The Greatest Quote Ever – A Cautionary Tale!


I tell a story about quotes often when visiting chapters. I realized I never have written a post about it and decided it would be worthwhile to do so. Here goes my “quote story”.

I started capturing email addresses on my website when I started sending out “Book More Business Tips” in 1999. (I now send out my “Book More Business Blog”.) My first tip was scheduled to go out and I was travelling.

I can’t remember for the life of me what the tip was (except that I’m sure it was memorable to someone, perhaps my mother. Regardless, I wrote the tip and followed with a quote by that great American composer, Irving Berlin. The quote was:

Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.

I couldn’t wait to check my email to see MY tip! And how smart my readers would think I was to tie Irving Berlin, for heaven’s sake, into the point! My celebration was premature.

After checking the email I picked up voice mail messages. Here was the most memorable.

Lois, take me off your damn tip list! If I wanted to know what Irving Berlin thought about the speaking business I’d go to the library.


Yep, that was it. No name, no number, just that message.

Then I checked the next message. Here it is:

Lois, Gitomer here. Was I a little short on my last message? Here’s the point. When you quote someone else, you give away your expertise! However, when you follow another’s quote with your own quote, your own thought, you bring the perception of expertise back to yourself. Bye.


Jeffrey Gitomer had taken me to school in a phone message! And, it was a great one! I think of this story every time I see quotes come up on Twitter. If you look at Jeffrey’s account, @gitomer, you’ll notice he practices what he preaches! Now I do too.

I take the time to put my own thought at the end of another’s quote. Better yet, I’ve started creating my own quotes, and they have been well received!

So, what should you do the next time you want to quote someone else? Think of Jeffrey.

WWJD – What would Jeffrey do?

Copyright 2013 Lois Creamer. Lois works with professional speakers who want to book more business, make more money and avoid costly mistakes! She can be reached in the following ways:
Phone: 314.822.8225
Twitter: @loiscreamer
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15 Responses to “The Greatest Quote Ever – A Cautionary Tale!”

  1. Connie Brubaker on May 6th, 2013 4:21 pm

    When you spoke at the Austin NSA Chapter Meeting, you shared about quoting yourself. I took that information to heart and prepare a quote citing myself.

    “Think of yourself as an expert and your clients will also.” Connie Brubaker

  2. Lois on November 21st, 2013 3:00 am

    Well done Connie!

  3. Bud Bilanich on May 7th, 2013 6:24 pm

    Great advice Lois:
    I never thought of it in the way Jeff Gitomer does.
    I quote others and I write my own quotes.
    Bud I never thought of following someone else’s quote with my thoughts.
    Thanks for this post.
    Bud Bilanich

    “Procrastination is the physical manifestation of fear.” — and you can quote me on that.

  4. Ann Zuccardy on May 8th, 2013 12:45 am

    I love your style, Lois. It’s deep, but fun and friendly. Very approachable and sensible. This is great advice coming at a perfect time for me. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Lois on November 21st, 2013 2:54 am

    Thanks for making my day Ann!

  6. Chip Lutz on May 8th, 2013 1:02 am

    Great post, Lois. I like this story (cuz I heard it in person). Thanks for sharing it!

  7. Lois on November 21st, 2013 3:00 am

    Thanks Chipper!

  8. Joan Shamel on May 9th, 2013 12:47 am

    I love the Irving Berlin quote. It is very true. I also like the idea of tying my own ideas to a quote. Thanks for the tip.

  9. Sue Falcone on December 21st, 2013 5:51 pm

    Thanks Lois for this post! I love quotes and learn from them all the time, but now I know I am valuable, both myself, and my people are sought after, and we have our own powerful quotes to share!

    Same applies to fees! We are giving away a lot that we do not need to be doing!

    Thanks for helping others begin a new year the right way! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New “YOU” Year!

  10. Ian Brodie on March 23rd, 2015 11:50 am

    Maybe it’s just a cultural thing, but to me (and pretty much everyone I’ve ever discussed it with in the UK) seeing someone put their own sound bit in quotation marks with their own name underneath is a huge turn-off. Comes across as incredibly pretentious unless done tongue in cheek.

    Using you own quotes and soundbites in your talks and articles is great. Nowadays we’d put them in “click to tweet” boxes too.

    But putting them in quotation marks with your name underneath? Yuck!

    As I say – may be a cultural thing but it would instantly lower my opinion of a speaker I saw doing it.

    – Ian 🙂

  11. Lois on September 7th, 2015 11:06 pm

    To each his own!

  12. Ian Brodie on March 23rd, 2015 2:22 pm

    Having said that – I do completely agree with the general point about using your own unique ideas and sound bites rather than just quoting others 🙂

  13. Karen Pryor on May 19th, 2015 2:05 am

    I have often quoted experts…..

    We are experts, thanks for reminding us to make our own quotes.

    Karen Pryor PhD, PT, DPT, ND, CH

  14. Jeneen Nicole Barlow on May 19th, 2015 2:13 pm

    Lois Creamer said, “I take the time to put my own thought at the end of another’s quote. Better yet, I’ve started creating my own quotes, and they have been well received!”

    “Stop selling yourself short. You have something to say. Stop playing humble or scared and just say it! By the way . . . don’t forget to quote yourself while you’re at it.”
    ~ Jéneen Nicole Barlow

    Lois, I get so excited about reading what you have to say. I’m a shameless fan of you! I can’t wait to meet you in person.

  15. Lois on September 7th, 2015 11:00 pm

    Thank you Jeneen and I also look forward to crossing paths with you!

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