Category Archives: Quotes

Happy Holidays from My Team at Kendeo

Some of you may know about Kendeo, the design and strategy consulting company I own where I do all my ‘non-legal’ work.  I often tell people that “we draw pictures of hard-to-understand things,” and that’s pretty much true.

We had some fun with our Holiday card this year and I really wanted to share it (albeit belatedly) here on the blog.  The whiteboard sketches are actual pictures from our office’s whiteboard (it should show a bit larger if you click on the image.)

I hope you like it.
Holiday Poster 01

If you still can’t read the text, here it is:

It all begins when our meddlesome elf throws a plane at an axe perched on a shelf, tripping the axe and cutting the sting, causing the smelly old boot to swing.
The boot kicks the next and wakes up the hen; she squawks in surprise, lays some eggs, and then … a basket of fruit is tipped from the back, falling into the train on the track. 
The train scares a squirrel who, heart all aflutter, begins jumping and churning a tub full of butter. The squirrel, still frightened, leaps with two legs, which adds baking soda to the butter and eggs.  
That cat on a treadmill’s providing the power to mix fruit and batter, along with some flour. The heat from the furnace, while warming the room, also bakes our concoction and makes it go fwoom! Out comes our fruitcake, thick as a log. It hits the TV, falls onto the dog.
It bounces off Fido and picks up some spice from an old can of Lysol that still smells quite nice. The jack-in-the-box flings it through the air, and onto the table into Kendeo’s lair where we gather to draw, to think, and to play and hope you and yours have a great holiday!
 Enjoy the rest of your holiday season!

Henry Ford on the Value of Lawyers

I think this Henry Ford Quote also applies to legal advice:

 If you need a machine and don’t buy it, then you will ultimately find that you have paid for it and don’t have it.

A Well Trained Lawyer …

I really love this quote, as it goes to the heart of the value (vs. time) of what lawyers provide:

“A well-trained man knows how to answer questions; an educated man knows what questions are worth asking.”
— E. Digby Baltzell (1955)

Hat tip: Kevin Kelly

Focus Wins

From Seth Godin:

When you have someone who is willing to accomplish A without worrying about B and C, they will almost always defeat you in accomplishing A.

100 Tweets: Thinking About Law Practice in 140 Characters or Less.

I really like Twitter.  For those who follow me, you know that I try to share lots of legal-themed tips, thoughts and ideas.  In fact, most of my Ten Rules posts started out on Twitter — where I’ll test 15-25 “rules” to see which ones work best before picking the ten favorites.

However, there’s lots of stuff that lives on Twitter now that used to live here on the blog.  And since I don’t expect everyone reading this to follow me there (or go back and read through my 2000+ Twitter messages), I decided to compile a “Best Of” list of my favorite tweets.

So, here (in .pdf form) is a little e-book I’ve titled:  100 Tweets: Thinking about Law Practice in 140 Characters or Less.  It contains my favorite 100 tweets, in no particular order, and should give you a sense of what I share on Twitter that you don’t always see here.

If you enjoy it, and would like to follow me on Twitter, I’ll see you there.

An Interview with Me

Just in case you’re interested, here’s a link to an interview I did about innovation, law practice and becoming a former lawyer.  It’s here if you’d like a listen:

The Five Most Dangerous Words in Business

The five most dangerous words in business, according to Warren Buffett, are:

Everybody else is doing it.

Power “Marketing” Tip from Dale Carnegie

Bert Decker reminded me of this fantastic quote from the great Dale Carnegie that I had to share:

You will win more friends in the next two months developing a sincere interest in two people than you will ever win in the next two years trying to get two people interested in you.

Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn

From William Glasser:

We Learn:
10% of what we READ

20% of what we HEAR

30% of what we SEE

50% of what we SEE and HEAR

70% of what is DISCUSSED with OTHERS


95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE

Know What You Don’t Know

Ben Folds, from the song “Bastard” on Songs for Silverman:

“Why you got to act like you know when you don’t know?”

How many of us are afraid to admit to a client that we, “just don’t know” the answer?  Ben Folds would suggest:

 “It’s OK if you don’t know everything.” 

It really is.  Next time you don’t know, say you don’t know.  Your clients may appreciate your candor.

