photo of Colin PowellPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by Colin Powell

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Colin Powell. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Colin Powell

Colin Luther Powell (born April 5, 1937) is an American politician, diplomat and retired four-star general who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. Powell was the first African-American Secretary of State. Prior to the election of Barack Obama as president in 2008, Powell and his successor, Condoleezza Rice, were the highest-ranking African Americans in the history of the federal executive branch (by virtue of the Secretary of State standing fourth in the presidential line of succession). Powell served as the 16th United States National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989 and as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993.

Powell was born in New York City in 1937 and was raised in the South Bronx. His parents, Luther and Maud Powell, immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. Powell was educated in the New York City public schools, graduating from the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned a bachelor's degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in June 1958. Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which time he held many command and staff positions and rose to the rank of four-star general. He was Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command in 1989.

His last assignment, from October 1989 to September 1993, was as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. During this time, he oversaw 28 crises, including the invasion of Panama in 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War against Iraq in 1990–1991. He formulated the Powell Doctrine which limits American military action unless it satisfies criteria regarding American national security interests, overwhelming force, and widespread public support. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under Republican President George W. Bush. His term was highly controversial regarding his inaccurate justification for America's Iraq War in 2003. He was fired after Bush was reelected in 2004.

In retirement, Powell wrote his autobiography, My American Journey. He pursued a career as a public speaker, addressing audiences across the country and abroad. Prior to his appointment as Secretary of State, Powell was the chairman of America's Promise – The Alliance for Youth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of young people. Powell is the recipient of numerous U.S. and foreign military awards and decorations. Powell's civilian awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom (twice), the Congressional Gold Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. Several schools and other institutions have been named in his honor and he holds honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the country. In 2016, while not a candidate for that year's election, Powell received three electoral votes for the office of President of the United States.

Quote: Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of landscape photography of waves and clouds
Photo Credit: Ant Rozetsky

Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible.


Quote: If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of green grass field with smoke
Photo Credit: Vivek Kumar

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.


Quote: War should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of None
Photo Credit: Cassiano K. Wehr

War should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support.


Quote: Politics is not bean bags. It's serious, tough stuff. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of focus photography of chick on gray ground
Photo Credit: Ray Hennessy

Politics is not bean bags. It's serious, tough stuff.


Quote: The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of silver and gold UNK on brown wooden surface
Photo Credit: Jay Rembert

The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise. In my experience, the people closest to the problems are often in the best position to see the solutions. The key here is to empower and not be the bottleneck.


Quote: There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning form failure. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning form failure.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

There are no secrets to success: don’t waste time looking for them. Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work, and persistence.


Quote: Our strategy in going after this army is very simple. First we are going to cut it off, and then we are going to kill it. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Our strategy in going after this army is very simple. First we are going to cut it off, and then we are going to kill it.


Quote: The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting in above-average effort. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting in above-average effort.


Quote: Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude.


Quote: In the last several years, I have been troubled by the right shift of the Republican party too far to the right. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

In the last several years, I have been troubled by the right shift of the Republican party too far to the right.


Quote: President Assad, I worked with. I know him reasonably well, met with him a few times, and he's a liar. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

President Assad, I worked with. I know him reasonably well, met with him a few times, and he's a liar.


Quote: You're not just voting for an individual, in my judgment, you're voting for an agenda. You're voting for a platform. You're voting for a political philosophy. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

You're not just voting for an individual, in my judgment, you're voting for an agenda. You're voting for a platform. You're voting for a political philosophy.


Quote: Standing in support of children is something we should all be able to get behind, regardless of party affiliation. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Standing in support of children is something we should all be able to get behind, regardless of party affiliation.


Quote: It takes more courage to send men into battle than to fight the battle yourself. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

It takes more courage to send men into battle than to fight the battle yourself.


Quote: First you train the followers to accomplish the mission. Second, you resource them: Make sure that they have the tools to do the job. Third, you reward them: You give them medals or bonuses. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

First you train the followers to accomplish the mission. Second, you resource them: Make sure that they have the tools to do the job. Third, you reward them: You give them medals or bonuses.


Quote: The most effective means of ensuring the government's accountability to the people is an aggressive, free, challenging, untrusting press. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The most effective means of ensuring the government's accountability to the people is an aggressive, free, challenging, untrusting press.


