The genesis of “the Almighty Dollar” – from Genesis to Washington Irving…

The word almighty, used in connection with God, appears 57 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Starting in the Book of Genesis, God is variously referred to as “the Almighty God,” “God Almighty” and, most often, simply as “the Almighty.” The English idiom “the almighty dollar,” which is commonly used to mock … Read more

“The business of America is business” – a famously unfair misquote…

When President Warren G. Harding died from a heart-related problem in 1923, Vice President Calvin Coolidge became the 30th President of the United States. The following year, with his popularity buoyed by a strong economy of the “Roaring Twenties”, Coolidge handily won the 1924 presidential election, using the campaign slogan “Keep Cool With Coolidge.” Unlike … Read more

The dark origins of the terms “the Dismal Science” and “Professors of the Dismal Science”…

“The Dismal Science” is an old but still commonly-used nickname for the realm of economics. “Professors of the Dismal Science” is an old but still used nickname for economists. Both were coined in the mid-1800s by the British historian, translator, essayist, author and mathematician Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). I suspect most people who see those terms … Read more

“Greed is all right” — the forerunner of “Greed is good”

Wall Street whiz Ivan Boesky was riding high in 1986. During the early 1980s, he’d made hundreds of millions of dollars trading stocks, doing real estate deals and masterminding leverage buyouts of distressed businesses. He was lauded as a financial genius in many magazine and newspaper articles and often invited to speak at business seminars, … Read more

“Greed is good!” – the famous movie misquote and it’s real life inspiration

On December 11, 1987 Oliver Stone’s film Wall Street was released in U.S. theaters. The movie stars Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, a mega-rich, ethically-challenged Wall Street investor who specializes in corporate takeover schemes. Gekko has no pangs about taking over, gutting, and reselling companies regardless of the impacts on employees and local communities. In … Read more

“You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

July 9th is the anniversary of one of the most famous political speeches in history, the “Cross of Gold Speech” by William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925). Bryan, one of America’s most charismatic and gifted orators, made the speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 9, 1896. (For some reason, many books and websites, … Read more

About that “giant sucking sound” and what qualifies something as a “famous quotation”…

The huge amount of attention focused on the 2016 presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made me think of some of the famous quotations from past presidential debates. One that coined a phrase still widely used today was uttered by Independent candidate Ross Perot on October 15, 1992, in the three-way presidential debate … Read more

“Business as usual”

It’s not uncommon to see credible sources claim that the phrase “business as usual” was coined by Winston Churchill. For example, a glossary of World War I words and phrases on the BBC website says: “Business as Usual: Phrase coined by Churchill to suggest how British society should react to the wartime situation.” Even some … Read more

The Top Quotes of the Year in 2009

Below, in chronological order, are my picks for the top quotations of 2009 — the quotes that seemed to get the most attention during the past year in the news and elsewhere. There were more than would fit into a top 10 list. So, I’ll call them The Top 10 Quotes of 2009 – Plus … Read more

Yes, Ivory Soap is “99 44/100% pure.” And, yes – Marilyn really was an Ivory Snow Mom.

One of the most famous and long-lasting advertising slogans in history is the Ivory Soap slogan “99 44/100% Pure.” As recorded in the U.S. Trademark Database, it was first used in commerce on December 21, 1882. Ivory Soap was created by Proctor & Gamble in 1878. Previously, P&G sold a hard, dense yellow soap made … Read more