The Best Time To Plant a Tree Was 30 Years Ago, and the Second Best Time To Plant a Tree Is Now

George W. White? Confucius? Chinese Saying? Jean Chretien? Earl Ubell? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The payoff for some actions only occurs after a lengthy delay. For example, a newly planted fruit tree requires years of growth before it can generate a bumper harvest. Also, a shade tree may require decades of maturation before it produces an extensive canopy. Yet, regrets about previous missed opportunities should not prevent immediate constructive action. Here are two versions of a popular saying:

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

The two best times to plant are tree are 30 years ago and today.

This is sometimes called a Chinese proverb, but I have not seen any solid supporting evidence. Would you please explore the provenance of this saying?

Quote Investigator: The earliest strong match known to QI appeared in “The Cleveland Plain Dealer” of Ohio in 1967. Local city councilman George W. White used the expression, but he disclaimed credit. Thus, the source was anonymous. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1967 March 19, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Negro Help for Negroes Under Way”, Quote Page 9A, Column 1, Cleveland, Ohio. (GenealogyBank)

“Someone remarked,” White said, “that the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago, and the second best time to plant a tree is now. That’s how it is with us.”

Thanks to linguistics researcher Barry Popik who located the above citation.

QI has found no substantive evidence that this saying is a Chinese proverb.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Best Time To Plant a Tree Was 30 Years Ago, and the Second Best Time To Plant a Tree Is Now

References

References
1 1967 March 19, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Negro Help for Negroes Under Way”, Quote Page 9A, Column 1, Cleveland, Ohio. (GenealogyBank)

Find Out What You Like Doing Best and Get Someone To Pay You for Doing It

Katharine Whitehorn? Confucius? Elbert Hubbard? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A generation of social media stars began by sharing their passions, e.g., playing video games, applying makeup, preparing meals, or animating short tales. Lucrative careers became possible with support from advertisers, patrons, and merchandise deals.

Vocational advice from decades ago is especially pertinent today: Find something you love doing and convince people to pay you to do it. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: English journalist Katharine Whitehorn was a columnist for “The Observer” newspaper of London for more than 35 years. In 1975 she penned a piece about employment containing the following remark. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1975 January 19, The Observer, The ten-hour week is here to stay by Katharine Whitehorn, Quote Page 25, Column 7, London, England. (Newspapers_com)

The best careers advice given to the young (at least to boys; girls’ schools can spot a snag to it) is ‘Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it’.

The statement above was the earliest match located by QI. This job strategy is inherently risky, and a backup job may be necessary. Yet, success in discovering your joyful niche is invaluable.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Find Out What You Like Doing Best and Get Someone To Pay You for Doing It

References

References
1 1975 January 19, The Observer, The ten-hour week is here to stay by Katharine Whitehorn, Quote Page 25, Column 7, London, England. (Newspapers_com)

If You Seek Revenge You Should Dig Two Graves

Confucius? Japanese Proverb? Chinese Proverb? William Elliot Griffis? Jeff Bezos?

Dear Quote Investigator: Seeking vengeance can backfire on an individual and lead to additional pain and suffering. The founding CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, referenced a powerful cautionary proverb about revenge during an interview in 2016 although he expressed uncertainty about its origin:[1]YouTube video, Title: Jeff Bezos vs. Peter Thiel and Donald Trump | Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon | Code Conference 2016, Uploaded on May 31, 2016, Uploaded by Recode, (Quotation starts at 24 minute 13 … Continue reading

It’s attributed to Confucius. Who knows if it’s really Confucius or not, but: “Seek revenge and you should dig two graves, one for yourself”.

Would you please explore the provenance of this saying?

Quote Investigator: Researchers have been unable to find this statement in the writings of Confucius. The earliest partial match known to QI appeared in an 1876 history book about Japan called “The Mikado’s Empire” by William Elliot Griffis who presented a list of Japanese proverbs which included the following. The statement in the second line provided an interpretation of the proverb. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[2]1876, The Mikado’s Empire, Book I: History of Japan From 660 B.C. to 1872 A.D., Book II: Personal Experiences, Observations, and Studies in Japan: 1870-1874 by William Elliot Griffis (Late of … Continue reading

If you call down a curse on any one, look out for two graves.
(“Curses, like young chickens, always come home to roost.”)

