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John W. Gardner Quotes

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John W. Gardner
October 8, 1912 - February 16, 2002
Nationality: American
Category: Educator
Subcategory: American Educator

Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.


Our problem is not to find better values but to be faithful to those we profess.


Men of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor. We need that belief; a cynical community is a corrupt community.


One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.


Some people strengthen the society just by being the kind of people they are.


All laws are an attempt to domesticate the natural ferocity of the species.


Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.


The hallmark of our age is the tension between aspirations and sluggish institutions.


The cynic says, "One man can't do anything." I say, "Only one man can do anything."


If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.


The ultimate goal of the educational system is to shift to the individual the burden of pursing his own education. This will not be a widely shared pursuit until we get over our odd conviction that education is what goes on in school buildings and nowhere else.


Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Very few have excellence thrust upon them.


For every talent that poverty has stimulated it has blighted a hundred.


The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life.


Leaders come in many forms, with many styles and diverse qualities. There are quiet leaders and leaders one can hear in the next county. Some find strength in eloquence, some in judgment, some in courage.


America's greatness has been the greatness of a free people who shared certain moral commitments. Freedom without moral commitment is aimless and promptly self-destructive.


True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents.


When one may pay out over two million dollars to presidential and Congressional campaigns, the U.S. government is virtually up for sale.


I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder that we could have tolerated anything so primitive.


We are all faced with a series of great opportunities - brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.


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