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30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels

Learn and earn

The literary greats have plenty to say on life, death, love and adventure, but what about the stuff that makes the world go round? That's right: gravity and the motion of the planets.

Oh no, hang on, we mean money. The dirty dollar. The greenbacks.

Well, as you can imagine, being authors, they often write a lot of philosophical stuff which probably won't instantly improve your bottom line, but there's a lot of sound advice in there nonetheless. Be inspired, improve your business acumen, and read on...

  • The Winter of Our Discontent

    The Winter of Our Discontent

    Author: John Steinbeck Year: 1961 “In business and in… More details

    The Winter of Our Discontent

    The Winter of Our Discontent

    Author: John Steinbeck

    Year: 1961

    “In business and in politics a man must carve and maul his way through men to get to be King of the Mountain. Once there, he can be great and kind-but he must get there first.”

  • Master of the Game

    Master of the Game

    Author: Sidney Sheldon Year: 1982 “Business is a game,… More details

    Master of the Game

    Master of the Game

    Author: Sidney Sheldon

    Year: 1982

    “Business is a game, played for fantastic stakes, and you're in competition with experts. If you want to win, you have to learn to be a master of the game.”

  • Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights

    Author: Emily Brontë Year: 1847 “A person who has not… More details

    Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights

    Author: Emily Brontë

    Year: 1847

    “A person who has not done one half his day's work by ten o'clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.”

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    Author: L. Frank Baum Year: 1900 “For I consider brains… More details

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    Author: L. Frank Baum

    Year: 1900

    “For I consider brains far superior to money in every way. You may have noticed that if one has money without brains, he cannot use it to his advantage; but if one has brains without money, they will enable him to live comfortably to the end of his days.”

  • Emma

    Emma

    Author: Jane Austen Year: 1815 “Business, you know, may… More details

    Emma

    Emma

    Author: Jane Austen

    Year: 1815

    “Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does.”

  • Goldfinger

    Goldfinger

    Author: Ian Fleming Year: 1959 “Unfortunately most ways… More details

    Goldfinger

    Goldfinger

    Author: Ian Fleming

    Year: 1959

    “Unfortunately most ways of making big money take a long time. By the time one has made the money one is too old to enjoy it.”

  • A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    Author: Charles Dickens Year: 1843 Scrooge: "It's… More details

    A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    Author: Charles Dickens

    Year: 1843

    Scrooge: "It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly.”

  • Sacred Hunger

    Sacred Hunger

    Author: Barry Unsworth Year: 1992 “It is everyone's… More details

    Sacred Hunger

    Sacred Hunger

    Author: Barry Unsworth

    Year: 1992

    “It is everyone's bounden duty to try to get more than they have got already. If you have got two shillin' you try to make it into four shillin' . . . there is no end to it.”

  • The Salmon of Doubt

    The Salmon of Doubt

    Author: Douglas Adams Year: 2002 “I love deadlines. I… More details

    The Salmon of Doubt

    The Salmon of Doubt

    Author: Douglas Adams

    Year: 2002

    “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

  • The Shadow of the Wind

    The Shadow of the Wind

    Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón Year: 2001 “Making money isn't… More details

    The Shadow of the Wind

    The Shadow of the Wind

    Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

    Year: 2001

    “Making money isn't hard in itself...what's hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one's life to.”

  • Equal Rites

    Equal Rites

    Author: Terry Pratchett Year: 1987 “...it is well known… More details

    Equal Rites

    Equal Rites

    Author: Terry Pratchett

    Year: 1987

    “...it is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done.”

  • The Importance of Being Earnest

    The Importance of Being Ear…

    Author: Oscar Wilde Year: 1895 "It is very vulgar to… More details

    The Importance of Being Earnest

    The Importance of Being Earnest

    Author: Oscar Wilde

    Year: 1895

    "It is very vulgar to talk about one's business. Only people like stockbrokers do that, and then merely at dinner parties.”

  • Les Misérables

    Les Misérables

    Author: Victor Hugo Year: 1862 “A man is not idle because… More details

    Les Misérables

    Les Misérables

    Author: Victor Hugo

    Year: 1862

    “A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.”

  • Heart of Darkness

    Heart of Darkness

    Artist: Joseph Conrad Year: 1899 “I don't like work--no… More details

    Heart of Darkness

    Heart of Darkness

    Artist: Joseph Conrad

    Year: 1899

    “I don't like work--no man does--but I like what is in the work--the chance to find yourself. Your own reality--for yourself not for others--what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.”

