The Sawyer Partnership logo  
Quotes & Tips

Consulting, training, and coaching to help you solve messy problems that disrupt your operations or cause customers to take their business elsewhere.

  About The Sawyer Partnership


Quotes and Tips



I've listed some favorite quotes related to problem solving (in no particular order) as well as some tips to help make problem solving efforts go more smoothly.  The quotes mostly aren't verified, so apologies for misquotes and misattribution.  If you've got corrections or if you've got additions, send 'em to me.

Jeanne ( )



Defining Problems

The perception of a problem is always relative. Your headache feels terrific to the druggist. 
Ramona E. F. Arnett

A problem well stated is a problem half solved. 
Charles Kettering

A problem adequately stated is a problem well on its way to being solved.
Richard Buckminster Fuller

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.  
Poul Anderson

An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions. 
Robert A. Humphrey

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
Abraham Maslow


Don't find fault. Find remedy!  
Henry Ford

It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.   
G. K. Chesterton

It's so much easier to suggest solutions when you don't know too much about the problem.  
Malcolm Forbes

There is always an easy solution to every human problem— neat, plausible and wrong.  
H. L. Mencken

There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise. 
Gore Vidal

I don't have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem.   
Ashleigh Brilliant

No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it.   
Charles Schulz

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.  
David Friedman

It is wise to direct your anger towards problems — not people; to focus your energies on answers — not excuses.
William Arthur Ward

There is no solution because there is no problem.
Marcel Duchamp

Drowning problems in an ocean of information is not the same as solving them.
Ray E. Brown

Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.
Edward R. Murrow

The chief cause of problems is solutions.
Eric Sevareid

General Observations about Problems and Problem Solving

History is a vast early warning system.
Norman Cousins

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
Arthur Conan Doyle

We have to learn to distinguish those things that are truly important from those that are merely urgent.  
Jerry D. Campbell

Most problems are either unimportant or impossible to solve. 
Victor Galaz

A problem is something you have hopes of changing. Anything else is a fact of life.
C. R. Smith

Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.
Laurence J. Peter

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.
John Foster Dulles

Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them. 
Albert Einstein

Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.  
John Galsworthy

Unrest of the spirit is a mark of life; one problem after another presents itself and in the solving of them we can find our greatest pleasure.
Karl A. Menninger

Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all.
Charles Babbage

When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves.
Anthony J. D'Angelo

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Calvin Coolidge

The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it.
Alan Saporta

A problem is merely an opportunity you didn't think you wanted.
Ron Bridges

The problem is not that there are problems.  The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.
Theodore Rubin

It would be naive to think that the problems plaguing mankind today can be solved with means and methods which were applied or seemed to work in the past...
Mikhail Gorbachev

The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.
Albert Einstein

Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.
Rene Descartes

Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man.  No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.
John F. Kennedy

Here's a whole set of "rules" about problem solving: Problem Solving Rules.
Peter Gluck

Not necessarily relevant, but I like them

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.
James Magary

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem.  It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
Albert Einstein

I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
Richard Feynman

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.
Henry Cate VII

The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.
B. F. Skinner

The problem with the gene pool is that there is no life guard.
C. Lindahl

Half the problems of the human race are due to their lack of business knowledge — knowledge of what is their business and what is none of their business.


Solving Problems PermanentlySM
tel. 408-929-3622

Privacy Policy

Copyright 2010.  The Sawyer Partnership.  All rights reserved.
Jeanne Sawyer, Ph.D.