The Tough Task of …
Epigraph Selection

Few things are more difficult than choosing a book's epigraph—a very few words that capture the spirit of a rather complex enterprise. The task, re The Little BIG Things, was indeed painful. I eventually settled on ... FOUR. But was "encouraged" (beaten about the head and shoulders) to pick ... ONE. For those who've read the book you'll know the choice, with which I am delighted, was #1, from Mr. Clay. Nonetheless, I'm offering up all four here, FYI.

"Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart." —Henry Clay, American Statesman (1777-1852)

"We don't take people to the elevator—we take them down to the street." —David Ogilvy

The art of war does not require complicated maneuvers; the simplest are the best and common sense is fundamental. From which one might wonder how it is generals make blunders; it is because they try to be clever." —Napoleon

From NPR: "A man approached J.P. Morgan, held up an envelope, and said, 'Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.'

"'Sir,' J.P. Morgan replied, 'I do not know what is in the envelope; however, if you show it to me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.'

"The man agreed to the terms, and handed over the envelope. J.P. Morgan opened it, and extracted a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look, a mere glance, then handed the piece of paper back to the gent. And paid him the agreed-upon $25,000.

"The contents of the note:

"1. Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.

"2. Do them."

Did I make the correct choice?

Tom Peters posted this on June 3, 2010, in Excellence.
Bookmark and Share