John W. Gardner Quotes

I do not believe that children should have to pay for the shortcoming and inequities of the society into which they were born. I do not think that children should have to pay for the real or supposed sins of their parents. And I think it would be shortsighted of a society to produce, by […]

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

History never looks like history when you are living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always feels uncomfortable.

The twenty third century scholars made another exceptionally interesting observation. They pointed out that twentieth century institutions were caught in a savage crossfire between uncritical lovers and unloving critics. On the one side, those who loved their institutions tended to smother them in an embrace of death, loving their rigidities more than their promise, shielding […]

The creative individual is particularly gifted in seeing the gap between what is and what could be (which means, of course, that he has achieved a certain measure of detachment from what is).

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

More and more Americans feel threatened by runaway technology, by large scale organization, by overcrowding. More and more Americans are appalled by the ravages of industrial progress, by the defacement of nature, by man-made ugliness. If our society continues at its present rate to become less livable as it becomes more affluent, we promise all […]

Some people have greatness thrust upon them. Few have excellence thrust upon them. . .they achieve it. They do not achieve it unwittingly by doing what comes naturally and they don’t stumble into it in the course of amusing themselves. All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose.