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John W. Gardner quotes

True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents.

When one may pay out over two million dollars to presidential and Congressional campaigns, the U.S. government is virtually up for sale.

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

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

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.

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.

Some people strengthen the society just by being the kind of people they are.

The ultimate goal of the educational system is to shift to the individual the burden of pursing his own education. This will not be a widely shared pursuit until we get over our odd conviction that education is what goes on in school buildings and nowhere else.

The creative individual has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught. He is capable of questioning the assumptions that the rest of us accept.

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.

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

History never looks like history when you are living through it.

Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.

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.

If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.

One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.

Our problem is not to find better values but to be faithful to those we profess.

It is hard to feel individually responsible with respect to the invisible processes of a huge and distant government.

The cynic says, 'One man can't do anything.' I say, 'Only one man can do anything.'