Tag Archives: Misattributed Quotes

50 Common Misquotations, but no Howard Thurman

Mental Floss, Mental Floss List Show, Mental Floss YouTube, Mental Floss Salon, Mental Floss Screen Shot, If you follow my Facebook page, you certainly know that I like quotes. For the last 200 days or so, I’ve shared a quote of the day. Sometimes, two! I’ve also written about quotes here on the site. So, when I saw that Mental Floss‘s latest list video was about misquotations, I was pretty stoked!

Most of the quotes in the video I had heard of and knew that they were misattributed, but there were a few surprises. Most of all, I was disappointed not to see one of the quotes that I’ve written about before on the list. I understand that there are lots of misattributions with regard to quotes and 50 is only a small sample, but I really had hoped to see it in there — because it’s a good one! Watch the video and afterwards, I’ll remind you of the quote to which I’m referring.

There are some really good quotes in there, don’t you think? I’d be interested to hear which one’s your favorite — let me know by leaving a comment.

Anyway, the quote that I wanted to see in there:

Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

It’s often attributed to Harold Thurman Whitman (which isn’t actually a person). My guess is it’s some amalgamation with Walt Whitman and the real author of the quote: Howard Thurman. I wrote more about the quote a couple of years ago.

 

In The End, Everything Will Be OK – If It’s Not OK, It’s Not Yet The End

It’s no secret that I like quotes. Since converting my Facebook profile to a Facebook page, I’ve gotten into the habit of sharing a “quote of the day.” If my calculations are correct, I’ve been sharing quotes of the day for over 80 days now. As you’ll notice that I also have a quotes category, I’ve shared a number of quotes here on this site, too. And if I think back to the days of AIM (AOL Instant Manager), I often had quotes as my “away” message. And even before then, I remember really liking quotes in high school and in elementary (or grade) school. So, like I said, it’s no secret that I like quotes.

As you may have noticed, the title of this post is a quote. I’ve seen this quote in many places — most recently, on a Harvard Business Review comment:

Failure is seldom fatal or final. I loved the line in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie. “It will be alright in the end and if it is not alright, it is not the end.”

Some may quibble over the word “alright” vs. the word “OK,” but the essence of the quote is the same. After seeing it there, I felt motivated to find the original author. Not that I was planning on digging through reams of archives at an historic library, but just that I thought with some Google-sleuthing, I’d be able to figure it out. It’s a quote that I often see unattributed and I thought to myself that someone had to have said that at some point, right? I did something like this about 18 months ago, when I wrote a post about a great quote being often incorrectly attributed to Howard Whitman — when in fact it was spoken by Howard Thurman.

So, after some Google-sleuthing, I came to a Wikipedia page for Fernando Sabino, who was a Brazilian writer. On that page were a few quotes, one of which read:

“No fim, tudo dá certo. Se não deu, ainda não chegou ao fim.”

The translation follows:

“In the end, everything will be ok. If it’s not ok, it’s not yet the end.”

Having seen how incorrect Wikipedia can be sometimes (pranksters, of course), I thought I’d wait for a while before being sure that this was correct. [Note: I originally wanted to include a link to an image I uploaded to Twitter that showed “Buddha” as the author of The Hunger Games, but apparently old images on Twitter are deleted — or something like that. So, you’ll just have to imagine that there was a screengrab showing “Buddha” as the author on The Hunger Games Wikipedia page.] And then I thought, this Wikipedia page probably isn’t visited nearly as often as The Hunger Games page, so I thought I could trust it. So, I plugged the same Portuguese from the page into Google Translate (just to see if it was the same), and I got a similar quote to the English that appears on the page.

My next step was to see if I could find this quote attributed to him somewhere else on the Internet. Since this quote is often unattributed, this took a bit more time. When I noticed I was hitting a bit of a roadblock, I thought I’d see if I could find other pages on the web of Sabino — and I did! I found a Facebook page for him. While it doesn’t take “too” much effort to create a Facebook page, I noticed that there were almost 2000 likes and that the page has been around for 3+ years. I noticed that the quote was also on the Facebook page. And next to the quote was  this:

– Fonte: “No fim dá certo”

When I plugged this into Google Translate, it said, “- Source: “In the end it works.” So, now I had a source! In looking for that source in English, I didn’t have much luck, so I used the Portuguese. One of the first Google results was a book! The book was also available on Google Books, (but I couldn’t see very much of it, so searching the book for the quote was difficult). Not to mention that I don’t speak Portuguese and sometimes, when you look for words on Google Books, they don’t always show as being there (even though they are there).

It’s still quite possible that I fell victim to some sort of hoax (not as elaborate as Lance Armstrong or Manti T’eo, though). I am fairly confident (at least 90%) that Fernando Sabino is the original author of this quote.