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By Don Hauptman
In one of my ETR columns last year, I set the record straight regarding a bunch of familiar quotations that are routinely garbled or misattributed, including “There’s a sucker born every minute,” which P.T. Barnum didn’t say.
There are lots more out there, so let’s look at another batch:
- “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
This inspirational quote wasn’t coined by Vince Lombardi but by Harry “Red” Sanders (1905-1958), another football coach. Lombardi took the sentiment seriously; Sanders evidently viewed it as ironic and humorous.
- “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Edmund Burke? Nope. This admirable statement doesn’t appear in his writings. No one knows who came up with it.
- Winston Churchill is often credited with this maxim: “Make no small plans.”
The correct wording is: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood….” The author was Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912), a prominent architect who was the driving force behind the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and helped rebuild the city after the 1871 fire.
- A second marriage is “the triumph of hope over experience.”
This witticism is often attributed to Oscar Wilde, who did borrow and tweak it. But it was originally crafted by Samuel Johnson (1705-1784) a century earlier.