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 :: 1912-, American Educator, Social Activist

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America's greatness has been the greatness of a free people who shared certain moral commitments. Freedom without moral commitment is aimless and promptly self-destructive.
~ John W. Gardner - [Education]

 

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Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
~ John W. Gardner - [Excellence]

 

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For every talent that poverty has stimulated it has blighted a hundred.
~ John W. Gardner - [Poverty and The Poor]

 

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I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder that we could have tolerated anything so primitive.
~ John W. Gardner - [Education]

 

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If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.
~ John W. Gardner - [Respectability]

 

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It is hard to feel individually responsible with respect to the invisible processes of a huge and distant government.
~ John W. Gardner - [Government]

 

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One of the reasons mature people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.
~ John W. Gardner - [Risk]

 

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Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.
~ John W. Gardner - [Self-pity]

 

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The cynic says, ''One man can't do anything.'' I say, ''Only one man can do anything.''
~ John W. Gardner - [Potential]

 

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The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life.
~ John W. Gardner - [Excellence]

 

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True happiness involves the full use of one's power and talents.
~ John W. Gardner - [Happiness]

 

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We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.
~ John W. Gardner - [Problems]

 

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We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure all your life.
~ John W. Gardner - [Failure]

 

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Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.
~ John W. Gardner - [Excellence]

 

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