uncertain quote

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 23 18:28:34 UTC 2013

The quotation might have been generated by condensing the following
passage by the bestselling adventure writer Stephen Coonts.

Book title: The Intruders
Author: Stephen Coonts
Year: 2010 (WorldCat shows an edition in 1994 from Pocket Books, New York)
(Google Books Preview; Text is in 2010 edition and was probably in 1994 edition)


[Begin excerpt]
“There's been a lot of mumbling around here the last twenty-four hours
about luck. Well, there is no such thing. You can't feel it, taste it,
smell it, touch it, wear it, fuck it, or eat it. It doesn't exist!

“This thing we call luck is merely professionalism and attention to
detail, it's your awareness of everything that is going on around you,
it's how well you know and understand your airplane and your own
[End excerpt]

The words about luck by Coonts were noticed and have been reprinted.
For example, part of the excerpt about appeared online in a collection
of "Great Aviation Quotes":


In 1915 an article titled "Attention to Detail" included the following
sentence: "There is no such thing as luck – either good, bad or
indifferent". It might be possible to derive the quotation from this
article. The quotation might have been constructed as a summary
statement. But I have not found supporting evidence in my quick
search. So I am posting this as a thematic precursor.

Issue date: November 1915
Periodical title: The American Building Association News
Periodical subtitle: A Newspaper devoted to the interests of Building,
Loan and Savings Association
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
Quote Page 481



On Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 8:11 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: uncertain quote
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Oct 22, 2013, at 7:59 PM, David A. Daniel wrote:
>> I have a client who says that, "There is no such thing as luck. What you
>> call luck is just attention to detail" is a Churchill quote. I can't
>> actually find it attributable to anyone, much less Churchill. Can the quote
>> sleuths out there shine any light on this? Thanks.
>> DAD
> Sounds a bit reminiscent of Branch Rickey's "Luck is the residue of design", if that is indeed Branch Rickey's.  (General manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals in mid-20th c., signed Jackie Robinson on to the former, etc. etc.)
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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