portrait of C. Northcote Parkinson

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Quotes of the Day for 30 July 2002 – Parkinson

Cyril Northcote Parkinson was born at Durham, England on this day in 1909. Educated at Cambridge, Parkinson went on and taught at Malaya, Harvard and the University of Illinois. Primarily a historian (sorry, an historian), Parkinson is best known for his biting, and devastatingly accurate, observations of bureaucracy and administration. He also wrote several novels, as well as the definitive biographies not only of P. G. Wodehouse's fictional butler, Jeeves, but C. S. Forrester's fictional naval officer Horatio Hornblower. His work is droll, footnoted as befits a scholar, and hilarious.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.


The quotes:

It is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
     - Parkinson's Law, 1958

If there is a way to delay an important decision, the good bureacracy, public or private, will find it.
     - Parkinson's Third Law from The Law of Delay, 1970

Where life is colorful and varied, religion can be austere or unimportant. Where life is appallingly monotonous, religion must be emotional, dramatic and intense. Without the curry, boiled rice can be very dull.

The man who is denied the opportunity of taking decisions of importance begins to regard as important the decisions he is allowed to take.

The person who is devoted to paperwork has lost the initiative. He is dealing with things that are brought to his notice, having ceased to notice anything for himself. He has been essentially defeated in his job.
     - Today's quotes are all from C. Northcote Parkinson, 1909 - 1993


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