Quote of the Day

From the book The Radical EdgeTo be successful, you must do “what you love in the service of the people you love, who in turn, love what you do for them.”


Quote of the Week.

“You can play a shoestring if you’re sincere.”  – John-Coltrane

(from this amazing list of Jazz Quotes at Presentation Zen)

Be a Master

Hugh MacLeod on the billable hour:

The thing about consulting I hate is, you just get paid by the billable hour. So the minute you stop tapdancing, you’re dead.

A Journeyman gets paid while he works. A Master gets paid while he sleeps.

Friday Time Waster

Who thought reading an encyclopedia could be fun?  Well, now with Wikipedia (and WikiQuote) on the scene, you can’t go wrong with a little bit of encyclopedic knowledge on a Friday afternoon.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you (see title of the post):

Simpsons Quotes, Simpsons Neologisms, and finally Bart’s Chalkboard Gags.

What’s the Client Benefit You Promise?

I ran across this David Ogilvy quote in this post at AdPulp:

If you spend your advertising budget entertaining the consumer, you’re a bloody fool. Housewives don’t buy a new detergent because the manufacturer told a joke on television last night. They buy the new detergent because it promises a benefit. – David Ogilvy

What benefit does your business promise?

Quote of the Week

I know I don’t post one every week, but I found this quote by Robert T. Allen on one of my new favorite blogs 37 Days:

The truth is that everything that can be accomplished by showing a person when he’s wrong, ten times as much can be accomplished by showing him where he is right. The reason we don’t do it so often is that it’s more fun to throw a rock through a window than to put in a pane of glass. – Robert T. Allen

While you’re at it, check out Always Rent the (Red) Convertible.


It’s all about the grades.

Freakin’ great advice.  Don’t major in something that interests you.  Don’t challenge yourself.  Don’t worry about learning anything important. (Thanks to Buffalo Wings and Vodka for the tip.)

Ladies and Gentlemen

I ran across Man on a Mission yesterday.  It is a blog collecting companies’ “Mission Statements.”  I particularly liked the entry about the Ritz-Carlton hotels.  Go read the entire thing, but I was taken by the hotel chain’s motto:

“We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”

Quote of the Day

Thanks to Getting Things Done, The Broad View for this quote from Edward de Bono:

“It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.”

Quote of the Week

Alex Wexelblat at Copyfight is my quote of the week:

It’s important to remember that no matter who you are – CVS, Microsoft, the Cartel, whoever – most of the smart people in the world don’t work for you. It really would be better all around if more people would keep that in mind.

Quote of the Week

“Fix the holes in the bucket first, and then worry about how to add more water!”  — Howard Kaplan

This quote comes from the author of one of my favorite blogs, A Day in the Life of a Persuasion Architect.  The quote comes from this post talking about a ClickZ article that collected common complaints Search Engine Optimization (SEO) firms have about their clients.  Howard’s take:

It’s pure lunacy to change your site to accommodate the recommendations of a firm whose stated goals are to provide more qualified traffic, when you’ve previously displayed an utter inability to close on the qualified traffic you currently enjoy. 

The lesson for lawyers?  How much “qualified traffic” visits your web site, calls your office, or comes in for an initial appointment yet doesn’t retain your firm?  Until you know the reason(s) why, don’t spend any additional marketing dollars.  Instead, take your marketing budget (you have one, right?), divide it by your hourly rate and spend at least that amount of time fixing the problems.  Once you get your act together, spend the dough to tell other people what a great lawyer you are.

P.S. It seems like the rethink(ip) guys like this quote too.

Law review is the path to the dark side.

Jeremy Blachman has Yoda’s Twenty Pieces of Law School Advice.  Really funny stuff. 

On a more serious note, my LexThink partner Scheherazade Fowler has this great list of Legal Lies.

Another Quote of the Week

This one comes from Keith Ferrazzi, on his Never Eat Alone Blog:

Too many people see relationships as pies — where if you take a piece, there won’t be as much left over. Relationships and networks are more like muscles. The more you work them, the bigger and stronger they get.   

Quote of the Week

Can you imagine a managing partner at a big firm saying this as he or she moves the firm to value billing?

