„Small, minded people rarely have ideas, just a litany of excuses and complaints.“

1981

Edited by RJ Intindola (Gandolfo). Last update Nov. 22, 2020. History

Related quotes

Eleanor Roosevelt photo

„Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.“

—  Eleanor Roosevelt American politician, diplomat, and activist, and First Lady of the United States 1884 - 1962

Some evidence for Henry Buckle (1821-1862) as the source: see p.33 quotation https://books.google.com/books?id=2moaAAAAYAAJ&q=buckle#v=snippet&q=buckle&f=false
There are many published incidents of this as an anonymous proverb since at least 1948, and as a statement of Eleanor Roosevelt since at least 1992, but without any citation of an original source. It is also often attributed to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover but, though Rickover quoted this, he did not claim to be the author of it; in "The World of the Uneducated" in The Saturday Evening Post (28 November 1959), he prefaces it with "As the unknown sage puts it..."
Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and little minds discuss people.
In this form it was quoted as an anonymous epigram in A Guide to Effective Public Speaking (1953) by Lawrence Henry Mouat
New York times Saturday review of books and art, 1931: ...Wanted, the correct quotation and origin of this expression: Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people...
Several other variants or derivatives of the expression exist, but none provide a definite author:
Great minds discuss ideas, mediocre minds discuss events, small minds discuss personalities.
Great minds discuss ideas
Average minds discuss events
Small minds discuss people
Small minds discuss things
Average minds discuss people
Great minds discuss ideas
...Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. (Marie Curie, undated (died 1934), as quoted in Living Adventures in Science by Henry and Dana Lee Thomas, 1972)
...Some professor of psychology who has been eavesdropping for years makes the statement that "The best minds discuss ideas; the second in ranking talk about things; while the third group, or the least in mentality, gossip about people"… (Hardware age, Volume 123, 1929)
...He now reports that, "the best minds discuss ideas; the second ranking talks about things; while the third and lowest mentality – starved for ideas – gossips about people." (Printers' Ink, Volume 139, Issue 2, 1927, p. 87)
...It has been said long ago that there were three classes of people in the world, and while they are subject to variation, for elemental consideration they are useful. The first is that large class of people who talk about people; the next class are those who talk about things; and the third class are those who discuss ideas... (H. J. Derbyshire, "Origin of mental species", 1919)
...Mrs. Conklin points out certain bad conversational habits and suggests good ones, quoting Buckle's classic classification of talkers into three orders of intelligence — those who talk about nothing but persons, those who talk about things and those who discuss ideas... (review of Mary Greer Conklin's book Conversation: What to say and how to say it in The Continent, Jan. 23, 1913, p. 118)
...[ Henry Thomas Buckle's ] thoughts and conversations were always on a high level, and I recollect a saying of his which not only greatly impressed me at the time, but which I have ever since cherished as a test of the mental calibre of friends and acquaintances. Buckle said, in his dogmatic way: "Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons, the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas"… (Charles Stewart, "Haud immemor. Reminescences of legal and social life in Edinburgh and London. 1850-1900", 1901, p. 33 http://www.mocavo.com/Haud-Immemor-by-Charles-Stewart-Reminiscences-of-Life-in-Edinburgh-and-London-1850-1900/608008/13?browse=true#63).
Disputed

Hyman George Rickover photo

„Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.“

—  Hyman George Rickover United States admiral 1900 - 1986

Though Rickover quoted this, he did not claim to be the author of the statement. Using it in "The World of the Uneducated" in The Saturday Evening Post (28 November 1959), he prefaces it with "As the unknown sage puts it..." — It has sometimes been attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, but without definite citation.
Some evidence for Henry Buckle (1821-1862) as the source: see p.33 quotation https://books.google.com/books?id=2moaAAAAYAAJ&q=buckle#v=snippet&q=buckle&f=false
Misattributed

Eleanor Roosevelt photo

„Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. “

—  Eleanor Roosevelt American politician, diplomat, and activist, and First Lady of the United States 1884 - 1962

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues photo
James Frazer photo

„Small minds cannot grasp great ideas;“

—  James Frazer, book The Golden Bough

Source: The Golden Bough (1890), Chapter 4, Magic and Religion.
Context: Small minds cannot grasp great ideas; to their narrow comprehension, their purblind vision, nothing seems really great and important but themselves. Such minds hardly rise into religion at all.

