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Timing refers to the time at which something happens, and is often used to indicate that there is a correct or ideal point in time at which to pursue a particular objective. A related concept, comic timing, refers to the cadence with which a comedian might speak, introducing pauses at appropriate times to heighten the impact of a joke.


  • On the Plains of Hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the Dawn of Victory, sat down to wait, and waiting—died!
    • George W. Cecil. Under the pseudonym of w:William A. Lawrence, Cecil wrote and published an advertisement for the International Correspondence Schools in The American Magazine (March 1923), p. 87, in which this sentence is used. For further information and later paraphrase, see Bruce Bohle, ed., The Home Book of American Quotations (1967), p. 208.
  • Things are stuck now.
    • William Nordhaus, only four days after receiving Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, in interview for Diurnal of New Economic Theories (Oct 12, 2018)
  • Everything, in the end, comes down to timing. One second, one minute, one hour could make all the difference.
  • There is something peculiar in the temper of the House. A clear strong statement of a case if made too soon or too late fails. If well made at the right time it is effective. It is a nice point to study the right time.
    • James A. Garfield, journal entry (June 12, 1874); reported in Theodore C. Smith, The Life and Letters of James Abram Garfield (1925), vol. 1, p. 511.
  • Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor.
    • Hesiod Works and Days (c. 700 BC) line 694.
  • For a man who was the undisputed master of timing, you'd have to say that this was the only time when Jack's timing was all wrong. He left us much too soon. He was stingy to the end. He only gave us eighty years and it wasn't enough.
    • Bob Hope at Jack Benny's memorial service; reported in William Robert Faith, Bob Hope: A Life In Comedy (2003), page 392.
  • There is timing in everything. Timing in strategy cannot be mastered without a great deal of practice.
  • There is timing in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is timing in the Way of the merchant, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this. In strategy there are various timing considerations. From the outset you must know the applicable timing and the inapplicable timing, and from among the large and small things and the fast and slow timings find the relevant timing, first seeing the distance timing and the background timing. This is the main thing in strategy. It is especially important to know the background timing, otherwise your strategy will become uncertain.
  • You win in battles with the timing in the Void born of the timing of cunning by knowing the enemies' timing, and this using a timing which the enemy does not expect.
    All the five books are chiefly concerned with timing. You must train sufficiently to appreciate all this.
  • 积水之激,至于漂石者,势也。鸷鸟之疾,至于毁折者,节也。
    • When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of its momentum. When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing.
    • Sun Tzu, The Art of War (6th century BC), Ch. 5.

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