It’s Not What You Get, but What you Become

John_Ruskin_-_Portrait_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_17774He said: “The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.”

He also, more famously, said:

“There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man’s lawful prey.”

John Ruskin (born on this date in 1819) was an artist and art critic, a  writer and philanthropist, and a prominent social thinker.  His observations concerning humanity and commerce endure to this day and continue to inspire entrepreneurs and marketers alike:

“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.”  (Good advice for an ad writer.)

“He who has truth at his heart need never fear the want of persuasion on his tongue.” (Ditto.)

“I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.” (Mercy is a characteristic sadly lacking in too many instances today.)

“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.”

“A book worth reading is worth owning.”

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

Happy Birthday, John Ruskin.  Your lamp shines ever more brightly with each new year.

About Rod Schwartz

Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.
This entry was posted in Communication, Consumer behavior, Copywriting, life lessons, Productivity, Sales, Sales & Marketing, Storytelling and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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