Quote: Look at the world. There is no pure competitor to the United States of America. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Look at the world. There is no pure competitor to the United States of America.




Quote: You have to make sure you know why you are going to war and then use decisive force to end it as soon as possible. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

You have to make sure you know why you are going to war and then use decisive force to end it as soon as possible.




Quote: Pissing people off doesn't mean you're doing the right things, but doing the right things will almost inevitably piss people off. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Pissing people off doesn't mean you're doing the right things, but doing the right things will almost inevitably piss people off.


Quote: Trust is the glue that holds an org together and the lubricant that moves it forward. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Trust is the glue that holds an org together and the lubricant that moves it forward.


Quote: When you wrestle with a pig, he has fun, and you just end up dirty. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

When you wrestle with a pig, he has fun, and you just end up dirty.


Quote: When Jerry Springer thinks you've gone too far, my friends, you have gone too far. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

When Jerry Springer thinks you've gone too far, my friends, you have gone too far.


Quote: I was taught to think about mission and people. Mission. What are you trying to accomplish? Don't do anything until you know what the mission is. Drilled into our hearts and into our heads. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I was taught to think about mission and people. Mission. What are you trying to accomplish? Don't do anything until you know what the mission is. Drilled into our hearts and into our heads.




Quote: Even the greatest of all strategists must occasionally take into account the presence of an enemy. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Even the greatest of all strategists must occasionally take into account the presence of an enemy.


Quote: I think you can improve on that natural ability with training and exposure to great leaders of the past and to management theories. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I think you can improve on that natural ability with training and exposure to great leaders of the past and to management theories.


Quote: As a leader you set the tone for your entire team. Communicate your vision. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

As a leader you set the tone for your entire team. Communicate your vision.


Quote: I'm sleeping like a baby, too. Every two hours, I wake up, screaming. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I'm sleeping like a baby, too. Every two hours, I wake up, screaming.




Quote: I happen to hold a bachelor of science degree in geology... And my greatest contribution to the field of science is that I never entered it. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I happen to hold a bachelor of science degree in geology... And my greatest contribution to the field of science is that I never entered it.


Quote: The United Nations will spearhead our efforts to manage the new conflicts (that afflict our world)... Yes the principles of the United Nations Charter are worth our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The United Nations will spearhead our efforts to manage the new conflicts (that afflict our world)... Yes the principles of the United Nations Charter are worth our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.


Quote: People have asked me, 'What would you have done if you hadn't gone into the Army?' I'd say I'd probably be a bus driver. I don't know. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

People have asked me, 'What would you have done if you hadn't gone into the Army?' I'd say I'd probably be a bus driver. I don't know.


Quote: The bottom line in all of it is that, in life, it's all about people. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The bottom line in all of it is that, in life, it's all about people.


Quote: Leaders honor their core values, but they are flexible in how they execute them. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Leaders honor their core values, but they are flexible in how they execute them.


Quote: What we have to find is the right level of regulation of our financial system so that it has the incentive to invest in things, but at the same time, it is sufficiently regulated so it can't get in the kind of trouble that we have seen in the past and we have seen recently. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of Colin Powell quote; white text on black background

What we have to find is the right level of regulation of our financial system so that it has the incentive to invest in things, but at the same time, it is sufficiently regulated so it can't get in the kind of trouble that we have seen in the past and we have seen recently.


Quote: One of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq's biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

One of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq's biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.


Quote: You know you're a good leader when people follow you out of curiosity. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

You know you're a good leader when people follow you out of curiosity.


Quote: So like any football or basketball coach, you always always believe you're going to win. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

So like any football or basketball coach, you always always believe you're going to win.


Quote: There are a lot of bigger issues we have to be worrying about with respect to our relationship to China, and the longer they drag out the situation, the more difficult it is to get this relationship back on track. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

There are a lot of bigger issues we have to be worrying about with respect to our relationship to China, and the longer they drag out the situation, the more difficult it is to get this relationship back on track.


Quote: All values are important, everyone who has ever touched my life in some way was a mentor for good or bad. Life is a blend, and a person is a blend of all the influences that have touched their lives. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

All values are important, everyone who has ever touched my life in some way was a mentor for good or bad. Life is a blend, and a person is a blend of all the influences that have touched their lives.