This precursor statement did not mention the motivation of revenge. Yet, this saying evolved over time, and by 1915 the word “revenge” appeared instead of “curse”. See further below.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading If You Seek Revenge You Should Dig Two Graves

References

References
1 YouTube video, Title: Jeff Bezos vs. Peter Thiel and Donald Trump | Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon | Code Conference 2016, Uploaded on May 31, 2016, Uploaded by Recode, (Quotation starts at 24 minute 13 seconds of 1 hour 20 minutes 27 seconds) Description: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos talks with The Verge’s Walt Mossberg, (Accessed on youtube.com on June 1, 2016) link
2 1876, The Mikado’s Empire, Book I: History of Japan From 660 B.C. to 1872 A.D., Book II: Personal Experiences, Observations, and Studies in Japan: 1870-1874 by William Elliot Griffis (Late of the Imperial University of Tokio, Japan), Chapter XIV: Japanese Proverbs, Start Page 504, Quote Page 511, Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York. (Google Books Full View) link

Tell Me and I Forget; Teach Me and I May Remember; Involve Me and I Learn

Benjamin Franklin? Confucius? Xunzi? Hsüntze? Native American Saying? Shuo Yuan? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The following tripartite expression encapsulates an influential approach to education:

Tell me and I forget,
teach me and I remember,
involve me and I learn.

The U.S. statesman Benjamin Franklin and the Chinese philosopher Confucius have both received credit for these words. What do you think?

Quote Investigator: There is no substantive evidence that Benjamin Franklin crafted this expression. The earliest partial match known to QI occurred in the writings of Xunzi (Xun Kuang), a Confucian philosopher who lived in the third century B.C.E.

Several English renderings have been published over the years. The following excerpt is from “Xunzi: The Complete Text” within chapter 8 titled “The Achievements of the Ru”. The translator was Eric L. Hutton, and the publisher was Princeton University Press in 2014. Emphasis added to excerpts:[1]2014 Copyright, Xunzi: The Complete Text, Translated by Eric L. Hutton, Chapter 8: The Achievements of the Ru, Quote Page 64, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. (Verified with … Continue reading

Not having heard of it is not as good as having heard of it. Having heard of it is not as good as having seen it. Having seen it is not as good as knowing it. Knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice. Learning arrives at putting it into practice and then stops . . .

The word “it” above referred to the proper Confucian way of life. This passage from Xunzi clearly differed from the statement under examination, yet QI believes that the Chinese saying acted as the seed for an efflorescence that included several modern variants.

Another ancient Chinese source containing a partial match is a collection of stories called the Shuo Yuan (SY). The following excerpt was translated by John Knoblock and appeared in 1990:[2]1990, Xunzi: A Translation and Study of the Complete Works by John Knoblock, Volume 2: Books 7 to 16, Section: Notes, Footnote 99, Quote Page 289, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. … Continue reading

The SY says: “The ear’s hearing something is not as good as the eye’s seeing it; the eye’s seeing it is not as good as the foot’s treading upon it; the foot’s treading upon it is not as good as the hands differentiating it.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Tell Me and I Forget; Teach Me and I May Remember; Involve Me and I Learn

References

References
1 2014 Copyright, Xunzi: The Complete Text, Translated by Eric L. Hutton, Chapter 8: The Achievements of the Ru, Quote Page 64, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. (Verified with hardcopy)
2 1990, Xunzi: A Translation and Study of the Complete Works by John Knoblock, Volume 2: Books 7 to 16, Section: Notes, Footnote 99, Quote Page 289, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. (Verified with scans)

Better to Light a Candle Than to Curse the Darkness

Eleanor Roosevelt? Confucius? Chinese Proverb? William L. Watkinson? E. Pomeroy Cutler? James Keller? Oliver Wendell Holmes? Adlai Stevenson? John F. Kennedy? Charles Schulz?