  • The Three Muskateers

    The Three Muskateers

    Author: Alexandre Dumas Year: 1844 “The merit of all… More details

    The Three Muskateers

    The Three Muskateers

    Author: Alexandre Dumas

    Year: 1844

    “The merit of all things lies in their difficulty.”

  • The Pilgramage

    The Pilgramage

    Author: Paulo Coelho Year: 1987 “The busiest people I… More details

    The Pilgramage

    The Pilgramage

    Author: Paulo Coelho

    Year: 1987

    “The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short.

  • Anna Karenina

    Anna Karenina

    Author: Leo Tolstoy Year: 1877 “But every acquisition… More details

    Anna Karenina

    Anna Karenina

    Author: Leo Tolstoy

    Year: 1877

    “But every acquisition that is disproportionate to the labor spent on it is dishonest.”

  • Little Women

    Little Women

    Author: Louisa May Alcott Year: 1868 “Go on with your… More details

    Little Women

    Little Women

    Author: Louisa May Alcott

    Year: 1868

    “Go on with your work as usual, for work is a blessed solace.”

  • David Copperfield

    David Copperfield

    Author: Charles Dickens Year: 1850 “Annual income twenty… More details

    David Copperfield

    David Copperfield

    Author: Charles Dickens

    Year: 1850

    “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

  • The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

    The Case-Book of Sherlock H…

    Author: Arthur Conan Doyle Year: 1927 “Anything is better… More details

    The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

    The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

    Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

    Year: 1927

    “Anything is better than stagnation.”

  • No Country for Old Men

    No Country for Old Men

    Author: Cormac McCarthy Year: 2005 “Well, I guess in all… More details

    No Country for Old Men

    No Country for Old Men

    Author: Cormac McCarthy

    Year: 2005

    “Well, I guess in all honesty I would have to say that I never knew, nor did I ever hear of anybody, that money didn't change.”

  • Billy Budd

    Billy Budd

    Author: Herman Melville Year: 1924 "There is nothing… More details

    Billy Budd

    Billy Budd

    Author: Herman Melville

    Year: 1924

    "There is nothing namable but that some men will undertake to do it for pay."

  • Pygmalion

    Pygmalion

    Author: George Bernard Shaw Year: 1912 "Happy is the… More details

    Pygmalion

    Pygmalion

    Author: George Bernard Shaw

    Year: 1912

    "Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby!"

  • Pet Sematary

    Pet Sematary

    Author: Stephen King Year: 1983 “All work and no play… More details

    Pet Sematary

    Pet Sematary

    Author: Stephen King

    Year: 1983

    “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

  • Robinson Crusoe

    Robinson Crusoe

    Author: Daniel Defoe Year: 1719 "Now I saw, though too… More details

    Robinson Crusoe

    Robinson Crusoe

    Author: Daniel Defoe

    Year: 1719

    "Now I saw, though too late, the folly of beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge rightly of our own strength to go through with it."

  • Mansfield Park

    Mansfield Park

    Author: Jane Austen Year: 1814 "There is nothing like… More details

    Mansfield Park

    Mansfield Park

    Author: Jane Austen

    Year: 1814

    "There is nothing like employment, active indispensable employment, for relieving sorrow."

  • Dracula

    Dracula

    Author: Bram Stoker Year: 1897 "We learn from failure,… More details

    Dracula

    Dracula

    Author: Bram Stoker

    Year: 1897

    "We learn from failure, not from success!"

  • Wreck of the Golden Mary

    Wreck of the Golden Mary

    Author: Charles Dickens Year: 1856 "I admire machinery… More details

    Wreck of the Golden Mary

    Wreck of the Golden Mary

    Author: Charles Dickens

    Year: 1856

    "I admire machinery as much is any man, and am as thankful to it as any man can be for what it does for us. But it will never be a substitute for the face of a man, with his soul in it, encouraging another man to be brave and true."

  • The Alchemist

    The Alchemist

    Author: Paolo Coehlo Year: 1988 “And, when you want… More details

    The Alchemist

    The Alchemist

    Author: Paolo Coehlo

    Year: 1988

    “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

  • Winnie-the-Pooh

    Winnie-the-Pooh

    Author: A. A. Milne Year: 1926 “You can't stay in your… More details

    Winnie-the-Pooh

    Winnie-the-Pooh

    Author: A. A. Milne

    Year: 1926

    “You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

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