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Published Sunday, June 15, 2014 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jun 15 2014

48 Observations on mediocrity:

A best-seller is the gilded tomb of a mediocre talent.
-Logan Pearsall Smith

A man attains an elevated position only when his mediocrity prevents him from being a threat to others. And for this reason a democracy is never governed by the most competent, but rather by those whose insignificance will not jeopardize anyone else's self-esteem.
-Niccolò Machiavelli

A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.
-Mary Kay Ash

A most mediocre person can be the object of a love which is wild, extravagant, and beautiful as the poison lilies of the swamp.
-Carson McCullers

Caricature is the tribute that mediocrity pays to genius.
-Oscar Wilde

Don't rationalize mediocrity.
-George W. Miller

Each time a mediocre singer performs, he is saying, in effect, 'This is good enough for you.' The audience, thrust into that familiar American mood of knowing something is wrong but not knowing what it is, unconsciously absorbs the insult and projects it back onto the mediocre performer in the form of inattention, rudeness and noise.
-Florence King

Equal rights for the sexes will be achieved when mediocre women occupy high positions.
-Francois Giroud

Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent.
-Sophia Loren

Good behavior is the last refuge of mediocrity.
-Henry Haskins

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
-Albert Einstein

In the republic of mediocrity genius is dangerous.
-Robert G. Ingersoll

In this country we encourage 'creativity' among the mediocre, but real bursting creativity appalls us. We put it down as undisciplined, as somehow 'too much.'
-Pauline Kael

Indifference is the revenge the world takes on mediocrities.
-Oscar Wilde

It is cruel to discover one's mediocrity only when it is too late.
-W. Somerset Maugham

It's disheartening to know that you live in a country that's just teeming with semi-literate, mediocre psychos.
-Henry Rollins

Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.
-Fulton J. Sheen

Media, the plural of mediocrity.
-Jimmy Breslin

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Mediocrity requires aloofness to preserve its dignity.
-Charles G. Dawes

Mediocrity: It takes a lot less time and most people won't notice the difference until it's too late.
-Larry Kersten, PhD

Moderation has been made a virtue in order to curb the ambition of the great, and also to console those who are mediocre in either fortune or merit.
-Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Most of our pocket wisdom is conceived for the use of mediocre people, to discourage them from ambitious attempts, and generally console them in their mediocrity.
-Robert Louis Stevenson

My success is the result of not being satisfied with mediocrity, and in making the most of my opportunities.
-Milton S. Hershey

No, I'm not interested in developing a powerful brain. All I'm after is just a mediocre brain, something like the President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.
-Alan Touring

Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving about three or four things a day unsaid.
-Harland Miller

Only ambitious nonentities and hearty mediocrities exhibit their rough drafts. It is like passing around samples of one's sputum.
-Vladimir Nabokov

Only the mediocre are always at their best.
-Jean Giraudoux

People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.
-Andrew Carnegie

Politicians fascinate because they constitute such a paradox; they are an elite that accomplishes mediocrity for the public good.
-George F. Will

Possibly the only dismaying aspect of excellence is that it makes living in a world of mediocrity an ongoing prospect of a living Hell.
-Harlan Ellison

Pumpkin pie is the epitome of mediocrity. The best pumpkin pie you ever ate isn't that much better than the worst.
-Garrison Keillor

Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes.
-Tom Peters

Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.
-Jane Wagner

The business world worships mediocrity. Officially we revere free enterprise, initiative and individuality. Unofficially we fear it.
-George Lois

The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.
-John Stuart Mill

The mediocrity of everything in the great world of today is simply appalling. We live in intellectual slums.
-George Santayana

The tendency of democracies is, in all things, to mediocrity.
-James Fenimore Cooper

The word media is plural for mediocre.
-René Saguisag

Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre.
-Warren Buffett

Unpretending mediocrity is good, and genius is glorious; but a weak flavor of genius in an essentially common person is detestable . It spoils the grand neutrality of a commonplace character, as the rinsings of an unwashed wine-glass spoil a draught of fair water.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

We are in danger of developing a cult of the Common Man, which means a cult of mediocrity.
-Herbert Hoover

We mistrust anything that too strongly challenges our ideal of mediocrity.
-Robertson Davies

What the crowd requires is mediocrity of the highest order.
-Auguste Preault

Why create mediocrity when you can copy genius?

Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to become as mediocre as possible.
-Margaret Mead

You have the army of mediocrities followed by the multitude of fools. As the mediocrities and the fools always form the immense majority, it is impossible for them to elect an intelligent government.
-Guy de Maupassant

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