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Alice Foote MacDougall

  • I can imagine living without food. I cannot imagine living without books.

  • For too many of us ease is far more soul-destroying than trouble.

  • Not only is orderliness an economy; it produces rest.

  • In business everyone is out to grab, to fight, to win. Either you are the under or the over dog. It is up to you to be on top.

  • That is the wearisome part of business — there is no peace, no sense of certain, permanent achievement, no stability. The unexpected, and usually the awful, is forever happening.

  • I simply don't believe in failure. In itself, it doesn't exist. We create it. We make ourselves fail.

  • When one is working out a problem ... life becomes duality. One's ego transacts the ordinary routine of things, as if the mind had an upper and lower story and the regular performance of the day's duties moved and motivated on the upper floor, while down below the all-absorbing problem toils silently, forcefully, toward its solution.

  • Competition is. In every business, no matter how small or how large, someone is just around the corner forever trying to steal your ideas and build his success out of your imagination, struggling after that which you have toiled endless years to secure, striving to outdo you in each and every way. If such a competitor would work as hard to originate as he does to copy, he would much more quickly gain success.

  • There is romance in coffee. It comes from the ends of the earth, and goes to the far corners of man's habitation.

  • To me life means the growing of a soul. I do not know why this duty is imposed upon us. I merely know that it is, and I feel that we are given much latitude of free will.

  • Life is not precious, a thing to be cherished. The soul and the mind are the instruments God gives us for our use and half of us don't begin to use them. We put Life and Health on two little pedestals and spend most of our time performing acts of devotion before them. Instead of using them as a carpenter his tools, as a helmsman the rudder, to hammer or steer our way to victory, we turn ourselves into Vestal Virgins with nothing on the face of the earth to do but to feed the feeble flames of our comfort. Life is no craven thing, lurking coward-like in a corner. It is big, broad, splendid in opportunity. It is to be used, not cherished. It is to be spent, not saved.

  • Faultless honesty is a sine qua non of business life. Not alone the honesty according to the moral code and the Bible. When I speak of honesty I refer to the small, hidden, evasive meannesses of our natures. I speak of the honesty of ourselves to ourselves.

  • In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want.

  • It is the small doubts of timid souls that accomplish their ruin. It is the narrow vision, the fear and trembling hesitation, that constitute defeat.

  • To me the big courageous acts of life are those one never hears of and only suspects from having been through like experience. It takes real courage to do battle in the unspectacular task. We always listen for the applause of our co-workers. He is courageous who plods on, unlettered and unknown. ... In the last analysis it is this courage, developing between man and his limitations, that brings success.

  • Poverty is the result of bad adjustment between the soul and its desires.

  • Poverty is relative, and the lack of food and of the necessities of life is not necessarily a hardship. Spiritual and social ostracism, the invasion of your privacy, are what constitute the pain of poverty.

  • ... for the poor the whole world is a self-constituted critic; your smallest action is open to debate. No secret place of your soul is safe from invasion.

  • ... a few hours with Beethoven are more restful than sleep.

  • You realize the futility of worry. You learn to hate the small and the little. Life is a pie which you cut in large slices, not grudgingly, not sparingly. You know your limitations and proceed to eliminate them; your abilities, and proceed to develop them. You are free.

  • Life means opportunity, and the thing men call death is the last wonderful, beautiful adventure.

Alice Foote MacDougall, U.S. entrepreneur, businesswoman, restaurateur

(1867 - 1945)