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30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels

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...

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 1

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 2

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 3

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 4

    Emma

    Author: Jane Austen

    Year: 1815

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 5

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 6

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 7

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 8

    The Salmon of Doubt

    Author: Douglas Adams

    Year: 2002

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 9

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 10

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 11

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 12

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 13

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 14

    The Three Muskateers

    Author: Alexandre Dumas

    Year: 1844

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 15

    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.

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 16

    Anna Karenina

    Author: Leo Tolstoy

    Year: 1877

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 17

    Little Women

    Author: Louisa May Alcott

    Year: 1868

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 18

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 19

    The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

    Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

    Year: 1927

    “Anything is better than stagnation.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 20

    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.”

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 21

    Billy Budd

    Author: Herman Melville

    Year: 1924

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 22

    Pygmalion

    Author: George Bernard Shaw

    Year: 1912

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 23

    Pet Sematary

    Author: Stephen King

    Year: 1983

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 24

    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."

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 25

    Mansfield Park

    Author: Jane Austen

    Year: 1814

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 26

    Dracula

    Author: Bram Stoker

    Year: 1897

    "We learn from failure, not from success!"

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 27

    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."

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 28

    The Alchemist

    Author: Paolo Coehlo

    Year: 1988

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

  • 30 Pieces of Business Advice from Novels 29

    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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