They Said What ?

HBS students and professors were magically transformed into a bunch of Chatty Cathy dolls this past week, perhaps after watching the latest Harry Potter movie. As a result, we have more entertainment than normal from them. As an added bonus, we will also begin adding some famous quotes from historical figures on topics that might be of interest to the HBS community. This week, we add in humorous comments on the subject of money. Next week: leadership. The authors are also open for suggestions for future topics.

Anyone who has something they would like to submit, or comments or suggestions about the quotes, please email

Roman Rjanikov (OC): “People are mutants with big brains.”

[during a bank case on approving people for credit cards]
Andrew Matuch (OH): “Of course these people were bad credit card risk. They were declined.”

[explaining why Harnischfeger’s change in accounting methods are ok]Noah Godfrey (NC): “The only person they’re fooling is the dumb-ass retail investor.”

Professor Frances Frei (Managing Service Operations): “Christian, what do we want to do next with the data?”
Christian Hempell (OE): “We want to do the regression thingy on profit.”
Frei: “Don’t worry, you’re going to have people do this for you after you graduate.”

Professor Zaltman (Marketing): “So, let’s think about it… Are emotions irrational?”
Chris Squier (NG): “My wife’s are.”

[on dealing with uncertainty in the job search] Jenn Knepp (OF): “I don’t know about you guys. I know I’m starting to freak out, but I also know that if I do freak out, it’s not going to help matters.”

[explaining the disadvantages of seasonal production]Brian King (NC): “Machines don’t work well when you shut them down for six months and people don’t really work that well when you lay them off for six months.”

Professor Richard Tedlow (Coming of Managerial Capitalism):
“Pull Lever A and Bell C rings. Welcome to the world of public policy.”

“Economists can never reach consensus on anything.”

“There is one scene in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off when the professor is talking about the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which is every history professor’s nightmare, and there’s a student with his head on his desk and a pool of drool coming out of his mouth. And I’m thinking to myself, ‘This is my life.'”

“Everything is unthinkable until it happens, and then it’s obvious.”

“You missed all of the great television of the 1950s. You missed, ‘I Led Three Lives: Citizen, Communist, Counterspy.'”

Professor Tedlow: “Could this ever happen again? The Great Depression?”
Andre Martinelli (OJ): “If I was a gambling man, I’d say yes.”
Tedlow: “Are you a gambling man?”
Martinelli: “No.”

Professor Tom DeLong (Managing Human Capital): “Four years in a row, growing up, I remember giving my mother a basketball for Christmas. Just because something is important to you, doesn’t mean it is important to others.”

Professor Khurana (LEAD professor for NG): “Greyhound… you know, it’s like a bad neighborhood on wheels.”

[describing the typical NetFlix customer] Oliver Evans (NC): “It works well for a customer who wants to watch a lot of videos, and who likes to watch them by themselves.”

And our new bonus section, featuring humorous quotes from famous people about money:

Benjamin Franklin: “If you would like to know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.”

Spike Milligan: “Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”

Albert Einstein: “The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax.”

Peter Ustinov: “The only reason I made a commercial for American Express was to pay for my American Express bill.”

Mark Twain: “October: This is one of the particularly dangerous months to invest in stocks. Other dangerous months are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.”

J.P. Getty: “If you owe the bank $100 that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.”

ee cummings: “I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.”

Henry Youngman: “I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need if I die by four o’clock this afternoon.”