In the republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous.
—Robert G. Ingersoll (1833–99) American Lawyer, Orator, Agnostic
Take back the beauty and wit you bestow upon me; leave me my own mediocrity of agreeableness and genius, but leave me also my sincerity, my constancy, and my plain dealing; ’tis all I have to recommend me to the esteem either of others or myself.
—Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762) English Aristocrat, Poet, Novelist, Writer
Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist
Little things affect little minds.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
Mediocrity is now, as formerly, dangerous, commonly fatal, to the poet; but among even the successful writers of prose, those who rise sensibly above it are the very rarest exceptions.
—William Ewart Gladstone (1809–98) English Liberal Statesman, Prime Minister
The status quo is leaving the building, and quickly.
—Seth Godin (b.1960) American Entrepreneur
Mediocrity requires aloofness to preserve its dignity.
—Charles G. Dawes (1865–1951) American Head of State, Investor, Politician
Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three.
—Joseph Heller (1923–99) American Novelist
One would like to be grand and heroic, if one could; but if not, why try at all? One wants to be very something, very great, very heroic; or if not that, then at least very stylish and very fashionable. It is this everlasting mediocrity that bores me.
—Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96) American Abolitionist, Author
There is nothing quite so useless, as doing with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all.
—Peter Drucker (1909–2005) Austrian-born Management Consultant