Charlton Ogburn

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Charlton Ogburn, Jr. (1911 – 1998) was an American author.


  • We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.
    • From "Merrill's Marauders: The truth about an incredible adventure" in the January 1957 issue of Harper's Magazine
    • Usually misattributed to Petronius
    • See Brown, David S. "Petronius or Ogburn?", Public Administration Review, Vol. 38, No. 3 (May - Jun., 1978), p. 296 [1]
      • alternate version:

        As a result, I suppose, of high-level changes of mind about how we were to be used, we went though several reorganizations. Perhaps because Americans as a nation have a gift for organizing, we tend to meet any new situation by reorganization, and a wonderful method it is for creating the illusion of progress at the mere cost of confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.

        • The Maurauders (1959)
        • chapter 2, page 60
  • Being unready and ill-equipped is what you have to expect in life. It is the universal predicament. It is your lot as a human being to lack what it takes. Circumstances are seldom right. You never have the capacities, the strength, the wisdom, the virtue you ought to have. You must always do with less than you need in a situation vastly different from what you would have chosen as appropriate for your special endowments.
    • The Maurauders (1959)
    • Introduction, page 6

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