Quote: Keep looking below surface appearances. Don't shrink from doing so just because you might not like what you find. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Keep looking below surface appearances. Don't shrink from doing so just because you might not like what you find.


Quote: When I was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I would still have junior officers brief me. Usually these people knew more about the subject we were discussing than I did. I had to make sure that they felt confident enough to tell me everything they believed. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

When I was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I would still have junior officers brief me. Usually these people knew more about the subject we were discussing than I did. I had to make sure that they felt confident enough to tell me everything they believed.


Quote: All nations that are civilized and do not accept this kind of action as representing any sort of legitimate political cause are coming together to fight these terrorists. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

All nations that are civilized and do not accept this kind of action as representing any sort of legitimate political cause are coming together to fight these terrorists.


Quote: Foe means enemy. Now, will we have differences of opinion with the Russians? Yes. Will they get mad at us from time to time, and we get mad at them? That's part of the normal diplomatic relations. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Foe means enemy. Now, will we have differences of opinion with the Russians? Yes. Will they get mad at us from time to time, and we get mad at them? That's part of the normal diplomatic relations.


Quote: Don't just show kindness in passing or to be courteous. Show it in depth, show it with passion, and expect nothing in return. Kindness is not just about being nice; it's about recognizing another human being who deserves care and respect. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Don't just show kindness in passing or to be courteous. Show it in depth, show it with passion, and expect nothing in return. Kindness is not just about being nice; it's about recognizing another human being who deserves care and respect.


Quote: Just hit my 75th birthday, I'm feeling great! by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Just hit my 75th birthday, I'm feeling great!


Quote: You have to create circumstances where your first-tier leader knows what you are trying to accomplish, because he is the one who's going to get it done. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

You have to create circumstances where your first-tier leader knows what you are trying to accomplish, because he is the one who's going to get it done.


Quote: I have never seen a good organization where the standards weren't high. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I have never seen a good organization where the standards weren't high.


Quote: Leadership is all about people. It is not about organizations. It is not about plans. It is not about strategies. It is all about people-motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centered. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Leadership is all about people. It is not about organizations. It is not about plans. It is not about strategies. It is all about people-motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centered.


Quote: When you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they're not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

When you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they're not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.




Quote: You have to comply, you have to obey -- or you'd better resign and leave. But that is also the mark of a great leader -- somebody who, in the presence of inner conflict, will do the right thing. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

You have to comply, you have to obey -- or you'd better resign and leave. But that is also the mark of a great leader -- somebody who, in the presence of inner conflict, will do the right thing.


Quote: No matter how significant or life-changing your greatest hit or miss might be, neither even begins to define who you are. Each of us is a product of all our experiences and all our interactions with other people. To cite calculus, we are the area under the curve. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

No matter how significant or life-changing your greatest hit or miss might be, neither even begins to define who you are. Each of us is a product of all our experiences and all our interactions with other people. To cite calculus, we are the area under the curve.


Quote: My responsibility, our responsibility as lucky Americans, is to try to give back to this country as much as it has given us, as we continue our American journey together. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

My responsibility, our responsibility as lucky Americans, is to try to give back to this country as much as it has given us, as we continue our American journey together.


Quote: I think leadership is both a trained thing and a natural gift. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I think leadership is both a trained thing and a natural gift.


Quote: The media only report stupid or careless answers, not stupid or unfair questions. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The media only report stupid or careless answers, not stupid or unfair questions.


Quote: Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired. Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired. Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut.


Quote: We are not sure to what extent Saddam's Hussein own people were conveying an incorrect picture to him. But this body of evidence was believed not only by President George W. Bush. President Bill Clinton used that same body of intelligence before bombing Iraq in 1998. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of Colin Powell quote; white text on black background

We are not sure to what extent Saddam's Hussein own people were conveying an incorrect picture to him. But this body of evidence was believed not only by President George W. Bush. President Bill Clinton used that same body of intelligence before bombing Iraq in 1998.




Quote: I don't know who all of his advisers are, but I've seen some of the names and some of them are quite far to the right. And sometimes they might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I don't know who all of his advisers are, but I've seen some of the names and some of them are quite far to the right. And sometimes they might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought.


