Barnum is best known as a showman. Some consider him a conman because of his use of hype. Or as he called them, “humbugs.” However, he wasn’t a conman and he publicly fought against those who deceived the public.
Barnum entertained millions of people in his day. And with the circus that bears his name today, he’s still entertaining.
17 Of My Favorite P.T. Barnum Quotes
I think these capture his business and personal philosophy. Many businesses today could learn a lot from him.
- Without promotion something terrible happens... Nothing! Tweet This
- Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.
- If I shoot at the sun, I may hit a star.
- Many persons are always kept poor, because they are too visionary. Every project looks to them like certain successes, and therefore they keep changing from one business to another, always in hot water, always "under the harrow."
- The noblest art is that of making others happy. Tweet This
- Men who drive sharp bargains with their customers, acting as if they never expected to see them again, will not be mistaken. They will never see them again as customers. People don't like to pay and get kicked also.
- Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now.
- You know I had rather be laughed at than not to be noticed at all...
- Engage in one kind of business only, and stick to it faithfully until you succeed, or until your experience shows that you should abandon it.
- Every crowd has a silver lining. Tweet This
- Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.
- I don't care what you say about me, just spell my name right. Tweet This
- Never cater to the baser instincts of humanity, strive as I have always done to elevate the moral tone of amusements, and always remember that the children have ever been our best patrons. I would rather hear the pleased laugh of a child over some feature of my exhibition than receive as I did the flattering compliments of the Prince of Wales.
- Never attempt to catch a whale with a minnow. Tweet This
- I believe hugely in advertising and blowing my own trumpet, beating the gongs, drums, etc., to attract attention to a show; but I never believed that any amount of advertising or energy would make a spurious article permanently successful.
- Never give a sucker an even break.
- It is of no advantage to advertise unless you intend to honestly fulfill the promises made in this manner.
P.T. Barnum’s life was filled with many great successes and tragedies. He rose to success to watch his home and museums burn to the ground. He went deep in debt and come out on top, simply because of his ability to understand how to give people what they want.
Do you have any favorite P.T. Barnum quotes or stories you’d like to share? Leave them below...
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