In the Words of the Masters
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This narrative compilation of quotations is aimed at changing one’s fundamental approach to achieving success by inspiration, repetition, and example. The quotations selected in this quote book are from a vast array of individuals (referred to as Masters) who, through their accomplishments, have achieved enough fame (or notoriety) that their words are often repeated, or whose words are so meaningful they necessitate inclusion.
The Masters quoted herein are those who have succeeded in all walks of life including sports, business, entertainment, education, politics and religion. Some are great figures of the past and others contemporaries whose work serves as a model or ideal for the rest of us. Some just simply said something well. “I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good.3” The simple concepts of success conveyed in this book are reinforced by the quotations of those who have achieved success.
These concepts in this book of inspirational quotes may be applied by the reader to any area of his or her life - not as a recipe - but as an interpretation since the method of application may be individualized by each reader. What is a quotation? The preface to The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations, defines quotation as “a saying or piece of writing that strikes people as so true that they quote it (or allude to it) in speech or writing4”. The quotations in this book may be further categorized as adages, or aphorisms, apothegms, axioms, bons mots, bromides, chestnuts, clichés, epigrams, excerpts, gnomes, homilies, maxims, mottos, pithy sayings, platitudes, precepts, proverbs, quips, saws, theorems, truisms, witticisms, or simply quotes. And while it may be difficult to differentiate between these sometimes overlapping descriptions, they are all quotations or sayings that strike an inner chord of truth. This book is different from other self-help books in that while it was compiled to convey a message created by one person, the wisdom it imparts is from many. It is also different from other books of quotations in that it has been constructed to emulate prose. For that reason I consider myself the author albeit not the writer. The word “author” in Middle English had the sense of a person who invents or causes something. SUCCESS In the Words of the Masters may or may not be described as “literary invention”. However not one word, comma or period is mine – although I do admit to an occasional ellipsis. Each and every sentence, and sometimes even whole paragraphs, was written (or spoken) by others.
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Despite the strong temptation to provide bridges between the various concepts to improve the flow, not one word has been altered or added. And while all these words are direct quotations, this book can no more be described as simply “a book of quotations”, as the author should not be considered simply “the compiler”. My efforts in creating this book resembled those of one who labors over a huge jigsaw puzzle with neither the benefit nor restriction of knowing how the completed puzzle should look. This allowed for a broad and satisfying degree of creativity in determining the context of the book within an extremely narrow parameter. Some may consider this book a contrivance in that essentially it is one long list of quotes. However I had no choice. I needed to create this. As has been said, “[t]here is vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost5. Crafted as a narrative, this book may be read cover-to-cover or, one may simply flip to any chapter and read it as a daily inspirational.
In either case, it is my desire that the reader is benefited by relating the fundamental concepts of success to his or her life. “Quotations help us remember the simple yet profound truths that give life perspective and meaning. When it comes to life’s most important lessons, we can all use gentle reminders.” Some of the quotes in this book are of unknown heritage, however, most have confirmed or universally-accepted paternity. The handling of the notes posed a challenge in that reading the book with footnotes is a different experience from reading the book with endnotes. I experimented with both approaches and found that some want to read and simultaneously know who are the authors of the quotes while others are more interested in the message and find the footnotes distracting.
I experienced this distraction while editing and needed to print the manuscript with neither footnotes nor endnotes in order to focus on the subject content. While both approaches proved unsatisfactory, a choice needed to be made and, in the end, I decided to use the footnotes and to include appendices that list biographical information about the Masters. Regardless of which approach you favor, repeated readings will change your experience. Lastly, while the fundamental truth of each of the quotes is self-evident, the context in which they were used in this book may not be (in a few instances) what was originally intended. In researching and attributing the quotations an effort (which included telephone phone calls, e-mails and letters) was made to verify the accuracy. However most of the research was done on the internet and “[d]oing research on the Web is like using a library assembled piecemeal by pack rats and vandalized nightly.7”.
1 John Bartlett
2 Marlene Dietrich
3 Seneca the Younger
4 Tony Augarde
5 Martha Graham
6 Criswell Freeman
7 Roger Ebert
SUCCESS In the Words of the Masters is a perfect book for a gift, the beach, your coffee table or as one of your often read bathroom books.