Dear Quote Investigator: I love the emphasis on constructive action in the following saying:

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

These words have been attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, Confucius, and several other people. What do you think?

Quote Investigator: The earliest appearance located by QI occurred in a 1907 collection titled “The Supreme Conquest and Other Sermons Preached in America” by William L. Watkinson. A sermon titled “The Invincible Strategy” downplayed the value of verbal attacks on undesirable behaviors and championed the importance of performing good works. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[1]1907 Copyright, The Supreme Conquest and Other Sermons Preached in America by W. L. Watkinson (William Lonsdale Watkinson), Sermon XIV: The Invincible Strategy, (Romans: xii, 21), Start Page 206, … Continue reading

But denunciatory rhetoric is so much easier and cheaper than good works, and proves a popular temptation. Yet is it far better to light the candle than to curse the darkness.

In September 1907 Watkinson’s sermon “The Invincible Strategy” was reprinted in a periodical called “China’s Millions” which was published by a Protestant Christian missionary society based in China.[2]1907 September, China’s Millions, The Invincible Strategy by Rev. Wm. L. Watkinson, (Sermon printed by special permission of the Methodist Publishing House from the book “The Supreme … Continue reading

Thus, the expression was disseminated to a group of people in China. Nowadays, the words are sometimes ascribed to Confucius or labeled a Chinese proverb, but QI has not found compelling evidence to support that assignment.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Better to Light a Candle Than to Curse the Darkness

References

References
1 1907 Copyright, The Supreme Conquest and Other Sermons Preached in America by W. L. Watkinson (William Lonsdale Watkinson), Sermon XIV: The Invincible Strategy, (Romans: xii, 21), Start Page 206, Quote Page 217 and 218, Fleming H. Revell Company, New York. (Google Books Full View) link
2 1907 September, China’s Millions, The Invincible Strategy by Rev. Wm. L. Watkinson, (Sermon printed by special permission of the Methodist Publishing House from the book “The Supreme Conquest” by W. L. Watkinson), Start Page 135, Quote Page 137, Column 2, Morgan and Scott, London. (Google Books Full View) link

Who Wait Until Circumstances Completely Favor His Undertaking Will Never Accomplish Anything

Martin Luther? J. J. Van Oosterzee? Johann Eduard Huther? Saint Timothy? Jesse Lyman Hurlbut? Confucius?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous religious reformer Martin Luther who died in 1546 has been credited with a comment about the need to take action and avoid perpetual delays:

For truth and duty it is ever the fitting time; who waits until circumstances completely favor his undertaking, will never accomplish anything.

I have been unable to locate a solid citation. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: QI believes that the ascription to Martin Luther was flawed. Instead, the quotation evolved from a remark written by a German theologian named Johann Eduard Huther who was a Pastor at Wittenförden Bei Schwerin in the 1800s. The mistake was probably caused by confusion between the names “Huther” and “Luther”.

The earliest match in English located by QI appeared in 1868 in volume 8 of “A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures” edited by John Peter Lange. The Second Epistle to Timothy was analyzed by a theologian named J. J. Van Oosterzee. The translation from German to English was performed by E. A. Washburn and E. Harwood. Oosterzee presented a quotation with an attribution to “Huther”. Boldface has been added to excerpts:[1]1868, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical by John Peter Lange, Translated from the German and edited by Philip Schaff, Volume 8, First and Second Epistles to … Continue reading

Timothy should fulfil his calling, not indeed when the time was so inopportune that they could receive no benefit, but when to himself it might be inconvenient. “For the truth, it is ever the fitting time; who wait until circumstances completely favor his undertaking, will never accomplish anything, but will remain in inactivity;” Huther.

