« David Mamet
Home Page
David Packard »

Quotes of the day: David McCullough

Published Monday, July 06, 2015 @ 4:43 PM EDT
Jul 06 2015

David Gaub McCullough (b. July 7, 1933) is an American author, narrator, historian, and lecturer. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, McCullough earned a degree in English literature from Yale University. His first book was The Johnstown Flood (1968); and he has since written eight more on such topics as Harry S Truman, John Adams, and the Brooklyn Bridge. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.

Courage is contagious. If a leader shows courage, others get the idea.

Curiosity is what separates us from the cabbages. It's accelerative. The more we know, the more we want to know.

History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.

History is not the story of heroes entirely. It is often the story of cruelty and injustice and shortsightedness. There are monsters, there is evil, there is betrayal. That's why people should read Shakespeare and Dickens as well as history- they will find the best, the worst, the height of noble attainment and the depths of depravity.

How can we know who we are and where we are going if we don't know anything about where we have come from and what we have been through, the courage shown, the costs paid, to be where we are?

I think that we need history as much as we need bread or water or love.

If you get down about the state of American culture, just remember there are still more public libraries in this country than there are McDonalds.

Morality only is eternal. All the rest is balloon and bubble from the cradle to the grave.

No harm's done to history by making it something someone would want to read.

Nothing ever invented provides such sustenance, such infinite reward for time spent, as a good book.

Only those who do nothing make no mistakes.

Read. Read all the time. Read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect. Read as a nourishing staple of life.

Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.

Spotting talent is one of the essential elements of great leadership.

The great thing about the arts is that you can only learn to do it by doing it.

The past after all is only another name for someone else's present.

The study of history is an antidote to the hubris of the present – the idea that everything we have, everything we do and everything we think is the ultimate, the best.

There are no people on earth in whom a spirit of enthusiastic zeal is so readily kindled, and burns so remarkably, as Americans.

Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard.

You can't be a full participant in our democracy if you don't know our history.


(July 7 is also the birthday of Robert A. Heinlein.)

Categories: David McCullough, Quotes of the day


KGB Stuff   Commentwear   E-Mail KGB

Donate via PayPal

Older entries, Archives and Categories       Top of page

« David Mamet
Home Page
David Packard »