Two Tuesday Quotes a Day Late: Paul Galvin and Dorothy Parker

Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.

Paul Galvin


That would be a good thing for them to carve on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

Dorothy Parker


Paul Galvin’s career strikingly illustrates the principle that failures can become growth experiences which ultimately lead to success. Galvin experienced several early business failures before founding his ultimate success, Motorola. Those failures gave Galvin a risk-taking ability that became a key ingredient in Motorola’s success.

Paul Galvin’s success was based upon a combination of stubborn refusal to let failure lead to disappointment, a tremendous ability to motivate employees, and a “sixth business sense” which enabled him to make a number of correct intuitive decisions at crucial points in Motorola’s history.

The ability to motivate employees contained many elements. Galvin was able to inspire the employees with visions of the ultimate success to be achieved. In the early days, Galvin saw each of his men as being a crucial part of the team and he was able to make the men aware of their individual importance in his eyes. Galvin readily admitted his own mistakes and encouraged others to do so in the knowledge that honest mistakes were inevitable if progress were to be made. Yet Galvin was ready to display his anger at careless mistakes and with any man who let the team down by loafing. Galvin was concerned about the financial welfare of his people and made certain that they shared in Motorola’s success through high pay and fringe benefits including a profit sharing plan. Galvin was noted for the personal attention he gave to employees suffering through serious sickness, including alcoholism. (source)

Mr. Galvin, a tall, soft-spoken man who was a member of various corporate boards and government and industry trade organizations, gave up Motorola’s chairmanship in 1990, but continued for more than a decade to serve on its board and advise his son, Christopher, who succeeded him in 1997. Christopher Galvin resigned in 2003 after Motorola surrendered its edge in cellphones and lost billions in a satellite communications venture, Iridium, which could not compete with the spread of ground-based cell networks.

For Mr. Galvin, it was a disappointment, but taking risks and distrusting conventional wisdom had always been his guiding principle. “If it’s intuitive, it’s probably wrong,” he told a leadership symposium. “The absolutely distinguishing quality of a leader is that a leader takes us elsewhere.” (source)


Journalist, writer, and poet. Born Dorothy Rothschild on August 22, 1893, in West End, New Jersey. Dorothy Parker was a legendary literary figure, known for her biting wit. She worked on such magazines as Vogue and Vanity Fair during the late 1910s. Parker went on to work as a book reviewer for The New Yorker in the 1920s. A selection of her reviews for this magazine was published in 1970 as Constant Reader, the title of her column. She remained a contributor to The New Yorker for many years; the magazine also published a number of her short stories. One of her most popular stories, “Big Blonde,” won the O. Henry Award in 1929. (source)

In addition to her screenplay career, Parker also founded the Screen Writer’s Guild with Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett. She never seemed to tire as she also reported on the Spanish Civil War and in her spare time worked on several plays, although none of them ever became popular. In spite of all of Parker’s and Campbells’s success, their marriage was a struggle. The couple would often fight and separate, only to reconcile a few weeks later. Eventually, they divorced in 1947, but even this did not last and society was a bit amused when they remarried in 1950. They stayed married until Campbell’s death in 1963.

Dorothy Parker was an outspoken advocate of left-wing causes. Her passion for civil rights was received with harsh criticism and commentary from those who were in authority. As her time in Hollywood lengthened, she became more involved in politics. Parker supported the American Communist Party in 1934. She wrote for the Loyalist cause in Spain for the Communist paper New Masses in 1937, and was one of the founders of the Anti-Nazi League in Hollywood. Many friends thought her behavior too radical, and it caused rifts between Parker and those who used to be close to her. She rarely saw her former Round Table friends.

The growth of the American Communist Party led to investigations by the FBI and Dorothy Parker was on their list. The McCarthy era, as this period of time was known, resulted in Parker and others being placed on the Hollywood blacklist by movie studio bosses.

When Parker died, she did something completely unexpected, but not surprising; she bequeathed her entire estate to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. foundation. Following King’s death, her estate was passed on to the NAACP. Her executor, Lillian Hellman, bitterly but unsuccessfully contested this disposition. Even in death, Parker found a way to support a cause she deeply believed in. (source)


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