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The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time (In Two Lines or Less) Hardcover – May 11, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st ed edition (May 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060194111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060194116
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John M. Shanahan is a true Renaissance man. He is the creator of the nationally acclaimed reading program Hooked on Phonics, and original syndicator of the number one talk radio show in America. This highly successful entrepreneur is also an accomplished composer, gourmet chef, and collector of antique automobiles and historic documents. John and his wife, Alice, have three grown children Julie, John, and Sean.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One Excerpts

Wit makes its own welcome and levels all distinctions. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

He who is most creative conceals his sources the best. -- Anonymous

We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us. -- Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784

The graveyards are full of indispensable men. -- Charles de Gaulle, 1890-1970

To think is to say no. -- Linde Auguste Chartier, 1868-1951

When we ask advice we are usually looking for an accomplice. -- Charles Varlet Marquis de La Grange, 1639-1692

If you don't bring Paris with you, you won't find it there. -- John M. Shanahan, 1939--

Clever liars give details, but the cleverest don't -- Anonymous

The opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting. -- Fran Lebowitz, 1950--

Nobody forgets where he buried the hatchet. -- rank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard, 1868-1930

It is a golden rule not to judge men by their opinions but rather by what their opinions make of them. -- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, 1742-1799

Have a care, therefore, where there is more sail than ballast. -- William Penn, 1644-1718

Fortune does not change men; it unmasks them. -- Suzanne Necker, 1739-1794

The wicked are always surprised to find that the good can be clever. -- Luc de Clapiers de Vauvenargues, 1715-1747

Our years, our debts, and our enemies are always more numerous than we imagine. -- Charles Nodier, 1780-1844

Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him. -- Aldous Leonard Huxley 1894-1963

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you. -- Eric Hoffer, 1902-1983

Only dead fish swim with the stream. -- Anonymous

All the people like us are We, and everyone else is They. -- Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

When the fight begins within himself, a man's worth something. -- Robert Browning, 1812-1889

When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet deep down in his heart no man much respects himself -- Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens], 1835-1910

Customer Reviews

I am very amazed with this book, and I think you will be also.
Sly-Dawgg
It is full of wisdom from the ages and also includes a lot of colorful cultural proverbs which I used often in writing my relationship book.
Steve Nakamoto - Author of Talk Like A Winner - Men Are Like Fish - Dating Rocks - Wall Street Craps
It has no subject or line index, which I find very irritating and a major drawback.
sweetmolly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

157 of 159 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a great little book to read when you are looking for illumination by humanity's intellects and wags. Shanahan has done a good job of editing these into topical sections. My only complaint with the book is that the editor decides to include a number of his own thoughts among the "Most Brilliant". Now he is a smart man, to be sure, but it is just a little too prideful to include yourself in such a book. His first self quote appears on the very first page of quotes. What his self inclusion does do, however is illustrate the difference between the truly brialliant thoughts and those that aren't. Shanahan's editorial job is delightful, his self promotion to most brilliant embarassing for him at best.
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87 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Doulos on April 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
.
.
Summary:
Great book to review each day and contemplate one or two thoughts from some of the world's foremost "thinkers".
The point is to contemplate their thoughts, not to just accept them. Just like reading your daily astrology, some quotes can be so general as to lack basis.
Good reference tool for writers, or leaders who need to quickly and capably convey thoughts, or ideas.
Includes a CD to listen to in the car, etc.
Review:
Shanahan has put together many great one liners into a single volume; about 6 per page.
Contents are logically divided:
Acknowledgments
1.....The Human Condition
2.....Success, Fortune, Failure, and Misfortune
3.....Truth, Lies, and Deception
4.....Talk, Talk, Talk
5.....Passions, Virtues, and Vices
6.....It's Only in Your Mind
7.....Men, Women, and Relationships
8.....Religion, Nature, and God
9.....Life's Passages
10....Human Foibles
11....Pursuits - Artistic and Otherwise
12....History and Government
13....Stuff to Think About
Sources
The "Sources" lists each author alphabetically, with the quote source and quote placement with the page numbers.
Negative:
1.....The CD has no look-up capability, so you can only listen to it linearly, and cannot use it as a search tool.
2.....There is no index, or topical list for searching for quotes using specific words (like searching for "love", "ocean", "heart", etc).
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on November 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The title alone makes the modest person back up a little and think, "Are you SURE?" And yes, the author considers a few of his own Most Brilliant Thoughts worthy of inclusion. (We blush for him.) I was surprised that the "Reader's Digest" was the source for some of the material, and a few (very few, to be fair) of the brilliant thinkers were Oprah, Erica Jong, and Marlene Dietrich. Delightful ladies all, but Most Brilliant Thinkers of All Time?
I am a junkie for books of quotes and maxims, though I freely admit this shows a certain lack of depth. There are many quotes included that you wish you had for ready reference, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson's
"People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character."
My, wouldn't I just like to spring that one on some of my more pessimistic friends! However, unless you memorize the ones you like, "Most Brilliant, etc." is not user-friendly. It has no subject or line index, which I find very irritating and a major drawback.
The sections are vague, and quotes are repeated in different sections. It could be Mr. Shannahan thought one quote applicable to many situations, but it seems like padding. The book is handsome, with the quotes well spaced and easy to read. I met a few I had never seen before, and am stirred to further inquiry on some of the authors. Grade: C-
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the book you can pick up for a minute or for hours and enjoy over and over again. The quotes are not only witty and fun, they are truly that perfect collection of one liners that say it all. The C.D. is great especially if you are driving and tired of the same old radio play. A gift you'll wish someone would give you!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book lends the perfect quip for every occasion, from ironic to inspirational. Light reading for times when you want to be amused. I liked it so much I ordered a second copy to give as a gift!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book lends an array of good quips for every occasion, from ironic to inspirational. It's light reading for times when you want to be amused. The title seems arrogant and a major overstatment, but there are indeed some good quotes to be found here. If you are looking for a truly outstanding collection of quotes, as I was, I suggest you read "Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Little Book of Wisdom" by Taro Gold.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The overstated title sets aphorism afficionados up for disappointment. If the author had simply titled this collection "Personal Favorites," the reader might then have found more than he/she had expected. Shanahan may have made and earned his great success, but what can he have been thinking when he included his own personal sayings among "the most brilliant thoughts of all time"? To borrow from a friend, "one wishes someone else had said it."
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must have for any writer or publisher. Shanahan's arrangement of content makes it a reference tool for any writer that needs quick antecdotes from brilliance to witty. It resides on my book shelf between ROGETS Thesaurus and Webster's Dictionary.
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