Aphorisms by Oleg Vishnepolsky

Oleg Vishnepolsky was one of the early technologists and researchers at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center in the 1980s, and was thus present at the creation of some of the critical advances that made the Internet possible. Some of his sayings come out of his corporate experience: “Good project management is building a novel out of a bunch of short stories.” Vishnepolsky’s father was an editor at Pravda; his mother a professor of the arts. Despite his choice of a technical career, Vishnepolsky retained a love for art, journalism, poetry, and aphorisms. A selection of his own:

A choice is the only thing you kill by making it.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you create an environmental problem.

Small actions beat big intentions.

A relationship that lasts is built not on a win-win but on a sacrifice-sacrifice.

A relationship is an hourglass; sometimes, you have to turn it upside down to get it going again.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around, the firewood is yours for the taking.

A joke is a soap bar; it gets thinner with use.

If you bump into a devil you do not know, quickly introduce yourself.

The last person into an elevator is the first person out.

12 Comments

  1. Candadai Tirumalai

    One tells the same joke to different audiences, another to the same people at different times.

  2. James is very kind, and I am really flattered to be included in his blog.
    P.S. I just received James’ book, “Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists” and I have to admit this is the best selection of aphorisms I have seen, and I do have quite a collection of other books. What makes James’ book so unique is not only the one of a kind selection of international aphorisms, but his own analysis into the thought process that goes into creating new lines.
    Oleg Vishnepolsky

  3. Or my favorite: “When you are expected to exceed expectations, expect the unexpected” — Oleg Vishnepolsky