Hyman George Rickover

Hyman George
Rickover
1900
1986

U.S. Navy Admiral

Author Quotes

Responsibility is a unique concept... You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished. You may delegate it, but it is still with you... If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else. Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you have never had anyone really responsible.

It is necessary for us to learn from others' mistakes. You will not live long enough to make them all yourself.

Always use the chain of command to issue orders, but if you use the chain of command for information, you’re dead.

Everything new endangers something old. A new machine replaces human hands; a new source of power threatens old businesses; a new trade route wipes out the supremacy of old ports and brings prosperity to new ones. This is the price that must be paid for progress and it is worth it.

To do a job effectively, one must set priorities. Too many people let their "in" basket set the priorities. On any given day, unimportant but interesting trivia pass through an office; one must not permit these to monopolize his time. The human tendency is to while away time with unimportant matters that do not require mental effort or energy. Since they can be easily resolved, they give a false sense of accomplishment. The manager must exert self-discipline to ensure that his energy is focused where it is truly needed.

Human experience shows that people, not organizations or management systems, get things done.

One must create the ability in his staff to generate clear, forceful arguments for opposing viewpoints as well as for their own. Open discussions and disagreements must be encouraged, so that all sides of an issue are fully explored.

I believe it is the duty of each of us to act as if the fate of the world depended on him. Admittedly, one man by himself cannot do the job. However, one man can make a difference... We must live for the future of the human race, and not for our own comfort or success.

Any one detail, followed through to its source, will usually reveal the general state of readiness of the whole organization.

Nothing so sharpens the thought process as writing down one's arguments. Weaknesses overlooked in oral discussion become painfully obvious on the written page.

It is said that a wise man who stands firm is a statesman, and a foolish man who stands firm is a catastrophe.

To doubt one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. Don't defend past actions; what is right today may be wrong tomorrow. Don't be consistent; consistency is the refuge of fools.

Success teaches us nothing; only failure teaches.

Free discussion requires an atmosphere unembarrassed by any suggestion of authority or even respect.

More than ambition, more than ability, it is rules that limit contribution; rules are the lowest common denominator of human behavior. They are a substitute for rational thought.

I am not proud of the part I played in it. I did it because it was necessary for the safety of this country. That's why I am such a great exponent of stopping this whole nonsense of war. Unfortunately limits — attempts to limit war have always failed. The lesson of history is when a war starts every nation will ultimately use whatever weapon it has available. ... Therefore, we must expect that if another war — a serious war — breaks out, we will use nuclear energy in some form.

Sit down before fact with an open mind. Be prepared to give up every preconceived notion. Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads or you learn nothing. Don’t push out figures when facts are going in the opposite direction.

Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.

Author Picture
First Name
Hyman George
Last Name
Rickover
Birth Date
1900
Death Date
1986
Bio

U.S. Navy Admiral