Huther was referred to many times in the volume when excerpts from his commentaries were reprinted. Oddly, QI was unable to find the full name for Huther listed within the book. Nevertheless, QI believes that Johann Eduard Huther who was born in 1807 crafted the quotation in German. Indeed, an alternative translation of the statement into English appeared in a book of biblical exegesis published in 1881. The section of the book containing the quotation was about the Second Epistle to Timothy, and it was written by Johann Eduard Huther:[2]1881, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The New Testament by Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Volume 11, The Pastoral Epistles by J. E. Huther (Johann Eduard Huther), (Fourth Edition Author’s … Continue reading

For the truth, the occasion is always seasonable. He who desires to wait until the occasion seem completely favorable for his work, will never find it. This is particularly true of the exercise of the evangelic office.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Who Wait Until Circumstances Completely Favor His Undertaking Will Never Accomplish Anything

References

References
1 1868, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical by John Peter Lange, Translated from the German and edited by Philip Schaff, Volume 8, First and Second Epistles to Timothy by J. J. Van Oosterzee, Translated from the German by E. A. Washburn and E. Harwood, Exegetical and Critical Analysis of the Second Epistle to Timothy, Chapter 4, Verse 2, Quote Page 112, Column 2, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. (Google Books Full View) link
2 1881, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The New Testament by Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer, Volume 11, The Pastoral Epistles by J. E. Huther (Johann Eduard Huther), (Fourth Edition Author’s Preface Dated November 1875), Section: The Second Epistle to Timothy), Quote Page 314, T & T. Clark, Edinburgh, Scotland. (Google Books Full View) link

People Who Say It Cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt Those Who Are Doing It

George Bernard Shaw? Puck? Saxby’s Magazine? Elbert Hubbard? Confucius? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The following adage is the perfect antidote to excessive negativity and obstructionism:

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

These words are often attributed to Asian sage Confucius and to the acclaimed playwright George Bernard Shaw; unfortunately, I have not been able to locate any solid data to back up this claim. Would you please trace this quotation?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive support for the ascriptions to Confucius and Shaw.

QI hypothesizes that the modern expression evolved from a comment about the rapidity of change and innovation at the turn of the century that was printed in the humor magazine “Puck” in December 1902. Emphasis added to excerpts:[1] 1902 December 24, Puck, Volume 52, (Filler item), Quote Page 2, Published at the Puck Building, New York, Copyright Keppler and Schwarzmann, New York. (HathiTrust Full View) link

Things move along so rapidly nowadays that people saying: “It can’t be done,” are always being interrupted by somebody doing it.

Multiple newspapers and journals reprinted the remark in 1903. One instance appeared on March 7, 1903 in a periodical called “The Public” based in Chicago, Illinois. An acknowledgment to the humor magazine “Puck” was appended:[2] 1903 March 7, The Public, Number 257, Editor Louis F. Post, (Filler item), Quote Page 766, Column 3, Chicago, Illinois. (Google Books Full View) link

Things move along so rapidly nowadays that people saying: “It can’t be done,” are always being interrupted by somebody doing it.—Puck.

On March 13, 1903 an instance was published in “The Evansville Courier” of Evansville, Indiana with an acknowledgement to “Saxby’s Magazine”. The statements above and below were both printed as filler items without additional contextual information:[3] 1903 March 16, The Evansville Courier (Evansville Courier and Press), (Filler item), Quote Page 4, Column 7, Evansville, Indiana. (GenealogyBank)

Some philosopher takes time to remark that things move along so rapidly nowadays that people who say “It can’t be done,” are always being interrupted by somebody doing it.—Saxby’s Magazine.

In April 1903 a journal for educators and parents called “Kindergarten Magazine” printed an instance that exactly matched the statement in “The Public”. The “Puck” acknowledgement was included:[4] 1903 April, Kindergarten Magazine, Volume 15, Number 8, (Filler item), Quote Page 488, Kindergarten Magazine Company, Chicago, Illinois. (Google Books Full View) link

During the ensuing decades the expression was reshaped. In 1914 a charismatic aphorism constructor named Elbert Hubbard printed a variant in his journal “The Philistine”, but he disclaimed authorship. By 1962 a pseudo Confucian version had been fabricated, and by 2004 a version attributed to George Bernard Shaw was circulating.

