Herbert N. Casson

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Herbert Newton Casson (September 23, 1869 – September 4, 1951) was a Canadian journalist and author, who wrote primarily about technology and business.





Ads and Sales (1911)

  • Scientific management consists in correct interpretation of phenomena, in exact knowledge of laws, principle and the influence of conditions upon results: and in the skilled use of methods adapted to the almost infinitely varying circumstances of individual cases
    - Engineering magazine -
    • p. 2
  • The principles of Efficiency were first applied to war by Moltke. Result - the conquest of France in seven weeks.
    Second, they were applied to manufacturing by Taylor, Emerson, and others. Result - lower costs, higher profits, higher wages, and nearly twice the output.
    Third, they were applied to the Ordnance Department of the U. S. Government. Result - the official approval of the Government. (See report by Brigadier General William Crozier, Nov. 2, 1911.)
    • Herbert N. Casson Ads and Sales: A Study of Advertising and Selling, from the Standpoint of new principles of scientific management. Published 1911. p. 3
  • What has worked so well in the acquisition of knowledge and in the production of commodities may work just as well in the distribution of those commodities.
    • p. 6-7; Cited in: Kevin Robins, ‎Franck Webster (1999) Times of the Technoculture. p. 273
  • As yet the efficiency of selling goods has not been worked out. Most salesmen believe it cannot be done. They claim that there are too many variables in the problem. Perhaps there are, but nobody knows until the experiment has been thoroughly tried. In every case the victories of Efficiency have been won in spite of the most stubborn opposition from the men who were being helped. And one fact is sure - that the first Advertisers and Sales Managers who try out Efficiency and succeed will find themselves in a gold mine. They will have found a better way to enter a market that handles, in an average year, thirty thousand million dollars worth of goods.
    • p. 7
(1) Science, not rule of thumb.
(2) Harmony, not discord.
(3) Cooperation, not competition.
(4) Maximum output, not restricted output.
(5) The development of each man to his greatest efficiency and prosperity.
  • p. 8
  • Emerson is more specific and gives twelve principles, as follows:
(1) Ideals
(2) Common Sense
(3) Competent Counsel
(4) Discipline
(5) Fair Deal
(6) Records
(7) Planning
(8) Standards
(9) Standard Conditions
(10) Standard Operations
(11) Written Instructions
(12) Rewards
These principles, like the notes of a piano, may be used in many various combinations.
  • p. 8-9
  • No American can afford to treat salesmanship as a small matter. Why? Because the United States had a salesmanship basis - because only thirteen States were gained by war and all the others were gained by purchase and bargaining.
    • p. 13


  • At Cadbury, everybody thinks.
    • Herbert N. Casson in 1920s, cited in: Morgen Witzel (2003), Fifty Key Figures in Management. p. 39
    • Witzel commented: "Herbert Casson regarded Cadbury in the 1920s as one of the best-run companies in Britain, if not the world, and summed up the key to its success very succinctly." In that time Edward Cadbury was managing director at Cadbury.
  • The average man takes life as a trouble. He is in a chronic state of irritation at the whole performance.
    He does not learn to differentiate between troubles and difficulties, usually, until some real trouble bowls him over. He fusses about pin-pricks until a mule kicks him. Then he learns the difference.
    • Herbert N. Casson in: Sheet Metal Workers' International Association (1928) Sheet Metal Workers Journal p. 22
  • There are always obstacles and competitors. There is never an open road, except the wide road that leads to failure. Every great success has always been achieved by fight. Every winner has scars. The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will power to develop themselves.
    • Herbert N. Casson in: National Printer Journalist Vol 51 (1933), Nr. 7-12. p. 28; Cited in Arthur Tremain (1951) Successful Retailing: A Handbook for Store Owners and Managers p. xi
  • "Safety first" has been the motto of the human race for half a million years; but it has never been the motto of leaders. A leader must face danger. He must take the risk and the blame, and the brunt of the storm.
    • Herbert N. Casson in: The Office Economist (1935) Vol. 17-21. p. 145
  • Goodness is always an asset. A man who is straight, friendly and useful may never be famous, but he is respected and liked by all who know him. He has laid a sound foundation for success and he will have a worthwhile life.
    • Herbert N. Casson in: Forbes (1948). p. 42

1950s and later

  • In handling men, there are three feelings that a man must not possess - fear, dislike and contempt. If he is afraid of men he cannot handle them. Neither can he influence them in his favor if he dislikes or scorns them. He must neither cringe nor sneer. He must have both self-respect and respect for others.
    • Herbert N. Casson cited in: Forbes magazine (1950) The Forbes scrapbook of Thoughts on the business of life. p. 158
  • There is no fate that plans men's lives. Whatever comes to us, good or bad, is usually the result of our own action or lack of action.
    • Herbert N. Casson cited in: Forbes magazine (1950) The Forbes scrapbook of Thoughts on the business of life. p. 218
  • Steel can be tempered and hardened, and so can men. In this world of struggle, which was not designed for softies, a man must be harder than what hits him. Yes, he must be diamond-hard. Then he'll not be "fed up" with his little personal troubles.
    • Herbert N. Casson cited in: Forbes magazine (1950) The Forbes scrapbook of Thoughts on the business of life. p. 236
  • If money is all that a man makes, then he will be poor — poor in happiness, poor in all that makes life worth living.
    • Herbert N. Casson cited in: Forbes magazine (1950) The Forbes scrapbook of Thoughts on the business of life. p. 302
  • There is more power in the open hand than in the clenched fist.
    • Herbert N. Casson cited in: The International Chemical Worker Vol. 13-15 (1953). p. 192
  • The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will power to develop themselves.
    • Herbert N. Casson cited in: Supervisory Management'. Vol. 1 (1955). p. 60
  • It is not size that counts in business. Some companies with $500,000 capital net more profits than other companies with $5 million. Size is a handicap unless efficiency goes with it.
    • Herbert N. Casson cited in: Alfred Armand Montapert (1964) Distilled Wisdom. p. 68

Quotes on Herbert N. Casson

  • Herbert Casson was a highly prolific writer on management, with a career as a management guru spanning some four decades. A skilled writer who was also a successful entrepreneur, he used his own experiences and acute observations of the world around him to develop a philosophy of management based on the concept of ‘efficiency’. He published more than seventy books, which by the time of his death had sold more than half a million copies around the world. Something of a maverick, he was never really accepted by the business academic community in either Britain or America. His books were popular and populist, highly entertaining and full of penetrating insight.
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