Latest Commonplace Additions

The Team, The Team, The Team


We want the Big Ten championship and we're gonna win it as a Team. They can throw out all those great backs, and great quarterbacks, and great defensive players, throughout the country and in this conference, but there's gonna be one Team that's gonna play solely as a Team. No man is more important than The Team. No coach is more important than The Team. The Team, The Team, The Team, and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my Team? Because you can go into professional football, you can go anywhere you want to play after you leave here. You will never play for a Team again. You'll play for a contract. You'll play for this. You'll play for that. You'll play for everything except the team, and think what a great thing it is to be a part of something that is, The Team. We're gonna win it. We're gonna win the championship again because we're gonna play as team, better than anybody else in this conference, we're gonna play together as a team. We're gonna believe in each other, we're not gonna criticize each other, we're not gonna talk about each other, we're gonna encourage each other. And when we play as a team, when the old season is over, you and I know, it's gonna be Michigan again, Michigan.

Bo Schembechler, 1983

From the speech The Team, The Team, The Team

Immigration is tough, and it always has been


Immigration is tough. It always has been because, on the one hand, I think we are naturally a people that wants to help others. And we see tragedy and hardship and families that are desperately trying to get here so that their kids are safe, and they're in some cases fleeing violence or catastrophe. At the same time, we're a nation state. We have borders. The idea that we can just have open borders is something that … as a practical matter, is unsustainable.

Barack Obama, 18 Sep 2021

From ABC News Interview with Barack Obama on 18 Sep 2021

The increase of wealth is not boundless


The increase of wealth is not boundless. A stationary condition of capital and population implies no stationary state of human improvement. There would be as much scope as ever for all kinds of mental culture, and moral and social progress; as much room for improving the art of living, and much more likelihood of it being improved, when minds ceased to be engrossed by the art of getting on.

John Stuart Mill, 1848

Invest in your employees


I give them [other business owners] the same advice my grandfather had when he was starting the business [Dick's Drive-Ins]. A business, first step, is it has to make a profit. The next step is to invest in your employees. They'll take better care of your customers, which will help you earn more profit. When they move on from your business and do other things, they're evangelists for your company and that helps you make more profit. Once that virtuous cycle is going, you can also invest in your community because if your community is thriving, your business will thrive. And so for these businesses that come to us asking what they should do first, the biggest thing I tell them is to talk to your employees. Ask them what it is that your employee population would want. Talk to them! Start with that. And if you can't do it for everybody or everything that they would want, just do some part of it, then work your way up from there.

Jasmine Donovan, 5 Oct 2021

From the interview How does Dick’s Drive-In pay workers $19 an hour with a menu completely under $5?

Learn why the world wags and what wags it


You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorders of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.

T. H. White

From the book The Once and Future King

The Songs are my Lexicon


Here's the thing with me and the religious thing. This is the flat-out truth: I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don't find it anywhere else. Songs like “Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain” or “I Saw the Light” – that's my religion. I don't adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. I've learned more from the songs than I've learned from any of this kind of entity. The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.

Bob Dylan, 1997

From the interview Bob Dylan 1997 Interview for Newsweek

Terrible with raisins in it


This wasn’t just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.

Dorothy Parker

To build a new and vital commons sector


The great task of the twenty-first century is to build a new and vital commons sector that can resist enclosure and externalization by the market, protect the planet, and share the fruits of our common inheritances more equitably than is now the case.

Peter Barnes

Finish every day and be done with it


Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could – some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in: forget them as fast as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 8 Apr 1854

From the letter To Daughter Ellen

Why People Sing


Someone once asked me why people sing. I answered they sing for many of the same reasons birds sing. They sing for a mate, to claim their territory, or simply to give voice to the delight of being alive in the midst of a beautiful day. Perhaps more than birds do, humans hold a grudge. They sing to complain of how grievously they have been wronged, and how to avoid it in the future. They sing to help themselves execute a job of work. They sing so the subsequent generations won’t forget what the current generation endured, or dreamed, or delighted in.

Linda Ronstadt, 1968

From the interview in a friend's East Village apartment, NYC

The producing of good citizens


For they have no conception of the duty of government who wish to limit it to the settling of disputes over money or the punishment of criminals. On the contrary, it is much more important for the magistrates to devote their energy to the producing of good citizens than to the punishment and restraint of evildoers. How much less need would there be to punish, if these matters were rightly looked after beforehand!

Juan Louis Vives, 1526

From the book Concerning the Relief of the Poor

The best thing we can do is treat each other better


But the point is, I guess, that my politics has always been premised on the notion that the differences we have on this planet are real. They’re profound. And they cause enormous tragedy as well as joy. But we’re just a bunch of humans with doubts and confusion. We do the best we can. And the best thing we can do is treat each other better because we’re all we’ve got.

Barack Obama, 1 June 2021

From the podcast The Ezra Klein Show

Luxuries tend to become necessities


One of history’s fews iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally they reach a point where they can’t live without it.

Yuval Noah Harari, 2015

From the book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

We are what we pretend to be


We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

Kurt Vonnegut, 1961

From the book Mother Night

Societies are not merely statistical aggregations


Societies are not merely statistical aggregations of individuals engaged in voluntary exchange but something much more subtle and complicated. A group or community cannot be understood if the unit of analysis is the individual taken by himself. A society is clearly something greater than the sum of its parts.

Lester Thurow, 1983

From the book Dangerous Currents

Economics is essentially a question of design


Economics, it turns out, is not a matter of discovering laws: it is essentially a question of design.

Kate Raworth, 2017

From the book Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist

You have to create more than you consume


If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.

Jeff Bezos, 15 Apr 2021

From the letter 2020 Letter to Shareholders

The Eternal Struggle for Human Rights


The existence and validity of human rights are not written in the stars. The ideals concerning the conduct of men toward each other and the desirable structure of the community have been conceived and taught by enlightened individuals in the course of history. Those ideals and convictions which resulted from historical experience, from the craving for beauty and harmony, have been readily accepted in theory by man – and at all times, have been trampled upon by the same people under the pressure of their animal instincts. A large part of history is therefore replete with the struggle for those human rights, an eternal struggle in which a final victory can never be won. But to tire in that struggle would mean the ruin of society.

Albert Einstein, 20 Feb 1954

From the speech Address to the Chicago Decalogue Society

Gradually and then suddenly


‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.

‘Two ways,’ Mike said. ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’

Ernest Hemingway, 1926

From the book The Sun Also Rises

Managing our planetary household


The word ‘economics’ was coined by the philosopher Xenophon in Ancient Greece. Combining oikos meaning household with nomos meaning rules or norms, he invented the art of household management, and it could not be more relevant today. This century we need some pretty insightful managers to guide our planetary household, and ones who are ready to pay attention to the needs of all of its inhabitants.

Kate Raworth, 2017

From the book Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist

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