Don’t Be So Humble—You’re Not That Great

Golda Meir? Simcha Dinitz? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A humble brag is a statement that on its surface appears to be modest or self-deprecating; however, the true intent is to highlight a success or achievement. The funniest response I have seen to these types of comments is the following:

Don’t act so humble; you aren’t that great.

Would you please explore the provenance of this remark?

Quote Investigator: This statement was circulating many years before the term humble brag was coined. “The New York Times” published a piece in 1969 about Golda Meir who had recently become the Prime Minister of Israel. The article was based on the memories of Simcha Dinitz who worked as a close aide to Meir from 1963 to 1966. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

“There is nobody like Golda for seeing what needs doing—or saying,” Mr. Dinitz commented. “She is always telling people: ‘Don’t be so humble—you’re not that great.’

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Don’t Be So Humble—You’re Not That Great

Notes:

  1. 1969 March 18, New York Times, A Tangy Flavor in Mrs. Meir’s Views (Special to The New York Times), Quote Page 12, Column 4, New York. (ProQuest)