Charles B. Handy Quotes

Who is Charles B. Handy?

Charles Handy CBE is an Irish philosopher and author of 'The Age of Unreason'.

Born July 25, 1932

Books by Charles B. Handy


Best 43 Quotes by Charles B. Handy | Page 1 of 2

“A consultant solves other people's problems. I could never do that. I want to help other people solve their own problems.”

Charles B. Handy

“A leader shapes and shares a vision, which gives point to the work of others.”

Charles B. Handy

“Change is only another word for growth, another synonym for learning.”

Charles B. Handy

“Citizenship is the chance to make a difference to the place where you belong.”

Charles B. Handy

“Competition is healthy... but there is more to life than winning or we should nearly all be losers.”

Charles B. Handy

“Creativity is born of chaos, even if it is somewhat difficult to glimpse the possibilities in the midst of the confusion.”

Charles B. Handy

“Creativity needs a bit of untidiness. Make everything too neat and there is no room for experiment.”

Charles B. Handy

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“I like less the story that a frog if put in cold water will not bestir itself if that water is heated up slowly and gradually and will in the end let itself be killed, boiled alive, too comfortable with continuity to realize that continuous change at some point may become intolerable and demand a change in behaviour.”

Charles B. Handy

“If economic progress means that we become anonymous cogs in some great machine, then progress is an empty promise.”

Charles B. Handy

“If there is one general law of communication it is that we never communicate as effectively as we think we do.”

Charles B. Handy

“In a knowledge economy, a good business is a community with a purpose, not a piece of property.”

Charles B. Handy

“Instead of a national curriculum for education, what is really needed is an individual curriculum for every child.”

Charles B. Handy

“Life can only be understood backwards but you have to live it forward. You can only do that by stepping into uncertainty and by trying, within this uncertainty, to create your own islands of security....The new security will be a belief that... if this doesn't work out you could do something else. You are your own security.”

Charles B. Handy

“Most of us prefer to walk backward into the future, a posture that may be uncomfortable but which at least allows us to keep on looking at familiar things as long as we can.”

Charles B. Handy

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“Ordinary citizens are so accepting of what is going on, grumbling when their material interests were affected, but seemingly accepting the spiritual poverty so characteristic of today.”

Charles B. Handy

“Passion is born of vague hopes.”

Charles B. Handy

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“Endurance is patience concentrated.”


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“Profit has to be a means to other ends rather than an end in itself.”

Charles B. Handy

“Purpose, pattern, and people, the three P's at the heart of life.”

Charles B. Handy

“Some of my unhappiest moments have been in organizations. Somehow it seems to be quite respectable to do things in organizations that you would never do in private life. I have had people insult me to my face in front of colleagues. I have had my feelings rammed down my throat on the pretext that it would do me good. I have been required to do things which I didn't agree with because the organization wished it... In my worst moments I have thought organizations were places designed to be run by sadists and staffed by masochists.”

Charles B. Handy

“The best learning happens in real life with real problems and real people and not in classrooms.”

Charles B. Handy

“The companies that survive longest are the one's that work out what they uniquely can give to the world-not just growth or money but their excellence, their respect for others, or their ability to make people happy. Some call those things a soul.”

Charles B. Handy

“The first step is to measure whatever can easily be measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can't be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can't be measured easily really isn't important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can't be easily measured really doesn't exist. This is suicide.”

Charles B. Handy

“The future is not inevitable. We can influence it, if we know what we want it to be.”

Charles B. Handy

“The moment will arrive when you are comfortable with who you are, and what you are– bald or old or fat or poor, successful or struggling- when you don't feel the need to apologize for anything or to deny anything. To be comfortable in your own skin is the beginning of strength.”

Charles B. Handy

“The sobering thought is that individuals and societies are not, in the end, remembered for how they made their money, but for how they spent it.”

Charles B. Handy

“The world may admire the truth-tellers, but few will want to employ them.”

Charles B. Handy

“There is as far as I know, no example in history, of any state voluntarily ceding power from the centre to its constituent parts.”

Charles B. Handy

“To learn anything other than the stuff you find in books, you need to be able to experiment, to make mistakes, to accept feedback, and to try again. It doesn't matter whether you are learning to ride a bike or starting a new career, the cycle of experiment, feedback, and new experiment is always there.”

Charles B. Handy

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“Villages are small and personal, and their inhabitants have names, characters, and personalities. What more appropriate concept on which to base our institutions of the future than the ancient social unit whose flexibility and strength sustained human society through millennia?”

Charles B. Handy

“We are all prisoners of our past. It is hard to think of things except in the way we have always thought of them. But that solves no problems and seldom changes anything.”

Charles B. Handy

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“No good act performed in the world ever dies. Science tells us that no atom of matter can ever be destroyed, that no force once started ever ends; it merely passes through a multiplicity of ever-changing phases. Every good deed done to others is a great force that starts an unending pulsation through time and eternity. We may not know it, we may never hear a word of gratitude or recognition, but it will all come back to us in some form as naturally, as perfectly, as inevitably, . . . as echo answers to sound.”

The Power of Truth


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