Words of Wisdom

By Joseph Allen
December 31, 2017

WisdomHere’s a different kind of column to end the year so if you’re looking for insights into the world of intellectual property you can stop right now.

I always talk with taxi drivers.  A few months ago while riding with an Ethiopian born cabbie in downtown DC we came to a complete stop. As cars around us started honking even though there was nowhere to go, I said to the driver: “How stupid is that?”  He smiled and replied: “Patience is a rose which doesn’t grow in every garden.” I wrote that down as a saying to remember.

In that spirit, here are some others for your consideration:

  • “I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs but I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.” Comedian Bill Murray
  • “Mr. President, you can fool some of the people all of the time– and those are the ones you need to concentrate on.” Democratic political strategist Robert Strauss to Republican Pres. George W. Bush
  • Famed University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant was asked for a ten-dollar donation to help pay for a reporter’s funeral expenses. “I’ll give you $20 so you can bury two.”
  • “A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.” Dave Barry
  • When seeing how greatly they outnumbered the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, the Persians taunted that after they were killed their women would be enslaved. One of the Spartans laughed and shouted back: “Obviously, you don’t know our women.”
  • A reporter remarked to a pro basketball coach that one of the players who dove headfirst into a water cooler to prevent a ball from going out of bounds: “Doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear.” The coach replied: “That’s right. Of course, he doesn’t know the meaning of many other words either.”
  • “We wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we knew how seldom they do.” Olin Miller, American humorist
  • “Dear Sir: I just wanted to let you know that some fool is writing crazy letters to my office and signing your name.” Legendary constituent letter attributed to Sen. Paul Douglas (R-IL)
  • “Some ideas are so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them.” George Orwell
  • “Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go and you learn at once how big and precious it is.” Maxim Gorky
  • “An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.”  Anatole France
  • “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Voltaire
  • “The Guard knows how to die but not how to surrender.” Gen. Cambronne commander of Napoleon’s Old Guard when called upon to give up as the French line crumbled at Waterloo
  • “There’s a statistical theory that if you gave a million monkeys typewriters and set them to work, they’d eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Thanks to the Internet, we now know this isn’t true.”  Ian Hart
  • “The essence of tyranny is not iron law; it is capricious law.” Christopher Hitchens
  • “I shall not desire one of you to go a step further than where I go myself.” Sir William Howe to his men before the British attacked Bunker Hill. Howe was one of the few officers to return unharmed
  • “These are my principles, and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.” Groucho Marx
  • “Know what’s weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change, but pretty soon everything’s different.” Calvin from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes
  • “Now quick march to Siberia!” Czar Paul to a regiment parading past him out of step.
  • “When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a conspiracy against him.” Jonathan Swift
  • “It’s hard for anybody to put their finger on the moment when life changes from being something that is nearly all in front of you to something that happened while your attention was elsewhere.” Writer Pam Houston
  • Riding through camp one day, Gen. Robert E. Lee came upon a dejected looking soldier being led to his court martial. Trying to be encouraging, Lee said: “Don’t worry sir, we’ll make sure you are treated justly.” Pausing a moment, the soldier look up and sighed: “General, that’s exactly what I’m worried about.”
  • “Any fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius- and a lot of courage- to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein
  • “’Be yourself’ is about the worst advice you can give to some people.” J.B. Priestley
  • “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” George Carlin
  • “I am obliged to report that at the present moment the Russian empire is run by lunatics.” French ambassador’s cable to Paris one month before the Russian revolution.
  • “The door to the past is a strange one. It swings open and things pass through it, but they pass in one direction only. No one can return across that threshold, though he can look down still and see the green light waver in the water weeds.”  Loren Eiseley, American anthropologist
  • Being told to have courage after being sentenced to the guillotine during the French Revolution, the Marchel de Mouchy said: “My friend, when I was 15 I went into the breach for my king. At 80 I go to the scaffold for my God. I am not unfortunate.”
  • Henry Ford to a young reporter: “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, I would have given them a faster horse.”
  • “The man who views the world at 50 the same way as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” Muhammad Ali
  • “The cheeks of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dishwatery utterances.” The Chicago Times’ review of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address
  • “You can always spot a well-informed person- their views are the same as yours.” Ilka Chase
  • “No matter what side of an argument you’re on, you always find some people on your side you wish were on the other side.” Jascha Heifetz
  • “Tell the truth.  It’s easier to memorize.” Charles Krauthammer
  • “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims is the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”   C. S. Lewis
  • “If Columbus had an advisory committee, he would probably still be at the dock.” Arthur J. Goldberg
  • “A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually.” Abba Eban
  • “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein
  • “They’ve got us surrounded, poor bastards.” American GI holding out against the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec. 1944
  • “I ain’t what I used to be, but who the hell is?” Legendary pitcher and broadcaster Dizzy Dean
  • “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people that you are, you aren’t.” Margaret Thatcher

