Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Thomas J. Watson, fully Thomas John Watson, Sr.

American Businessman, CEO, Chairman and Founder of International Business Machines (IBM)

"It is important to acknowledge a mistake instantly, correct it, and learn from it. That literally turns a failure into a success. Success is on the far side of failure."

"A manager is an assistant to his men."

"All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think. The trouble is that men very often resort to all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard work."

"Design must reflect the practical and aesthetic in business but above all... good design must primarily serve people."

"Don't make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up."

"Every time we've moved ahead in IBM, it was because someone was willing to take a chance, put his head on the block, and try something new."

"God made man of the dust of the earth and man makes a god of the dust of the earth"

"Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of "crackpot" than the stigma of conformity."

"I never varied from the managerial rule that the worst possible thing we could do was to lie dead in the water of any problem. Solve it. Solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solved it wrong, it would come back and slap you in the face and then you could solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business."

"Good design is good business."

"If you aren't playing well, the game isn't as much fun. When that happens I tell myself just to go out and play as I did when I was a kid."

"If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good."

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."

"If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work."

"If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate."

"Let them fear death who do not fear sin"

"Life isn't all beer and skittles, but beer and skittles, or something better of the same sort, must form a good part of every Englishman's education."

"Knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light men to hell"

"Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself."

"Really big people are, above everything else, courteous, considerate and generous - not just to some people in some circumstances - but to everyone all the time."

"Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops."

"Repentance is a grace of God's Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed"

"Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?"

"Sin hath the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death for its wages"

"The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas of enthusiasm."

"The outstanding leaders of every age are those who set up their own quotas and constantly exceed them."

"So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because that's where you will find success. On the far side of failure."

"To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart."

"The way to succeed is to double your error rate."

"When sin is your burden, Christ will be your delight"

"The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it's very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer."

"Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use."

"Wisdom is the power that enables us to use knowledge for the benefit of ourselves and others."

"Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops."

"Within us all there are wells of thought and dynamos of energy which are not suspected until emergencies arise. Then often times we find that it is comparatively simple to double or triple our former capacities and to amaze ourselves by the results a"

"You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes, make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find success - on the far side of failure."

"You don't hear things that are bad about your company unless you ask. It is easy to hear good tidings, but you have to scratch to get the bad news."