21 Great Business Lessons to be Learnt from Winston Churchill Quotes

Winston Churchill

Let me start with a quote that’s not even in my top 21 but has always resonated with me: “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations”. As it turns out I think it’s not a bad idea for the educated man, or woman for that matter, to do the same.

So here’s 21 real business lessons that you can learn from the thoughts of the Great Winston Spencer Churchill that I think ring as true in 21st century corporate life as they did when he wrote them.

Hope you agree.

1 Persistence is omnipotent

“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

2 Brevity gets read

“The length of this document defends it well against the risk of its being read.”

3 Always remain optimistic

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

4 Results come from hard work

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”

5 Results count most in the end

“It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”

6 Encourage constructive criticism

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

7 Innovate or die

“Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.”

8 Predict the future from the past

“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.”

9 Have courage and take risks

“Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

10 Trust your instincts

“Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong.”

11 Be proactive

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.”

12 Believe in yourself

“Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.”

13 Make sure you’re talking to the decision maker

“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”

14 Admit when you’re wrong

“I have never developed indigestion from eating my words.”

15 Analyse all the facts before you act

“True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.”

16 Fortune favours the bold

“The first quality that is needed is audacity.”

17 Always be aware of what’s happening around you

“We occasionally stumble over the truth but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”

18 Preparation Prevents Pi$$-Poor Performance

“I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks.”

19 Always do what you know needs to be done no matter how unpalatable.

“One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!”

20 Give more to get more

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

21 Don’t be afraid to make enemies

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

photo credit: David Paul Ohmer via photopin cc


Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

Posted in Quotations
2 comments on “21 Great Business Lessons to be Learnt from Winston Churchill Quotes
  1. Mark Slade says:

    It’s hard to believe he had time to fight a war when was thinking up all these clever things. Some great stuff here Mike – I especially liked “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – not heard that one before.

    On the subject of optimism he also said
    “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.”
    – whats the point of not being one?

    Have a great Christmas

    • Mike Ames says:

      Thanks Mark; glad you liked them and I completely agree with you (and the great man) about being an optimist. Got some really great blog posts for next year BTW. Merry Christmas.

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Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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