Anthony Trollope? Isaac Asimov? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: Recently, I saw a tweet ascribing the following words to the popular Victorian era English novelist Anthony Trollope:
Above all else, never think you’re not good enough.
Curiously, when I searched for a citation I found that it was also ascribed to the science fiction master Isaac Asimov. Would you please help me to identify the true originator?
Quote Investigator: In 1863 Anthony Trollope serialized the novel “The Small House at Allington” in “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine”. A character who was an earl offered the following advice. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
And, above all things, never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you very much at your own reckoning.
Isaac Asimov was born in 1920 and died in 1992; the saying was attributed to him by 2009. Thus, he did not craft the expression, and the evidence that he ever employed it is very weak.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading
- 1863 September, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume 27, The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope, Chapter 32: Pawkins’s In Jermyn Street, Start Page 518, Quote Page 522, Harper and Brothers, New York. (Google Books Full View) link ↩