To be ignorant of the lives of the most celebrated men of antiquity is to continue in a state of childhood.
—Plutarch (c.46–c.120 CE) Greek Biographer, Philosopher
I never thought a role model should be negative.
—Michael Jordan (b.1963) American Sportsperson, Businessperson
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead us to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus, by example, assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
—Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) American Head of State
One does not become a guru by accident.
—James Fenton (b.1949) English Poet, Journalist
A man is fortunate if he encounters living examples of vice, as well as of virtue, to inspire him.
—Brendan Behan (1923–64) Irish Poet, Novelist, Playwright
Without heroes, we are all plain people and don’t know how far we can go.
—Bernard Malamud (1914–86) American Novelist, Short-Story Writer
Example moves the world more than doctrine. The great exemplars are the poets of action, and it makes little difference whether they be forces for good or forces for evil.
—Henry Miller (1891–1980) American Novelist
As it is our nature to be more moved by hope than fear, the example of one we see abundantly rewarded cheers and encourages us far more than the sight of many who have not been well treated disquiets us.
—Francesco Guicciardini (1483–1540) Italian Historian, Political leader
Learn to see in another’s calamity the ills which you should avoid.
—Publilius Syrus (fl.85–43 BCE) Syrian-born Roman Latin Writer
Example is not the main thing in influencing others—it’s the only thing.
—Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) French Theologian, Musician, Philosopher, Physician
Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other. Originality is deliberate and forced, and partakes of the nature of a protest
—Eric Hoffer (1902–83) American Philosopher, Author
I studied the lives of great men and famous women; and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work.
—Harry S. Truman (1884–1972) American Head of State
Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
—Maya Angelou (1928–2014) American Poet
A good example is the best sermon.
People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.
—Tryon Edwards American Theologian
We blacks look for leadership in men and women of such youth and inexperience, as well as poverty of education and character, that it is no wonder that we sometimes seem rudderless… . We see basketball players and pop singers as possible role models.
—Arthur Ashe (1943–93) American Tennis Player
Each of us is in fact what he is almost exclusively by virtue of his imitativeness.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
We boast our emancipation from many superstitions; but if we have broken any idols, it is through a transfer of idolatry.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
One filled with joy preaches without preaching.
—Mother Teresa (1910–97) Roman Catholic Missionary, Nun
The action of a fool cannot serve as a precedent.
—The Talmud Sacred Text of the Jewish Faith
‘Tis no shame to follow the better precedent.
—Ben Jonson (1572–1637) English Dramatist, Poet, Actor
Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.
—Edmund Burke (1729–97) British Philosopher, Statesman
As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.
—Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) American Author, Journalist, Short Story Writer
Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
Call the roll in your memory of conspicuously successful (business) giants and, if you know anything about their careers, you will be struck by the fact that almost every one of them encountered inordinate difficulties sufficient to crush all but the gamest of spirits. Edison went hungry many times before he became famous.
—B. C. Forbes (1880–1954) Scottish-born American Journalist, Publisher
Example has more followers than reason.—We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and approximate to the characters we most admire.—A generous habit of thought and action carries with it an incalculable influence.
—Christian Nestell Bovee (1820–1904) American Writer, Aphorist
Nothing arouses ambition so much in the heart as the trumpet-clang of another’s fame.
—Baltasar Gracian (1601–58) Spanish Scholar, Prose Writer