Additional citations in chronological order are given below.

Continue reading People Who Say It Cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt Those Who Are Doing It

References

References
1 1902 December 24, Puck, Volume 52, (Filler item), Quote Page 2, Published at the Puck Building, New York, Copyright Keppler and Schwarzmann, New York. (HathiTrust Full View) link
2 1903 March 7, The Public, Number 257, Editor Louis F. Post, (Filler item), Quote Page 766, Column 3, Chicago, Illinois. (Google Books Full View) link
3 1903 March 16, The Evansville Courier (Evansville Courier and Press), (Filler item), Quote Page 4, Column 7, Evansville, Indiana. (GenealogyBank)
4 1903 April, Kindergarten Magazine, Volume 15, Number 8, (Filler item), Quote Page 488, Kindergarten Magazine Company, Chicago, Illinois. (Google Books Full View) link

Choose a Job You Love, and You Will Never Have To Work a Day in Your Life

Confucius? Arthur Szathmary? An Old-Timer? Janet Lambert-Moore? Harvey Mackay? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: I assist students in the selection of accurate and properly credited quotations for the school yearbook. One student would like to use a popular adage about career choice:

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

This statement is often attributed to the ancient Chinese sage Confucius, but the student considers this assertion anachronistic because job choice flexibility was sharply limited in the era of Confucius. Would you please explore this issue?

Quote Investigator: Researchers have found no substantive support for the claim that Confucius made this statement.

The earliest strong match located by QI was published in the “Princeton Alumni Weekly” in 1982 which quoted a Professor of Philosophy named Arthur Szathmary who employed the saying; however, Szathmary attributed the words to “an old-timer” who was not identified. Boldface has been added to excerpts:[1]1982 October 6, Princeton Alumni Weekly, Article Title: Toshiko Takaezu, Article Author: Ann Woolfolk, Start Page 31, Quote Page 32, Column 1, Published by Princeton University Press, Princeton, New … Continue reading

An old-timer I knew used to tell his students: ‘Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’

The expression has sometimes been attributed to the entrepreneur and top-selling author Harvey Mackay who did use the adage in 1989 as shown in the citation given further below, but QI believes that he did not craft it.

This article presents a snapshot of current knowledge on this topic; and future research may uncover citations which antedate the 1982 passage above. QI suspects that earlier instances exist that use a different phrasing.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Choose a Job You Love, and You Will Never Have To Work a Day in Your Life

References

References
1 1982 October 6, Princeton Alumni Weekly, Article Title: Toshiko Takaezu, Article Author: Ann Woolfolk, Start Page 31, Quote Page 32, Column 1, Published by Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. (Google Books Preview)

Our Greatest Glory Is Not in Never Falling, But in Rising Every Time We Fall

Confucius? Nelson Mandela? Vince Lombardi? Oliver Goldsmith? Ralph Waldo Emerson? Christian Nestell Bovee?

Dear Quote Investigator: The following adage about motivation and perseverance has been attributed to an oddly eclectic group: Chinese philosopher Confucius, football coach Vince Lombardi, activist politician Nelson Mandela, Irish author Oliver Goldsmith, and transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Here are four versions. The fourth uses “failing” instead of “falling”:

1) The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

2) The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.

3) Our greatest strength lies not in never having fallen, but in rising every time we fall.

4) Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

I have no idea if any of these ascriptions is correct because I have not seen any documentation listing a source. Would you please help me with this frustrating situation?