Quote: Finding the Russian scientists may be a problem being that Russia does not have a Social Security System, as here in America, that allows us to monitor, track down and capture an American citizen. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Finding the Russian scientists may be a problem being that Russia does not have a Social Security System, as here in America, that allows us to monitor, track down and capture an American citizen.


Quote: I went to graduate school as a lieutenant colonel after I had been in the army for 12 or 13 years. I learned so much from all the great management theorists. It gave me a greater understanding of my army experience and showed me the gaps in my knowledge. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I went to graduate school as a lieutenant colonel after I had been in the army for 12 or 13 years. I learned so much from all the great management theorists. It gave me a greater understanding of my army experience and showed me the gaps in my knowledge.


Quote: I would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me, but I'm not anxious to rule it in. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me, but I'm not anxious to rule it in.




Quote: Another rule I have is: Don't let your ego get tied up in a policy dispute. Otherwise, if things don't go your way, you can end up breaking a relationship with somebody with whom you can't afford to break. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Another rule I have is: Don't let your ego get tied up in a policy dispute. Otherwise, if things don't go your way, you can end up breaking a relationship with somebody with whom you can't afford to break.






Quote: There is a war on terror that must be fought. Nobody's immune... And so rather than finding fault with what Spain has done by being aggressive in the war on terror, this should redouble everyone's efforts to go after terrorist organizations of any kind... Terror has to be brought to an end. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of Colin Powell quote: There is a war on terror that must be fought. Nobody's immune... And so rather than finding fault with what Spain has done by being aggressive in the war on terror, this should redouble everyone's efforts to go after terrorist organizations of any kind... Terror has to be brought to an end.- black text on quotes background

There is a war on terror that must be fought. Nobody's immune... And so rather than finding fault with what Spain has done by being aggressive in the war on terror, this should redouble everyone's efforts to go after terrorist organizations of any kind... Terror has to be brought to an end.


Quote: I am confident that we will find evidence that makes it clear he had weapons of mass destruction. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I am confident that we will find evidence that makes it clear he had weapons of mass destruction.


Quote: People get work done, not buildings, not staffs in a generic sense, and not plans, but people. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

People get work done, not buildings, not staffs in a generic sense, and not plans, but people.


Quote: We have to be on guard that we don't spend so much time worrying about terrorism and guarding ourselves that we start to lose the essence of who we are as an open, freedom-loving people, welcoming to the rest of the world. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

We have to be on guard that we don't spend so much time worrying about terrorism and guarding ourselves that we start to lose the essence of who we are as an open, freedom-loving people, welcoming to the rest of the world.






Quote: Saddam Hussein has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Saddam Hussein has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.


Quote: I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now.


Quote: I think all of the attention of the world, to include the attention of the Arab world, should be on Saddam Hussein and whether or not he is prepared to give up the weapons of mass destruction that he has used to terrorise the region. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I think all of the attention of the world, to include the attention of the Arab world, should be on Saddam Hussein and whether or not he is prepared to give up the weapons of mass destruction that he has used to terrorise the region.


Quote: Policies that emanate from ivory towers often have an adverse impact on the people out in the field who are fighting the wars or bringing in the revenues. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Policies that emanate from ivory towers often have an adverse impact on the people out in the field who are fighting the wars or bringing in the revenues.




Quote: The Court is perhaps one of the last citadels of jealously preserved individualism. For the most part, we function as nine, small independent law firms. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The Court is perhaps one of the last citadels of jealously preserved individualism. For the most part, we function as nine, small independent law firms.




Quote: As I've thought about gay marriage, I don't see any reason not to say that couples should be able to get married. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

As I've thought about gay marriage, I don't see any reason not to say that couples should be able to get married.


Quote: Failure is a part of life and you have to learn to deal with it. Failure is something that is part of life's cycle and it's from failure that you gain life experience. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Failure is a part of life and you have to learn to deal with it. Failure is something that is part of life's cycle and it's from failure that you gain life experience.




Quote: Trump has no sense of shame. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Trump has no sense of shame.


Quote: The claims made about Iraq's WMD capabilities before the invasion were inaccurate, wrong, and in some cases, deliberately misleading. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The claims made about Iraq's WMD capabilities before the invasion were inaccurate, wrong, and in some cases, deliberately misleading.


