Welcome to our collection of quotes by Thomas Watson. We hope you enjoy pondering them and please share widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Thomas Watson

Thomas John Watson Sr. (February 17, 1874 – June 19, 1956) was an American businessman. He served as the chairman and CEO of International Business Machines (IBM). He oversaw the company's growth into an international force from 1914 to 1956. Watson developed IBM's management style and corporate culture from John Henry Patterson's training at NCR. He turned the company into a highly effective selling organization, based largely on punched card tabulating machines. A leading self-made industrialist, he was one of the richest men of his time and was called the world's greatest salesman when he died in 1956.

The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it's very difficult to build and very easy to destroy.

--Thomas Watson

Longer Version:

The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it's very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.


If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.

--Thomas Watson

So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can.  Because that's where you will find success. On the far side of failure.

--Thomas Watson

It is a common mistake to think of failure as the enemy of success. Failure is a teacher-a harsh one, but the best. Pull your failures to pieces looking for the reason. Put your failure to work for you.

--Thomas Watson

Do you want to succeed? Then, double you rate of failure. Success lies on the far side of failure.

--Thomas Watson

Success is on the far side of failure.

--Thomas Watson

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of crackpot than the stigma of conformity.

--Thomas Watson

It was courage, faith, endurance and a dogged determination to surmount all obstacles that built this bridge.

--Thomas Watson

If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.

--Thomas Watson

Treat each case as an individual case, and give every man an opportunity to earn just as much money as he is capable of earning.

--Thomas Watson

The best way to supervise your men is from their reports that they make out.

--Thomas Watson

Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops.

--Thomas Watson

If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.

--Thomas Watson

You don't hear things that are bad about your company unless you ask. It is easy to hear good tidings, but you have to scratch to get the bad news.

--Thomas Watson

Don't make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up.

--Thomas Watson

Longer Version:

Don't make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up." -- Thomas J. Watson.


Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.

--Thomas Watson

If you aren't playing well, the game isn't as much fun. When that happens I tell myself just to go out and play as I did when I was a kid.

--Thomas Watson

Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.

--Thomas Watson

A manager is an assistant to his men.

--Thomas Watson

The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas and enthusiasm.

--Thomas Watson

If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

--Thomas Watson

Design must reflect the practical and aesthetic in business but above all... good design must primarily serve people.

--Thomas Watson

Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use.

--Thomas Watson

The way to succeed is to double your error rate.

--Thomas Watson

Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?

--Thomas Watson

All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think. The trouble is that men very often resort to all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard work.

--Thomas Watson

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart.

--Thomas Watson

Every time we've moved ahead in IBM, it was because someone was willing to take a chance, put his head on the block, and try something new.

--Thomas Watson

Really big people are, above everything else, courteous, considerate and generous -- not just to some people in some circumstances -- but to everyone all the time.

--Thomas Watson

If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.

--Thomas Watson

You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes, make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find success -- on the far side of failure.

--Thomas Watson

It is better to aim at perfection and miss, than to aim at imperfection and hit it.

--Thomas Watson

Our murmuring is the devil's music.

--Thomas Watson

We are to find as much bitterness in weeping for sin as we ever found sweetness in committing it.

--Thomas Watson

The pardoned soul is out of the gunshot of hell.

--Thomas Watson

How many souls have been blown into hell with the wind of popular applause?

--Thomas Watson

How soon are we broken on the soft pillow of ease! Adam in paradise was overcome, when Job on the dunghill was a conqueror.

--Thomas Watson

This kind of intense loyalty, then, became the well-spring of the IBM spirit, the family spirit as it was called.

--Thomas Watson

The bare knowledge of God's will is inefficacious, it doth not better the heart. Knowledge alone is like a winter sun, which hath no heat or influence; it doth not warm the affections, or purify the conscience. Judas was a great luminary, he knew God's will, but he was a traitor.

--Thomas Watson

Our murmuring is the devil's music.

--Thomas Watson

Affliction may be lasting, but it is not everlasting.

--Thomas Watson

It repentance is not so much to endear us to Christ as to endear Christ to us. Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.

--Thomas Watson

The pleasure of sin is soon gone, but the sting remains.

--Thomas Watson

A spiritual prayer is a humble prayer. Prayer is the asking of an alms, which requires humility... The lower the heart descends, the higher the prayer ascends.

--Thomas Watson

The pardoned soul is out of the gunshot of hell (Rom. 8:33).

