John W. Gardner

John William Gardner, (October 8, 1912 - February 16, 2002), President of the Carnegie Corporation, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson, was subsequently the founder of two influential national U.S. organizations, Common Cause and Independent Sector, as well as the author of numerous books on improving leadership in American society and other subjects

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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.
When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied 'Only stand out of my light.' Perhaps some day we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light.
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.
Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
For every talent that poverty has stimulated it has blighted a hundred.
History never looks like history when you are living through it.
If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.
Josh Billings said, It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient one, too. Human beings have always employed an enormous variety of clever devices for running away from themselves, and the modern world is particularly rich in such stratagems.
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.
One of the reasons mature people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.
Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.
Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the nonpharmaceutical narcotics it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.
Storybook happiness involves every form of pleasant thumb-twiddling true happiness involves the full use of one's powers and talents.
The creative individual has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught. He is capable of questioning the assumptions that the rest of us accept.
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy...neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exaulted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy...neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
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.
True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents.
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.
We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.
We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure all your life.
Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.

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