Charles Handy speaks

Image source: CIPD
Image source: CIPD

Charles Handy is a British management guru whose social philosophy ideas have influenced the management of British organisations. His book, Myself and other more important matters, is an autobiographical account of his life in which he discusses how his life journey from a small vicarage in the Irish countryside to the top of the management consulting world shaped his life.

He shares the insights he has gained from these life experiences; principles which were learnt through maturity and reflection. Each chapter in the book is filled with many gems of wisdom. I have listed some of my favourite ones below and I hope you too are able to benefit from some of these practical and useful ideas from Charles Handy.


‘A compromised life can end up as a large chunk of wasted time’

‘A successful life doesn’t mean knowing what you want to do before you act, but the other way round. Only by acting, experimenting, questioning and acting again do you find out who and what you are’

‘Life, I now think is really a search for one’s own identity. Sad is he or she who dies without knowing who they really are, or what they are really capable of.’

‘I have been taught to look at quizzically at conventional wisdom, to question received opinion and to look for alternative approaches to problems.’

‘Universities are wasted on the young. There are too many other distractions at that stage in life.’

‘If all your experiments with life, work out well then probably you haven’t pushed yourself far enough. There may be lives out there that you could have lived had you dared more.’

‘A degree is just a license to go learning, the beginning of an education, not the end.’

‘If you really want to learn something, try teaching it to someone else.’

‘Experience plus reflection is the learning that lasts.’

‘I have found that knowing what one ought to do in a situation is easy. It is the doing part that is tough.’

‘I have learnt from painful experience that although professionals may know more answers than I do, it is important that I know what questions to ask.’

‘Necessity narrows our horizons. The need to secure the next step stops us looking to see where the path is leading or what we are missing by not looking around us as we travel.’

‘The right time to think about developing a new life, to start a new job or a new interest, is when things are still going well.’

‘Making money is not that difficult if you don’t care how you make it or what you do with it.’

‘There are few things more uncomfortable in life than being used for purposes that are not yours by people you don’t always respect’

One reply on “Charles Handy speaks”

Please share your comments on this post

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.