Quote: What could be more important than equipping the next generation with the character and competence they need to become successful. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

What could be more important than equipping the next generation with the character and competence they need to become successful.


Quote: I think that military, corporate, and non-political organizations are pretty much similar. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I think that military, corporate, and non-political organizations are pretty much similar.


Quote: A sense of shame is not a bad moral compass. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

A sense of shame is not a bad moral compass.


Quote: The United States-Israeli relationship is based on the broadest conception of American national interest in which our two nations are bound forever together by common democratic values and traditions. This will never change. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The United States-Israeli relationship is based on the broadest conception of American national interest in which our two nations are bound forever together by common democratic values and traditions. This will never change.


Quote: It isn't enough just to scream at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. We need our political system to start reflecting this anger back into, 'How do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again?' by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

It isn't enough just to scream at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. We need our political system to start reflecting this anger back into, 'How do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again?'


Quote: President Kennedy didn't negotiate out of the Cuban missile crisis simply because he and Khrushchev got along well. Khrushchev didn't have the cards. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

President Kennedy didn't negotiate out of the Cuban missile crisis simply because he and Khrushchev got along well. Khrushchev didn't have the cards.


Quote: We have practiced diplomacy since the very beginning of the nation. Sometimes it has not worked, and we've had to go to war. I always believe you should try to find peace and reconciliation before conflict. That has been the approach I've taken. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

We have practiced diplomacy since the very beginning of the nation. Sometimes it has not worked, and we've had to go to war. I always believe you should try to find peace and reconciliation before conflict. That has been the approach I've taken.




Quote: Russia isn't going to start a war. They can't afford it. I think Mr. Putin can be dealt with if we stop screaming at him. You can work with the guy. You just have to know who he is. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Russia isn't going to start a war. They can't afford it. I think Mr. Putin can be dealt with if we stop screaming at him. You can work with the guy. You just have to know who he is.


Quote: Engineering didn't take to me. And what saved me and kept me in college was I ran into ROTC cadets who were in a fraternity called The Pershing Rifles. And I found my place. I found discipline. I found structure. I found people that were like me and I liked. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Engineering didn't take to me. And what saved me and kept me in college was I ran into ROTC cadets who were in a fraternity called The Pershing Rifles. And I found my place. I found discipline. I found structure. I found people that were like me and I liked.


Quote: You need to understand, if you take out a government, take out a regime, guess who becomes the government and regime and is responsible for the country? You are. So if you break it, you own it. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

You need to understand, if you take out a government, take out a regime, guess who becomes the government and regime and is responsible for the country? You are. So if you break it, you own it.




Quote: It was President Bill Clinton and the United States congress in 1998 which said that the regime has to be changed because the regime would not give up its weapons of mass destruction. We came into office in 2001 and kept that policy because Saddam Hussein had not changed. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of Colin Powell quote; white text on black background

It was President Bill Clinton and the United States congress in 1998 which said that the regime has to be changed because the regime would not give up its weapons of mass destruction. We came into office in 2001 and kept that policy because Saddam Hussein had not changed.




Quote: It is not our place to decide who should lead the Iraqi people. If Saddam Hussein leaves or has to be forced out of power and a new regime brought in, a new leadership brought in, I am confident it will be some combination of people inside the country and outside the country. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of Colin Powell quote; white text on black background

It is not our place to decide who should lead the Iraqi people. If Saddam Hussein leaves or has to be forced out of power and a new regime brought in, a new leadership brought in, I am confident it will be some combination of people inside the country and outside the country.


Quote: It's not just a matter of whether you support Obama or Romney. It's who they have coming with them. I always keep my powder dry, as they say in the military. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

It's not just a matter of whether you support Obama or Romney. It's who they have coming with them. I always keep my powder dry, as they say in the military.


Quote: Leadership is solving problems. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Leadership is solving problems.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.


Quote: The country would be a lot better off if we stopped having comment sections. And if we got rid of Twitter. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The country would be a lot better off if we stopped having comment sections. And if we got rid of Twitter.


