Malcolm Forbes Quotes

Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Sr

Born: 19 August 1919, Englewood, New Jersey
Died: 24 February 1990, Far Hills, New Jersey

Forbes was the third son of Bertie Charles Forbes, a Scottish immigrant who had founded Forbes magazine in 1917. Malcolm attended the Laurenceville School and Princeton University, graduating in 1941. Immediately after graduation, B.C. Forbes gave him a weekly newspaper, the Fairfield (Ohio) Times. A year later he enlisted in the Army and served as a machine gun sergeant in Europe, earning a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He married in 1946, the couple divorced amicably 39 years later. He served six years in the New Jersey Senate and then ran for governor, in his words he was “nosed out by a landslide”. From 1957 to his death he devoted himself to running the family magazine which had 735,000 subscribers of the American version along with numerous foreign versions and other businesses. In the late 1960s he took up motorcycle riding and organized (and publicized) many rides with groups of celebrities and business executives. He had 68 motorcycles in his collections, mostly Harley-Davidsons. He took a balloon ride in 1972 and was so taken with it that he had a commercial balloonist’s license five months later and set six world records. He was also the first to fly coast to coast across the US in a hot air balloon in 1974. In later life he was often seen with Elizabeth Taylor, he gave her a Harley named Purple Passion and she was his co-host at his storied $2.5 million 70th birthday party. He died in his sleep of a heart attack immediately after returning from England on his 727. The last page in Forbes was always given over to quotations. When I subscribed to the magazine in the ’70s I started tearing those page out, when I got my first computer I pulled out a folder full of them and started typing them in, the genesis of the current database here.

Malcolm Forbes quotes:

A bore: Someone who persists in holding to his own views after we have enlightened him with ours.
    Malcolm Forbes

A man who enjoys responsibility usually gets it. A man who merely likes exercising authority usually loses it.
    Malcolm Forbes

Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.
    Malcolm Forbes

Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time.
    Malcolm Forbes

By the time we’ve made it, we’ve had it.
    Malcolm Forbes

Contrary to the cliché, genuinely nice guys most often finish first or very near it.
    Malcolm Forbes

Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.
    Malcolm Forbes

Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.
    Malcolm Forbes

Do what’s right. Do it right. Do it right now.
    Malcolm Forbes

Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
    Malcolm Forbes

Elected leaders who forget how they got there won’t the next time.
    Malcolm Forbes

Everybody has to be somebody to somebody to be anybody.
    Malcolm Forbes

Executives who get there and stay suggest solutions when they present the problems.
    Malcolm Forbes

Failure is success if we learn from it.
    Malcolm Forbes

Few businessmen are capable of being in politics, they don’t understand the democratic process, they have neither the tolerance or the depth it takes. Democracy isn’t a business.
    Malcolm Forbes

How to succeed? Try hard enough.

Malcolm Forbes
I was loaded with sheer ability, spelled i-n-h-e-r-i-t-a-n-c-e.

Malcolm Forbes
If you don’t know what to do with many of the papers piled on your desk, stick a dozen colleagues initials on them and pass them along. When in doubt, route.

Malcolm Forbes
If you expect nothing, you’re apt to be surprised. You’ll get it.

Malcolm Forbes
If you have a job without aggravations, you don’t have a job.

Malcolm Forbes
If you never budge, don’t expect a push.

Malcolm Forbes
If you’re looking for perfection, look in the mirror. If you find it there, expect it elsewhere.

Malcolm Forbes
It is all one to me if a man comes from Sing Sing Prison or Harvard. We hire a man, not his history.

Malcolm Forbes
It’s always worthwhile to make others aware of their worth.

Malcolm Forbes
It’s more fun to arrive at a conclusion than to justify it.

Malcolm Forbes
It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem.

Malcolm Forbes
Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always makes you less than you are.

Malcolm Forbes
Let your children go if you want to keep them.

Malcolm Forbes
Men who never get carried away should be.

Malcolm Forbes
Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do.

Malcolm Forbes

Never perish a good thought.

Malcolm Forbes
Nobody can make anybody be someone he or she doesn’t want to be.

Malcolm Forbes
One can pay back the loan of gold, but one lives forever in debt to those who are kind.

Malcolm Forbes
One of the ceaseless wonders of the world: the power of a smile.

Malcolm Forbes
One worthwhile task carried to a successful conclusion is worth half-a-hundred half-finished tasks.

Malcolm Forbes
Pay your people the least possible and you’ll get from them the same.

Malcolm Forbes
People who matter are most aware that everyone else does, too.

Malcolm Forbes
Presence is more than just being there.

Malcolm Forbes
Retirement kills more people than hard work ever did.

Malcolm Forbes

The Further Sayings of Chairman Malcolm (1986)
Success follows doing what you want to do. There is no other way to be successful.

Malcolm Forbes
The best vision is insight.

Malcolm Forbes
The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy.

Malcolm Forbes
The dumbest people I know are those who know it all.

Malcolm Forbes
The more sympathy you give, the less you need.

Malcolm Forbes
The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.

Malcolm Forbes

The richest person in the world – in fact, all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library. You can measure the awareness, the breadth, and the wisdom of a civilization, a nation, a people by the priority given to preserving these repositories of all that we are, all that we were, or will be.

Malcolm Forbes
The smart ones ask when they don’t know. And, sometimes, when they do.

Malcolm Forbes
There are more fakers in business than in jail.

Malcolm Forbes
There is never enough time, unless you’re serving it.

Malcolm Forbes
There’s no way to move without making waves.

Malcolm Forbes
To live your life in the fear of losing it is to lose the point of life.

Malcolm Forbes
To measure the man, measure his heart.

Malcolm Forbes
Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.

Malcolm Forbes
Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.

Malcolm Forbes
What’s an expert? I read somewhere, that the more a man knows, the more he knows he doesn’t know. So I suppose one definition of an expert would be someone who doesn’t admit out loud that he knows enough about a subject to know he doesn’t really know how much.

Malcolm Forbes
When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always get worse. And when they are, we find hope in the thought that things are so bad they have to get better.

Malcolm Forbes
When what we are is what we want to be, that’s happiness.

Malcolm Forbes
When you cease to dream you cease to live.

Malcolm Forbes
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

Malcolm Forbes

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