William Feather

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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 do know and what you don't. It's knowing where to go to find out what you need to know, and it's knowing how to use the information once you get it.

William A. Feather (25 August 1889 - 7 January 1981) was an American publisher and author, based in Cleveland, Ohio, where he published The William Feather Magazine.

Quotes[edit]

I like business because it is the essence of life. Dreams are good, poetical fancies are good, but bread must be baked today, trains must move today, bills must be collected today, payrolls met today.
I like business because it rewards deeds and not words.
  • I like business because it is competitive. Business keeps books. The books are the score cards. Profit is the measure of accomplishment, not the ideal measure, but the most practical that can be devised.
    I like business because it compels earnestness. Amateurs and dilettantes are shoved out. Once in you must fight for survival or be carried to the sidelines.
    I like business because it requires courage. Cowards do not get to first base.
    I like business because It demands faith. Faith in human nature, faith in one's self, faith in one's customers, faith in one's employees.
    I like business because it is the essence of life. Dreams are good, poetical fancies are good, but bread must be baked today, trains must move today, bills must be collected today, payrolls met today. Business feeds, clothes and houses man.
    I like business because it rewards deeds and not words.
    I like business because it does not neglect today's task while it is thinking about tomorrow.
    I like business because it undertakes to please, not to reform.
    I like business because it is orderly.
    I like business because it is bold in enterprise.
    I like business because it is honestly selfish, thereby avoiding the hypocrisy and sentimentality of the unselfish attitude.
    I like business because it is promptly penalized for its mistakes, shiftlessness and inefficiency.
    I like business because its philosophy works.
    I like business because each day is a fresh, adventure.
  • He was known to some people as a writer. In his writings he espoused thrift, industry, promptness, perseverance, and dependability. … As far as was possible, the subject of this sketch practiced what he preached. Some of his enemies point to this trait as his foremost weakness.
  • 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 do know and what you don't. It's knowing where to go to find out what you need to know, and it's knowing how to use the information once you get it.
  • The petty economies of the rich are just as amazing as the silly extravagances of the poor.
    • As quoted in The Successful Toastmaster: A Treasure Chest of Introductions, Epigrams, Humor, and Quotations (1966) by Herbert Victor Prochnow, p. 466
  • Beware of the man who won't be bothered with details.
    • As quoted in Good Advice (1993), edited by William Safire and ‎Leonard Safir, p. 215

The Business of Life (1949)[edit]

Flattery must be pretty thick before anybody objects to it.
Most men become successful and famous, not through ambition, but through ability and character.
  • Anyone who can think clearly can write clearly. But neither is easy.
  • The way to get things done is to have a good assistant.
  • Every job has two salaries. One is the pay you get. The other is the mental satisfaction you derive from working for the company.
  • Flattery must be pretty thick before anybody objects to it.
  • If you do not have the capacity for happiness with a little money, great wealth will not bring it to you.
  • Many people are thwarted by excessive ambition. They want a hundred thousand dollars but are unwilling to save a hundred dollars. They want a big house, but do not accumulate enough money to make the down payment on on a small house. They want to write a book, but will not learn to write a letter. Most men become successful and famous, not through ambition, but through ability and character.
  • Uneasy lies the head that ignores a telephone call late at night.
  • In closing a deal, what you don’t say may be more helpful than what you do say.
  • Setting a good example for children takes all the fun out of middle age.
    • Also quoted in Every Day Is Father's Day: The Best Things Ever Said About Dear Old Dad (1989), p. 150

Featherisms (2008)[edit]

A single fact will often spoil an interesting argument.
The kindness lavished on dogs, if evenly distributed, would establish peace on earth.
Let’s not have any more wars to end all war.
Quotes of Feather from "Featherisms" by Ted Landphair at VOA News (6 October 2008)
  • When the gardeners are praying for rain, the picnickers are praying for sunshine. So what is the poor Lord to do?
  • A good time is seldom had by all.
  • Many of us are dull, but not as dull as the grandchildren think we are.
  • The kindness lavished on dogs, if evenly distributed, would establish peace on earth.
  • The most difficult jobs look easy until you try to do them.
  • Experts never seem to tell us what we’re up against until we’re up against it.
  • Let’s not have any more wars to end all war.
  • A tinfoil wrapper doesn’t make a bum cigar taste any better.
  • The trouble with a man who takes his time is that he takes your time, too.
  • A clear conscience doesn’t mean anything if you haven’t any conscience.
  • Nothing makes us so sleepy as the bell of our alarm clock.


Disputed[edit]

  • The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages is preserved into perpetuity by a nation's proverbs, fables, folk sayings and quotations.
    • Attributed in Zebras & Picket Fences (2008) by Jakob Weiss; if this is a statement by Feather, it clearly derives from the earlier remarks of Isaac D'Israeli: "The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation." Since at least 1986 a paraphrased form misattributed to his son Benjamin Disraeli has also often been quoted: "The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages are perpetuated by quotations."

External links[edit]