Quote Investigator: In 1760 and 1761 a series of letters written by an imaginary Chinese traveler based in London named Lien Chi Altangi was published in “The Public Ledger” magazine of London. The actual author was an Irishman named Oliver Goldsmith who used the perspective of an outsider from China to comment on and satirize the life and manners of the city. Goldsmith later achieved fame with his novel “The Vicar of Wakefield” and his play “She Stoops to Conquer”.[1] The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (Third edition), Entry: The Citizen of the World, Oxford University Press, Oxford Reference Online. (Accessed May 26, 2014)

The letters were collected and released in book form in 1762 under the title “The Citizen of the World: or, Letters from a Chinese Philosopher, Residing in London, to His Friends in the East “. The seventh letter from Lien Chi Altangi included an instance of the adage:[2]1762, The Citizen of the World: or, Letters from a Chinese Philosopher, Residing in London, to His Friends in the East by Lien Chi Altangi (Oliver Goldsmith), Letter VII and Letter XXII, Printed for … Continue reading

Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

A different phrasing of the maxim was included in the twenty-second letter:

True magnanimity consists not in NEVER falling, but in RISING every time we fall.

QI has located no substantive evidence that the ancient sage Confucius constructed this saying in either form, and QI believes that Goldsmith crafted it. However, the context of these simulated exotic letters led many readers to believe that the author was relaying aphorisms from China. Indeed, the introductory note for the seventh letter specifically referred to Confucius:

The Editor thinks proper to acquaint the reader, that the greatest part of the following letter seems to him to be little more than a rhapsody of sentences borrowed from Confucius, the Chinese philosopher.

By 1801 an edition of “The Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith” included the letters that were originally ascribed to Lien Chi Altangi. Hence, the words were properly credited to Goldsmith.[3]1801, The Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith, Volume 3 of 4, Letter VII, Quote Page 21, Letter XXI, Quote Page 75, Printed for J. Johnson, G. and J. Robinson, W. J. and J. Richardson, et al, … Continue reading

Yet, by 1831 the saying had been reassigned to Confucius. In later years, the phrasing evolved, and the adage was attributed to a variety of individuals including Ralph Waldo Emerson. In modern times, there is evidence that both Vince Lombardi and Nelson Mandela used the expression. Details for these citations are given further below.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Our Greatest Glory Is Not in Never Falling, But in Rising Every Time We Fall

References

References
1 The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (Third edition), Entry: The Citizen of the World, Oxford University Press, Oxford Reference Online. (Accessed May 26, 2014)
2 1762, The Citizen of the World: or, Letters from a Chinese Philosopher, Residing in London, to His Friends in the East by Lien Chi Altangi (Oliver Goldsmith), Letter VII and Letter XXII, Printed for George and Alex. Ewing, Dublin, Ireland. (ECCO TCP: Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Text Creation Partnership) link link link
3 1801, The Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith, Volume 3 of 4, Letter VII, Quote Page 21, Letter XXI, Quote Page 75, Printed for J. Johnson, G. and J. Robinson, W. J. and J. Richardson, et al, Printed by Nichols and Son, Red Lion Passage, Fleet Street, London. (Google Books Full View) link

The Harder I Practice, the Luckier I Get

Gary Player? Arnold Palmer? Jerry Barber? Jack Youngblood? Lee Trevino? Ethel Merman? L. Frank Baum?

Dear Quote Investigator: I am a fan of the golfing legend Gary Player, and the Wikipedia article about him says he: “Coined one of the most quoted aphorisms of post-War sport”:

The harder you practice, the luckier you get.

Is that true? Which golfer said it first? Was it Arnold Palmer?

Quote Investigator: Gary Player is a very fine golfer, but he is not responsible for this well-known maxim. The best evidence that he did not coin the adage is in a book written by Player himself in 1962 where he credits the aphorism to fellow golfer Jerry Barber. Before discussing that book QI will review support for Player and some other claimants to the phrase. The earliest instance of the expression found by QI that uses the word “practice” is not from a golfer. It appears in a memoir published in 1961 by a soldier of fortune during the Cuban revolution.

The saying is a popular motto and different versions can be grouped together in a family that stretches back to before 1900. Here are some examples:

The harder I practice, the luckier I get
The more I practice, the luckier I get.
The more they put out, the more luck they have.
The harder he works, the luckier he gets.
The more you know, the more luck you have.

Continue reading The Harder I Practice, the Luckier I Get