John W. Gardner

American Educator, Social Activist

Lived from: 1912-

Quotes: John W. Gardner

Quotes 1 till 14 of 14.

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    Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
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    America's greatness has been the greatness of a free people who shared certain moral commitments. Freedom without moral commitment is aimless and promptly self-destructive.
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    For every talent that poverty has stimulated it has blighted a hundred.
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    I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder that we could have tolerated anything so primitive.
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    If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.
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    It is hard to feel individually responsible with respect to the invisible processes of a huge and distant government.
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    One of the reasons mature people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.
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    Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.
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    The cynic says, ''One man can't do anything.'' I say, ''Only one man can do anything.''
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    The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life.
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    The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
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    True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents.
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    We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.
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    Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.
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