Sherrilyn Kenyon photo
Jon Stewart photo

„Just because we hit on points that resonate, or people think are real complaints—that doesn't make us journalists.“

—  Jon Stewart American political satirist, writer, television host, actor, media critic and stand-up comedian 1962

Hartford Advocate Interview (2008)
Context: People would like to place a standard on our show that doesn't exist. We're not set up for reporting; we don't have an apparatus for that. We're discussing things that hopefully people might get something out of, but it's wildly inconsistent. Just because we hit on points that resonate, or people think are real complaints—that doesn't make us journalists.

Thomas Sowell photo

„Ideas are everywhere, but knowledge is rare.“

—  Thomas Sowell American economist, social theorist, political philosopher and author 1930

Source: 1980s–1990s, Knowledge and Decisions (1980; 1996), Ch. 1 : The Role of Knowledge

Lawrence Durrell photo

„An idea is like a rare bird which cannot be seen. What one sees is the trembling of the branch it has just left.“

—  Lawrence Durrell, The Avignon Quintet

The Avignon Quintet (1974–1985), Monsieur (1974)
Context: The art of prose governed by syncopated thinking; for thoughts curdle in the heart if not expressed. An idea is like a rare bird which cannot be seen. What one sees is the trembling of the branch it has just left.

Ansel Adams photo

„To the complaint, 'There are no people in these photographs,' I respond, There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer.“

—  Ansel Adams American photographer and environmentalist 1902 - 1984

Context: I would never apologize for photographing rocks. Rocks can be very beautiful. But, yes, people have asked why I don’t put people into my pictures of the natural scene. I respond, “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” That usually doesn’t go over at all.

Sarah Palin photo
Dave Eggers photo
Ned Vizzini photo
John C. Maxwell photo

„Most failures are people who have the habit of making excuses.“

—  John C. Maxwell American author, speaker and pastor 1947

Book Sometimes you win Sometimes you Learn

Warren Ellis photo
Andy Rooney photo

„Ive had quite a few complaints lately from people who like it when I complain about things. They say I havent complained about anything lately. So tonight, for you complaint fans, I have a complaint.“

—  Andy Rooney writer, humorist, television personality 1919 - 2011

[Andy Rooney, w:Andy Rooney, 197, Labels, Years of Minutes, 2003, PublicAffairs, 978-1586482114]

Matt Dillahunty photo

„Faith is the excuse people give for believing something when they don't have evidence.“

—  Matt Dillahunty American activist 1969

Episode 696: "Viewer Calls" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OCYhDFc42I, Channel Austin (February 13, 2011)
The Atheist Experience
Context: Your position is... one where there is a god who has an important message for mankind, and somehow he only reveals it to certain individuals who then write this down and thousands of years after this initial revelation, we have to rely on copies of copies of translations of copies by anonymous authors with no originals, and the textual testimony to a miracle, for example the loaves and fishes; there’s no amount of reports - anecdotal testimonial reports - that could be sufficient to justify that this event actually happened as reported. No amount. And anything that would qualify as a god would clearly understand this, and if it wanted to convey this information to people in a way that was believable, would not be relying on text to do so, and this for me is the nail in the coffin for Christianity. The god that Christians believe in is amazingly stupid if it wants to actually achieve its goal of spreading this information to humanity by relying on text; by relying on languages that die out; by relying on anecdotal testimony. That's not a pathway to truth! And anything that would qualify for a god should know this, which means either that God doesn’t exist or it doesn't care enough about those people who understand the nature of evidence to actually present it. Now which of those possibilities do you think is accurate?"... "Why would you believe anything on faith? Faith isn't a pathway to truth. Every religion has some sort of faith, people take things on, you know, - if faith is your pathway, you can't distinguish between Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, any of these others. How is it that you use reason as a path to truth in every endeavor of your life, and then when it comes to the ‘ultimate truth’ - the most important truth - you're saying that faith is required. And how does that reflect on a god (who supposedly exists and wants you to have this information); what kind of god requires faith instead of evidence?... I have reasonable expectations based on evidence. I have trust that has been earned. I will grant trust tentatively. I don't have faith. Faith is the excuse people give for believing something when they don't have evidence.

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Дэн Кеннеди photo

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