So many people have said some very memorable things, and this list does not contain those; instead it is a top ten list of quotes that really should be more famous. Sir Winston Churchill made many pithy statements but the ones included here are those that are pertinent to today rather than only to the war years. In fact that is the criteria this list is based on; quotes that are as applicable today as when they were first uttered. The list does not include ancient quotes from Socrates or Plato although perhaps it should, however these can be included in another top10 list of quotes.
It was difficult to rate these quotes as they are all worthy of being number one, but here goes.
1. “Let’s be realistic! Demand the impossible.”
Think about this one; it actually makes a lot of sense in a negotiating situation. And it was said by Che Guevara who has to be one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, whatever your politics.
2. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.”
Mahatma Gandhi spoke these words and they reflect his philosophy. He, like Che was a revolutionary, although the road he took to achieve his ends was very different in the end to that of Che.
3. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
This was said by the great Albert Einstein who was a genius, but whose imaginative leap gave us the theory of relativity which has been more or less proved now. Imagination is extremely important as without it we would have no art, music of fiction.
4. “History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”
President John F. Kennedy. He demonstrated a good grasp of history which subsequent US Presidents (with the exception of Bill Clinton)did not seem to have. We certainly have to move with the times and look to the future and try to remedy mistakes of the past, not repeat them.
5. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream.” – (1963) Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr King would no doubt be happy that at last a Black American is President if the united States, and while his dream has not totally come to fruition America has made great strides forward in the field of race relations since this speech was delivered in 1963.
6. “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”
Oscar Wilde spoke these profound words, and they still hold true. We cannot be told what is right and what we should do, we have to find out what is right for us by a process of trial and error and learning from our mistakes.
7. “The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”
Sir Winston Churchill, who was a historian as well as a statesman, could have taught MR. Blair and President George W. Bush a thing or two. Unfortunately neither heeded these prophetic words of Churchill’s when they decided to save the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein.
8. “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
Dr Seuss, known for his rhyming stories (“The Cat in the Hat” and “Horton” which became a full-length animated film) said this, proving that he was not just a rhymester but had his finger on the global pulse.
9. “The only place where success comes before work is in a dictionary.”
Vidal Sassoon said this, and he knew how hard it was to make his mark in the hairdressing trade. His success was the result of his hard work and effort, it didn’t come overnight. His industriousness made him a household word and many aspiring hair dressers would love to have had the opportunity to be taught by the man they regard as the master hairdresser.
10. “Statistics are like a drunk with a lamppost; used more for support than illumination.”
This, last but not least is a more colourful image to describe statistics that the quote that is usually trotted out, and was said by Sir Winston Churchill.