uncertain quote

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Oct 23 18:33:32 UTC 2013

On Oct 23, 2013, at 2:28 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:

> 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)
> http://books.google.com/books?id=c4vm3IPtnoEC&q=%22to+detail%22#v=snippet&
> [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
> limitations.
> [End excerpt]

Hmm, interesting argument.  I wonder which of the actions in question (feeling, tasting, smelling, touching, wearing, fucking, and eating) you can do to professionalism, attention to detail, awareness, etc.

> 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":
> http://www.skygod.com/quotes/piloting.html
> 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
> http://books.google.com/books?id=Cpc6AQAAMAAJ&q=%22to+detail%22#v=snippet&
> Garson
> 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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> ------------------------------------------------------------
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