Quote: We want to approach this in a multilateral way, talking with our friends, consulting with our security council colleagues in the United Nations, hoping to find a way to solve this peacefully, but at the same time recognising that unless the threat of military force is there, Iraq will not disarm. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of Colin Powell quote: We want to approach this in a multilateral way, talking with our friends, consulting with our security council colleagues in the United Nations, hoping to find a way to solve this peacefully, but at the same time recognising that unless the threat of military force is there, Iraq will not disarm.- black text on quotes background

We want to approach this in a multilateral way, talking with our friends, consulting with our security council colleagues in the United Nations, hoping to find a way to solve this peacefully, but at the same time recognising that unless the threat of military force is there, Iraq will not disarm.






Quote: Throughout my career, I learned plenty about war on the battlefield, but I learned even more about the importance of finding peace. And that is what the State Department and U.S.A.I.D. do: prevent the wars that we can avoid so that we fight only the ones we must. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Throughout my career, I learned plenty about war on the battlefield, but I learned even more about the importance of finding peace. And that is what the State Department and U.S.A.I.D. do: prevent the wars that we can avoid so that we fight only the ones we must.


Quote: For all the hardship, I was still excited to be on the trail, testing my endurance, feeling especially alive as strength and fatigue flowed alternately through my limbs. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

For all the hardship, I was still excited to be on the trail, testing my endurance, feeling especially alive as strength and fatigue flowed alternately through my limbs.


Quote: No one has done more to prevent conflict -- no one has made a greater sacrifice for the cause for Peace -- than you, America's proud missile submarine family. You stand tall among our heroes of the Cold War. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

No one has done more to prevent conflict -- no one has made a greater sacrifice for the cause for Peace -- than you, America's proud missile submarine family. You stand tall among our heroes of the Cold War.






Quote: There is no such thing as an unimportant person in an organization. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

There is no such thing as an unimportant person in an organization.


Quote: Nobody has ever said in the United States government that we are going to war next month. No decision has been made by the president because, as he said to the United Nations, he wants the United Nations to live up to its responsibilities and he wants Saddam Hussein to cooperate. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of Colin Powell quote; white text on black background

Nobody has ever said in the United States government that we are going to war next month. No decision has been made by the president because, as he said to the United Nations, he wants the United Nations to live up to its responsibilities and he wants Saddam Hussein to cooperate.




Quote: You can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

You can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy.


Quote: With vision only, you get no follow-through. With enforcers only, the vision is realized but leaves a lot of wreckage. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

With vision only, you get no follow-through. With enforcers only, the vision is realized but leaves a lot of wreckage.


Quote: Yup, the whole birther movement was racist. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Yup, the whole birther movement was racist.


Quote: An organization that is not facing up to people who are not getting the job done, is going to have difficulties. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

An organization that is not facing up to people who are not getting the job done, is going to have difficulties.


Quote: There is no question about the fact that we had very serious disagreements with my German, French, and Russian colleagues over the Iraq war. But I never stopped talking. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

There is no question about the fact that we had very serious disagreements with my German, French, and Russian colleagues over the Iraq war. But I never stopped talking.




Quote: We are rather candid with them about the nature of their political processes and the state of development of their institutions, but they are looking to the West because they know that's where success lies. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

We are rather candid with them about the nature of their political processes and the state of development of their institutions, but they are looking to the West because they know that's where success lies.




Quote: We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.


Quote: Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier.


Quote: One of the fondest expressions around is that we can't be the world's policeman. But guess who gets called when suddenly someone needs a cop. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

One of the fondest expressions around is that we can't be the world's policeman. But guess who gets called when suddenly someone needs a cop.


Quote: Bahrain is moving at one pace, Morocco another, Qatar at another, Kuwait at yet another. And we are there to assist our friends. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Bahrain is moving at one pace, Morocco another, Qatar at another, Kuwait at yet another. And we are there to assist our friends.


Quote: We are not dictating. We are not telling them Saudi Arabia how they should do it or who they should look like. We are their friends. We have mutual interests and we will help them in any way that is possible. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

We are not dictating. We are not telling them Saudi Arabia how they should do it or who they should look like. We are their friends. We have mutual interests and we will help them in any way that is possible.


Quote: I think our initiative with respect to education and economic development can work in Saudi Arabia and it is up to the Saudis to decide how they wish to transform their society in order to make it prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I think our initiative with respect to education and economic development can work in Saudi Arabia and it is up to the Saudis to decide how they wish to transform their society in order to make it prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.


