for leadership must recognize that a prime function of the leader is to keep hope alive.


Men of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor.


History never looks like history when you are living through it.  It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable.


Art gropes, it stalks like a hunter lost in the woods, listening to itself and to everything around it, unsure of itself, waiting to pounce.


Whoever I am or whatever I am doing, provided that I am engaged in a socially acceptable activity, some kind of excellence is within my reach.


The cynic says, "One man can't do anything." I say, "Only one man can do anything." One man interacting creatively with others can move the world.
— John W. Gardner

change the world inspirational

Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.


Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.


Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all.


Self-discipline is the free man's yoke.  Either he is his own master or he will be his own slave—not merely as slave to his passions, as an earlier generation might have feared, but a slave to his unbounded ego.

discipline self-control

The person intent on self-renewal will have to deal with the ghosts of the past—the memory of earlier failures, the remnants of childhood dreams and rebellions, and the accumulated grievances and resentments that have long outlived their cause.

the past

Socialism or any other alternative to private enterprise, would inevitably mean a vast federal government. General Motors would disappear; it would be lumped with Ford, chrysler, Boeing, Pan American and so on in a vast Ministry of transportation. And bureaucracy would conquer all.
— John W. Gardner