John Brooks


American Writer, Author of bestselling book "Business Adventures", Contributor to New Yorker Magazine

Author Quotes

Any board-room sitter with a taste for Wall Street lore has heard of the retort that J. P. Morgan the Elder is supposed to have made to a na‹ve acquaintance who had ventured to ask the great man what the market was going to do. It will fluctuate, replied Morgan dryly.

Joseph de la Vega said, ?The expectation of an event creates a much deeper impression ? than the event itself.?

The danger in ingenious hardware is that it distracts attention from education. What good is a wonderful machine if you don?t know what to put on it?

Whether the nostalgia of the Edsel boys for the Edsel runs to the humorous or to the tragic, it is a thought-provoking phenomenon. Maybe it means merely that they miss the limelight they first basked in and later squirmed in, or maybe it means that a time has come when?as in Elizabethan drama but seldom before in American business?failure can have a certain grandeur that success never knows.

Before 1900, very few new income taxes appear to have been enacted anywhere without the stimulus of a war.

London gold dealers, in describing the day?s action [during the 1968 gold crisis], used the un-British words stampede, catastrophe, and nightmare.

The Edsel was a classic case of the wrong car for the wrong market at the wrong time. It was also a prime example of the limitations of market research, with its ?depth interviews? and ?motivational? mumbo-jumbo.

While I can?t conceive that this business will ever seem enough, an end of itself, to make up a satisfactory life, yet the busy-ness, the activity, the crises, the gambles, the management problems I must face, the judgment about people, all combine to make something far from dull.

But to enact an unsatisfactory law and then try to compensate for its shortcomings by good administration is, clearly, an absurd procedure.

Maybe it means that a time has come when?as in Elizabethan drama but seldom before in American business?failure can have a certain grandeur that success never knows.

The Edsel was obviously jinxed, but to say that it was jinxed by its design alone would be an oversimplification, as it would be to say that it was jinxed by an excess of motivational research.

Why should I want to have a lot of copies of this and that lying around? Nothing but clutter in the office, a temptation to prying eyes, and a waste of good paper.

Collecting 10 per cent on high incomes and lower rates on lower incomes constituted undue discrimination against wealth.

McLuhan, for one, was convinced that all efforts to preserve the old forms of author protection represent backward thinking and are doomed to failure

THE game of Corner?for in its heyday it was a game, a high-stakes gambling game, pure and simple, embodying a good many of the characteristics of poker?was one phase of the endless Wall Street contest between bulls, who want the price of a stock to go up, and bears, who want it to go down.

Xerography is bringing a reign of terror into the world of publishing, because it means that every reader can become both author and publisher,

Every dog has one free bite. A dog cannot be presumed to be vicious until he has proved that he is by biting someone.

Mrs. Davis raised a complaint about A.T. & T.?s contributions to charity, giving Mr. Kappel the opportunity to reply that he was glad the world contained people more charitable than she. (Tax-exempt applause.)

the guesses had been so educated as to qualify for summa cum laude.)

Xerography is electricity invading the world of typography, and it means a total revolution in this old sphere.

Furthermore, I found it seductive. In fact, I was in danger of becoming a slave. Business has its man-eating side, and part of the man-eating side is that it?s so absorbing.

Nathan Greene, special counsel to Lazard FrŠres, who was on the board for a while. Greene was a kind of business father confessor to me. I remember his saying, ?You think you?ll make your pile and then be independent. My friend, in Wall Street you don?t just win your independence at one stroke. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, you have to win your independence over again every day.? I found that he was right about that.

The Piggly Wiggly Stores in 1919, had most of the standard traits of the flamboyant American promoters?suspect generosity, a knack for attracting publicity, love of ostentation, and so on?but he also had some much less common traits, notably a remarkably vivid style, both in speech and writing, and a gift, of which he may or may not have been aware, for comedy. But like so many great men before him, he had a weakness, a tragic flaw. It was that he insisted on thinking of himself as a hick, a boob, and a sucker, and, in doing so, he sometimes became all three. This unlikely fellow was the man who engineered

He who sells what isn?t his?n must buy it back or go to prison.

Oddly, almost no one seems to have expressed gratitude to the British and American banks, which recouped something like half of their losses. It may be that people simply don?t thank banks, except in television commercials.

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American Writer, Author of bestselling book "Business Adventures", Contributor to New Yorker Magazine