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A miscellany of maxims; Part I


I frequently take notes while reading. My note taking is an imperfect system but useful enough for me to have employed it for many years. I use small notebooks with lined pages. I write the title of the book and then, by page number, index all the segments within the book that appeal to me. Sometimes I transcribe entire paragraphs. Other times I paraphrase the authors work or only list the topic as a reference. I also spin off with my own thoughts or whittle something down to a simple maxim. A portion or my notes with a collection of famous maxims are posted here together. Those which I know the original author, I have credited. Those blank; I cannot recall who wrote it or if perhaps my own version of it. Many maxims are evolved in such a way. In any case, I hope they prove to be useful.


It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing. Thomas Jefferson


When it seems that something can't be done, start it, and see if the rest of it can be done.


Success if not something you pursue. Success is something you attract by the person you become. Jim Rohn


A Decalogue I wrote in 1988 (original source unknown):

  1. Today!

  2. You will never be more than you believe.

  3. For every bit of information, there is a source.

  4. Linkage is the future. (I wish this lead me to invest in the Internet when it arrived a decade later)

  5. Specialization is more rewarding than generalization.

  6. Where bad is the best choice, then choose bad. Always decide.

  7. If someone is going to make your product obsolete, it had better be you.

  8. Perception is more important than reality.

  9. A man is as big as the things that annoy him. (This, by Albert H. Edwards, has been a haunting and relentless maxim I try to face when I get annoyed).

  10. Trees that resists the harshest conditions, make for the best timber.

Action controls:

  • The value of knowledge.

  • The force of power.

  • The outcome of decisions.

Create systems at your desk. Create opportunity on your feet.


Questions are the keys to all the locked doors we encounter. Shane


Never confuse Boldness with Courage.


Don't invest in things that must be fed with food or expense. Shane


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. Aristole


The things about success is that it makes every good thing that ever happened by chance to appear as skill or fate. Luck is the mother of destiny.


Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. Abraham Lincoln


Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln


Make progress, not work.

Push your limits before they push you.

Shut up! (I keep this posted on a nearby post-it-note. )


Notes from Marcus Aurelius...

There is more to learn from lies than truth.

Better is to be humbled by lies than glorified by truth.

It is kind to do so well and be thought unworthy than to do less without humility.

Liberate yourself from envy and self-absorption.

Accept the realities of all people and all events as true stories.

Develop your social intelligence.

Define yourself by what you focus on.

Tell your story through your work.

Observe more. Talk less.


What people reveal by their actions is more important than what they say.


Freedom doesn’t guarantee creativity – only production does.


The supreme prayer of my heart is not to be learned, rich, famous, powerful, or "good", but simply to be radiant. I desire to radiate health, cheerfulness, calm courage, and good will. I wish to live without hate, whim, jealousy, envy, fear. I wish to be simple, honest, frank, natural, clean in mind and clean in body, unaffected - as ready to say "I do not know", if it be so, and to meet all men on an absolute equality - to face any obstacle and meet every difficulty unabashed and unafraid. I wish others to live their lives, too - up to their highest, fullest, and best. To that end I pray that I may never meddle, interfere, dictate, give advice that is not wanted, or assist when my services are not needed. If I can help people, I'll do it by giving them a chance to help themselves; and if I can uplift or inspire, let it be by example, inference, and suggestion, rather than by injunction and dictation. That is to say, I desire to be radiant - to radiate life.

-Elbert Hubbard, Love, Life & Work; Roycroft Press, 1906