Quote: There is only one China. Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

There is only one China. Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation.


Quote: So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? I think our judgment has to be clearly not. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

So has the strategic decision been made to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction by the leadership in Baghdad? I think our judgment has to be clearly not.


Quote: I don't think we handled the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad as well as we might have. But that's now history. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I don't think we handled the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad as well as we might have. But that's now history.


Quote: High-quality early-childhood programs and health coverage have expanded, and the number of mentoring relationships for at-risk youth has risen dramatically. That progress is encouraging, but it's not evenly distributed. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

High-quality early-childhood programs and health coverage have expanded, and the number of mentoring relationships for at-risk youth has risen dramatically. That progress is encouraging, but it's not evenly distributed.


Quote: No war on the face of the Earth is more destructive than the AIDS pandemic. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

No war on the face of the Earth is more destructive than the AIDS pandemic.


Quote: Indeed, we're strongest when the face of America isn't only a soldier carrying a gun but also a diplomat negotiating peace, a Peace Corps volunteer bringing clean water to a village, or a relief worker stepping off a cargo plane as floodwaters rise. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Indeed, we're strongest when the face of America isn't only a soldier carrying a gun but also a diplomat negotiating peace, a Peace Corps volunteer bringing clean water to a village, or a relief worker stepping off a cargo plane as floodwaters rise.


Quote: It is the job of leaders to eliminate uncertainty. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

It is the job of leaders to eliminate uncertainty.




Quote: Have a vision. Be demanding. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Have a vision. Be demanding.


Quote: Children need to get a high-quality education, avoid violence and the criminal-justice system, and gain jobs. But they deserve more. We want them to learn not only reading and math but fairness, caring, self-respect, family commitment, and civic duty. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Children need to get a high-quality education, avoid violence and the criminal-justice system, and gain jobs. But they deserve more. We want them to learn not only reading and math but fairness, caring, self-respect, family commitment, and civic duty.


Quote: Poverty arises and persists where corruption is endemic and enterprise is stifled, where basic fairness provided by the rule of law is absent. In such circumstances, poverty is an assault against human dignity, and in that assault lies the natural seed of human anger. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of Colin Powell quote; white text on black background

Poverty arises and persists where corruption is endemic and enterprise is stifled, where basic fairness provided by the rule of law is absent. In such circumstances, poverty is an assault against human dignity, and in that assault lies the natural seed of human anger.


Quote: The ties that bind us are stronger than the occasional stresses that separate us. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The ties that bind us are stronger than the occasional stresses that separate us.


Quote: Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to nothing. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to nothing.


Quote: Too often we act -- ask our schools to be truant officers, our teachers to be truant officers, because we're giving them children who have, you know, they're not ready to learn. And if they're not ready to learn by the third grade, they know they're behind. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Too often we act -- ask our schools to be truant officers, our teachers to be truant officers, because we're giving them children who have, you know, they're not ready to learn. And if they're not ready to learn by the third grade, they know they're behind.


Quote: The United States is not stingy. We are the greatest contributor to international relief efforts in the world. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

The United States is not stingy. We are the greatest contributor to international relief efforts in the world.


Quote: I try to be the same person I was yesterday. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I try to be the same person I was yesterday.


Quote: I think whether you're having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I think whether you're having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude.


Quote: In other words, don't expect to always be great. Disappointments, failures and setbacks are a normal part of the lifecycle of a unit or a company and what the leader has to do is constantly be up and say 'we have a problem, let's go and get it'. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

In other words, don't expect to always be great. Disappointments, failures and setbacks are a normal part of the lifecycle of a unit or a company and what the leader has to do is constantly be up and say 'we have a problem, let's go and get it'.


Quote: Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.


Quote: A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.


Quote: Wouldn't it be great if we could look forward to a whole world in which no child will be left behind? by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Wouldn't it be great if we could look forward to a whole world in which no child will be left behind?


Quote: 90 percent of my time is spent on 10 percent of the world. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

90 percent of my time is spent on 10 percent of the world.


Quote: I don't want to spend the rest of my life giving speeches. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I don't want to spend the rest of my life giving speeches.


