"My period of greatest creative output was during my corporate years, when every meeting felt like a play date with coma patients. I would sit in long meetings, pretending to pay attention while writing computer code in my mind and imagining the anatomically inspired nicknames I would assign to my boss after I won the lottery."
Scott Adams (1957–), US cartoonist and humorist
Source: Wall Street Journal (August 6, 2011)
"A manager's ability to turn meetings into a thinking environment is probably an organization's greatest asset."
Nancy Kline (1946–), US author, educator, and consultant
Source: Time to Think (1999)
"I find that no matter how long a meeting goes on, the best ideas always come during the final five minutes, when people drop their guard and I ask them what they really think."
Michael Eisner (1942–), US former CEO and chairman of Disney
Source: International Management (April 1988)
"Whoever invented the meeting must have had Hollywood in mind. I think they should consider giving Oscars for meetings: Best Meeting of the Year, Best Supporting Meeting, Best Meeting Based on Material from Another Meeting."
William Goldman (1931–), US screenwriter and novelist
Source: Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983), ch. 2
"When committees gather, each member is necessarily an actor, uncontrollably acting out the part of himself, reading the lines that identify him, asserting his identity."
Lewis Thomas (1913–1993), US academic, physician, and writer
Source: “On Committees,” The Medusa and the Snail (1979)
"Outside of traffic, there is nothing that has held this country back as much as committees."
Will Rogers (1879–1935), US actor, columnist, and humorist
Source: Quoted in Will Rogers, His Life and Times (Richard M. Ketchum, 1973)
"Any committee that is the slightest use is a committee of people who are too busy to want to sit on it for a second longer than they have to."
Katharine Whitehorn (1928–), British journalist
Source: “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” Observations (1970)
"A meeting is an arrangement whereby a large number of people gather together, some to say what they really do not think, some not to say what they really do."
Vladimir Voinovich (1932–), Russian novelist
Source: The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin (1969), pt. 2, ch. 6
"Meetings are a great trap. Soon you find yourself trying to get agreement and then the people who disagree come to think they have a right to be persuaded … However, they are indispensable when you don't want to do anything."
J. K. Galbraith (1908–2006), US economist and diplomat
Source: Ambassador's Journal (1969), ch. 5
"The length of a meeting rises with the number of people present and the productiveness of a meeting falls with the square of the number of people present."
Eileen Shanahan (1924–2001), US journalist and author
Source: Times Talk (1963)
"My life has been a meeting … one long meeting. Even on the few committees I don't yet belong to, the agenda winks at me when I pass."
Gwyn Thomas (1913–1981), British dramatist and writer
Source: The Keep (1961)
"What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary."
Richard Harkness (1907–1977), US radio and television journalist
Source: New York Herald Tribune (1960)
"No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there."
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940), US writer
Source: The Crack-Up (1945)
"A conference is a gathering of important people who, singly, can do nothing but together can decide that nothing can be done."
Fred Allen (1894–1956), US comedian and satirist
W. M. Martin was the president of the New York Stock Exchange.
Source: Letter to W. M. Martin (January 25, 1940)
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