And finally, before making any forecasts for 2018 recall the words of Yankee catcher Yogi Berra: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

You can bet the mortgage on that!

The Author

Joseph Allen

Joseph Allen is a Featured Contributor on IPWatchdog.com, and a 30-year veteran of national efforts to foster public/private sector commercialization partnerships, and author of numerous articles on technology management for national publications.

Joe served as a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee with former Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN), and was instrumental in working behind the scenes to ensure passage of the historic Bayh-Dole Act. He is our resident Bayh-Dole expert, and will write frequently about Bayh-Dole and issues surrounding the commercialization of university research.

In 2008, Joe founded Allen & Associates, through which he offers consulting services assisting clients in technology transfer issues, including developing effective communication strategies with national policy makers.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 10 Comments comments.

  1. Bemused December 31, 2017 11:25 am

    Bravo, Mr. Allen! Thank you for sharing! Happy New Year!

  2. Anon December 31, 2017 11:41 am

    Thank you – let me add a caveat: words of wisdom are often not recognized as pertaining to those who most need them.

    Of course, with my views aligned (skewed?) as they typically are to patent and anti-patent battles, I apply this (predominantly) to the anti-patent forces rather than the pro-patent forces.

  3. angry dude December 31, 2017 6:37 pm

    This isn’t about pro-patent or anti-patent

    it’s about how you value people’s intellectual efforts and contributions toward the prosperity of this country..

    all people in this country, not just well connected ones..

  4. John Fraser January 1, 2018 5:56 am

    Thank you Joe. Put a real smile on my face at the beginning of the New Year !

  5. A. Nony Mous January 1, 2018 6:24 am

    At Waterloo, General Cambronne is said actually to have responded to the request for surrender with “Merde!” (literally, s**t, a French way of saying relocate instantly to a very hot place indeed). It has been known in French ever since as le mot de Cambronne

  6. Joe Allen January 1, 2018 9:09 am

    A.Nony Mous: my first laugh of the New Year (and learned something as well), thanks. Here’s one more saying I didn’t have room to work in: Gen. Grant was known for a lot of things but he had no ear for music. When asked to name his two favorite songs he replied: “One’s Yankee Doodle and the other isn’t.” Happy New Year

  7. Jeff Lindsay January 2, 2018 1:13 am

    A pleasure to read so much wisdom. Regarding the note on tyranny, rather than “S. Lewis,” is should be attributed to the very wise writer, C.S. Lewis. Comes from his God in the Dock.

  8. Joe Allen January 2, 2018 9:46 am

    Jeff: You are correct, apparently the “C” was lost in the editing process.

  9. Gene Quinn January 2, 2018 11:54 am

    Jeff @7 and Joe @8-

    Sorry about that. I’ll take the blame on that. Must have hit an extra backspace as I was getting all the bullets together into WordPress.

    Happy New Year!

  10. Joe Allen January 2, 2018 2:09 pm

    Thanks Gene, as the Bard said ‘All’s well that ends well” and now it’s all well