I’m sure mistakes will be made along the way. I’m sure that there will be surprises. I’m sure we will have to do quite a bit of adjusting to make the program a win win for all involved.  So what ?  If it works, everyone, particularly consumers benefit.  If it doesn’t, everyone calls me a dumbass, and we go back to doing it the way it was always done.  I can handle that.  Mark Cuban, talking about shaking up the movie business.

Quote of the Week

This one is mine:

I’d rather fail at something I love, than fail at something I hate.

Quote of the Week

 Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there. — Josh Billings (Thanks to Getting Things Done – The Broad View for the quote)

Quote of the Week

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.  – Sir Winston Churchill.

Quote of the Week

My friend Todd at A Penny For… posted this great quote today by E.B. White:

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes, this makes planning the day difficult.


Worthwhile’s Thought for the Day

This great quote from Richard Koch (author of The 80/20 Principle) comes courtesy of Worthwhile

People put average effort into too many things, rather than superior thought and effort into a few important things. Pursue those few things where you are amazingly better than most others and that you enjoy the most.

Quote of the Week

“I’ve found my niche. If you’re wondering why I’m not there, there was this little hole in the bottom…”  John Croll  (Thanks to Tom Asacker at

Let me tell you a story…

Jon Strande, one of this week’s Five by Five contributors has started the StoryBlog — a repository of stories for use in presentations.  The blog is pretty new, but has some great stories on it already. My favorite comes from Nerio Vakil:&nbsp:

This happened in one of Japan’s biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap box that was empty.  Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason, one soap box went through the assembly line empty. Management asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soap boxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent a whoopee amount to do so.  But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc. but instead came out with another solution. He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soap box passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.  Moral of the story:  “Always look for simple solutions. Devise the simplest possible solution that solves the problem and learn to focus on solutions not on problems.”

How Not to Write Like a Lawyer

The following passage is a direct quote from a proposed Order we received in the office yesterday. It was drafted by a real attorney:

Matter comes now for discovery management, by stipulation and agreement of the parties, Attorney X for the Plaintiff and Defendant Y, Pro Se. The Court is advised and notes Y’s substitution as Defendant in this matter by operation of law pertaining to Lis Pendens heretofore recorded with regard to this matter by Plaintiff. Thereafter, by agreement of parties herein, and in supplement of the Court’s docket Order of April ___, 2004. It is Hereby Ordered: …


A Great Top Ten List

Jeremy’s Weblog has the “Top Ten Signs You’ve Been A Lawyer Too Long.” My favorites:

10. You’re planning on watching 0.8 hours of TV tonight followed by 1.2 hours of pleasurable reading.
8. You tell your parents they can no longer tell you what to do because you’re in a different jurisdiction.
2. Your trash talk repertoire includes the line, “You are my wholly-owned subsidiary.”

Quote of the Week

“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” – Unknown (via Mariano Delle Donne’s Blog)

Quote of the Week

“Having met some successful people, I can assure you that they didn’t get that way by deserving it.” – Seth Godin from this post.

Quote of the Week

The best swordsman in the world does not need to fear the second best swordsman, but the man ignorant of swords and knowledgeable about gun-powder. Mark Twain.

Correction. Reader Jack Moore writes, “A favorite of mine, too, but not exactly a direct quote. The actual quote is from Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court:

[T]here are some things that can beat smartness and foresight? Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn’t prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do; and often it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot.

Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Chapter XXXIV)”

Quote of the Week

Saw this quote on Evelyn Rodriguez’s Crossroads Dispatches:

“A Native American Elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: ‘Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.’ When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, ‘The one I feed the most.” — Original Source Unknown

Quote of the Week

From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life. — Arthur Ashe

Quote of the Week

When you’re through changing, you’re through. — Bruce Barton

Quote of the Week

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” — Antoine De Saint-Exupery

This one comes courtesy of Evelyn Rodriguez and her great blog Crossroads Dispatches.

Quote of the Day

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow, study as if you were to live forever.” Thomas More

Quote of the Week

The only sure way to avoid making mistakes is to have no new ideas. Albert Einstein

Quote of the Week.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters comapred to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quote of the Week.

An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.” Mae West. Thanks to Tom Asacker at Rebel with a Cause.

Quote of the Week

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

Quote of the Week

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Quote of the Day

There’s as much risk in doing nothing as in doing something. — Trammell Crow