--Thomas Watson

He may look on death with joy, who can look on forgiveness with faith.

--Thomas Watson

A man's greatest care should be for that place where he lives longest; therefore eternity should be his scope.

--Thomas Watson

The more we enjoy of God, the more we are ravished with delight.

--Thomas Watson

He that loves the world, how active is he! He will break his peace and sleep for it. He that loves honour, what hazards will he run! He will swim to the throne in blood.... Love heaven, and you cannot miss it; love breaks through all opposition-it takes heaven by storm.

--Thomas Watson

God's decree is the very pillar and basis on which the saint's perseverance depends. That decree ties the knot of adoption so fast, that neither sin, death, nor hell, can break it asunder.

--Thomas Watson

We spend our years with sighing; it is a valleyof tears; but death is the funeral of all our sorrows.

--Thomas Watson

God will not be behind-hand in love to us: for our drop, we shall receive an ocean.

--Thomas Watson

The right manner of growth is to grow less in one's own eyes.

--Thomas Watson

What if we have more of the rough file, if we have less rust! Afflictions carry away nothing but the dross of sin.

--Thomas Watson

The prayer that is faithless is fruitless.

--Thomas Watson

Though we as Christians are like Christ, having the first fruits of the spirit, yet we are unlike him, having the remainders of the flesh.

--Thomas Watson

Affliction may be lasting, but it is not everlasting. Affliction was a sting, but withal a wing: sorrow shall soon fly away.

--Thomas Watson

Affliction has a sting, out withal a wing: sorrow shall fly away.

--Thomas Watson

Prayer as it comes from the saint is weak and languid; but when the arrow of a saint's prayer is put into the bow of Christ's intercession it pierces the throne of grace.

--Thomas Watson

The world rings changes, it is never constant but in its disappointments. The world is but a great inn, where we are to stay a night or two, and be gone; what madness is it so to set our heart upon our inn, as to forget our home?

--Thomas Watson

Such as make the sacrament only a representation of Christ do aim short of the mystery, and come short of the comfort.

--Thomas Watson

God can turn stones into bread, and a sinner can turn bread into stones; the bread of life into the stone of stumbling.

--Thomas Watson

The Ediles among the Romans had their doors always standing open, that all who had petitions might have free access to them. The door of heaven is always open for the prayers of God's people.

--Thomas Watson

When you find a chillness upon your souls, and that your former heat begins to abate, ply yourselves with warm clothes, get those good books that may acquaint you with such truths as may warm and affect your hearts.

--Thomas Watson

Praising God is one of the highest and purest acts of religion. In prayer we act like men; in praise we act like angels.

--Thomas Watson

If you don't genuinely like your customers, chances are they won't buy.

--Thomas Watson

Those prayers God likes best which come seething hot from the heart.

--Thomas Watson

God will fill the hungry because He Himself has stirred up the hunger. As in the case of prayer, when God prepares the heart to pray, He prepares His ear to hear (Ps. 10:17). So in the case of spiritual hunger, when God prepares the heart to hunger, He will prepare His hand to fill.

--Thomas Watson

A weak faith can lay hold on a strong Christ.

--Thomas Watson


A wicked man in prayer may lift up his hands, but he cannot lift up his face.

--Thomas Watson

Better have men reproach you for being good, than have God damn you for being wicked. Be not laughed out of your religion. If a lame man laugh at you for walking upright, will you therefore limp?

--Thomas Watson



There is justice in hell, but sin is the most unjust thing. It would rob God of his glory, Christ of his purchase, the soul of its happiness.

--Thomas Watson

Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.

--Thomas Watson

It is hard to carry a full cup without spilling, and a full estate without sinning.

--Thomas Watson

Are there not millions of us who would rather go sleeping to hell; than sweating to heaven?

--Thomas Watson

Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset; eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise.

--Thomas Watson

If joining IBM was commitment, not employment, and the company engaged in something more than business, it had a right to demand of its men unconditional loyalty, Watson believed.

--Thomas Watson

Fulgens hoc aurum praestringit oculos This gold with its glitter blinds the eyes. Varius.

--Thomas Watson

Christ went more willingly to the cross than we do to the throne of grace.

--Thomas Watson

It is our work to cast care, and it is God's work to take care.

--Thomas Watson

Know a quote that we are missing? Please use our suggest a quote form below and let us know. Thank YOU for visiting -- we wish you a perfect day!