Quote: Get mad, then get over it. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Get mad, then get over it.


Quote: In terms of the legal matter of creating a contract between two people that's called marriage, and allowing them to live together with the protection of law, it seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

In terms of the legal matter of creating a contract between two people that's called marriage, and allowing them to live together with the protection of law, it seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country.




Quote: I respect the fact that many denominations have different points of view with respect to gay marriage and they can hold that in the sanctity in the place of their religion and not bless them or solemnize them. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I respect the fact that many denominations have different points of view with respect to gay marriage and they can hold that in the sanctity in the place of their religion and not bless them or solemnize them.


Quote: It's nice to say let's be bipartisan. But we're a partisan nation. We were raised as a partisan nation. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

It's nice to say let's be bipartisan. But we're a partisan nation. We were raised as a partisan nation.


Quote: No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.


Quote: I was born in Harlem, raised in the South Bronx, went to public school, got out of public college, went into the Army, and then I just stuck with it. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I was born in Harlem, raised in the South Bronx, went to public school, got out of public college, went into the Army, and then I just stuck with it.


Quote: We need to understand that we as citizens and as a government in any community throughout this country have no more important obligation than to educate those who are going to replace us. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

We need to understand that we as citizens and as a government in any community throughout this country have no more important obligation than to educate those who are going to replace us.


Quote: You don't know what you can get away with until you try. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

You don't know what you can get away with until you try.


Quote: I consider myself a moderate Republican. I have very, very moderate social views, and I'm pretty strong on, on defense matters. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

I consider myself a moderate Republican. I have very, very moderate social views, and I'm pretty strong on, on defense matters.


Quote: It's a disgrace that we have millions of people who are uninsured. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

It's a disgrace that we have millions of people who are uninsured.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

It's a disgrace that we have millions of people who are uninsured, but at the same time too -- in the eyes of the American people, in my judgment, it looked as if that somehow become more important than the main attack which was to fix the economy and get the Americans working again.


Quote: Don't bother people for help without first trying to solve the problem yourself. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Don't bother people for help without first trying to solve the problem yourself.


Quote: What you're seeing with Occupy Wall Street and the others are people who are unhappy and they're directing their unhappiness now toward Wall Street and toward those they think are doing too well in our society. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

What you're seeing with Occupy Wall Street and the others are people who are unhappy and they're directing their unhappiness now toward Wall Street and toward those they think are doing too well in our society.




Quote: Giving back involves a certain amount of giving up. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Giving back involves a certain amount of giving up.


Quote: Don't let your ego get too close to your position, so that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn't go with it. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Don't let your ego get too close to your position, so that if your position gets shot down, your ego doesn't go with it.


Quote: Never neglect details. When everyone's mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Never neglect details. When everyone's mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.


Quote: Fit no stereotypes. Don't chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team's mission. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Fit no stereotypes. Don't chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team's mission.


Quote: It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.


Quote: Many interviewers when they come to talk to me, think they're being progressive by not mentioning in their stories any longer that I'm black. I tell them, 'Don't stop now. If I shot somebody you'd mention it.' by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

Many interviewers when they come to talk to me, think they're being progressive by not mentioning in their stories any longer that I'm black. I tell them, 'Don't stop now. If I shot somebody you'd mention it.'


Quote: If a leader doesn't convey passion and intensity then there will be no passion and intensity within the organization and they'll start to fall down and get depressed. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

If a leader doesn't convey passion and intensity then there will be no passion and intensity within the organization and they'll start to fall down and get depressed.


Quote: My own experience is use the tools that are out there. Use the digital world. But never lose sight of the need to reach out and talk to other people who don't share your view. Listen to them and see if you can find a way to compromise. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

My own experience is use the tools that are out there. Use the digital world. But never lose sight of the need to reach out and talk to other people who don't share your view. Listen to them and see if you can find a way to compromise.


Quote: But just as they did in Philadelphia when they were writing the constitution, sooner or later, you've got to compromise. You've got to start making the compromises that arrive at a consensus and move the country forward. by author Colin Powell overlaid on photo of photo of author Colin Powell with quote

But just as they did in Philadelphia when they were writing the constitution, sooner or later, you've got to compromise. You've got to start making the compromises that arrive at a consensus and move the country forward.


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