Like a little fun in your business day?


Book cover image of 101 Best Business Quips

Book cover image of 102 Best Business Quips

In the belief that the greatest wisdom comes wrapped in a little humor & delight, we offer to the hard working community BartsBooks Business Quips. These weekly witticisms poke a little wry and revealing fun at everything from cherished misconceptions to bluderfully bizarre marketing trends.

Our Business Quipsmeister Bart pronounces such gems as:

“Marketing is the art of pinning pears to an apple tree and selling them as exotic.” Then he follows it up with a wry and revealing Afterthought which affords the reader/listener a little takeaway tool to ponder. Sound like fun?  For a free subscription email

For those who believe that the greatest wisdom flies in most agreeably on the wings of laughter, we weekly offer the utensil of a scriptural reading from 101 Best Business Quips and 102 Best Business Quips. A few of our latest favorites include:


A Title’s Worth a Tittle – Rank is the refuge of the incompetent manager.

Afterthought:  Giving a man the title of manager, alas, does not make him so.  Likewise, not having an executive title in no way prevents you from taking the lead and guiding your team toward a consensually long sought goal.  Why wait for official approvals – leadership may push from the bottom just as well as draw from the top.

The Lumpy Playing Field – Marketing data – without the injection of common & human sense – tells us that the key to success is smaller quantities sold in larger packages.

Afterthought: Your niche is unique – at least it had better be. So, will what makes one competitor’s product absolutely flourish in the market place today work equally well for you tomorrow? Well now, my budding entrepreneur, what does your common sense tell you?

Dancing on the edge – Private investing equity investing is currently so popular because it provides the maximum anxiety plus a chance to loose your shirt unseen.

Afterthought: There lies a true thrill in riding a new or growing enterprise right out of the starting gate.  Yet with this venturing comes some very sharp, knife-edge risks.  So perhaps the question you should be answering honestly is, “is this really for me?”

The Cost of Innovation – I’ve just returned from the innovation conference where I spent $1100, three days of my life, and probably a third of my liver, and all I got out of it was that I’d better invent something new.

Afterthought:  Sometimes it does indeed take a lavish and costly conference to shake us from our complacency.  And sometimes one person’s spark may contagiously set a new idea flaming in our own minds.  But if you are not establishing a system of encouragement to have every member of your firm actively seek enhancements, ‘tis but a flash in the pan.

The Mask of Numbers – Marketing analytics is the fine art of reducing customers to numbers in hopes of gaining their personal loyalty.

Afterthought: Obviously, measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts is vital, and frequently demands masses of numeric data.  However, the trick, throughout all the numbers crunching, is to remember that each little cipher represents a living, breathing, emotional individual with  hopes and dreams that need satisfying – a lot like you.

Charging Over the Cliff – Our CEO is a champion at getting others to follow him.  Now, if he could only figure out where he is leading us…..

Afterthought:  The old rule of leadership still holds: you must first lead yourself before leading others.  Additionally, there is a basic human attraction toward visibly directed people.  Knowing absolutely where you are headed holds motivational advantage all its own.

Non-extraditional Tax Breaks – Our tax accountant has urgently suggested we consider going global – preferably before April 15.

Afterthought:  Sometimes the value of a proposal depends as much on its source as its details.  If your CFO advises you to go global, it’s probably time to grow.  But if your tax accountant makes the same suggestion, while she is packing her own bags, ‘tis time to get out of town.   Hint: before you leap from one legal frying pan, you may want to check the temperature of the laws in your new landing place.

A Committee of Camels – The only thing more bewildering than our board’s final directives are the individual opinions that go into making them up.

Afterthought: The camel, for all its seeming awkwardness, provided the swiftest method of long-distance land travel until the advent of the steam engine.  And for all the seeming awkwardness of the committee-decision process, it can produce true marvels beyond the product of any lone genius.  Look for such marvels if the group is team-spirited, and goal-directed enough to build one idea off of another.  But if the group meets in a combative arena of my idea vs. yours, look for a bewildering, five-legged giant sloth.

What’s Under the Rug? – Every corporate policy springs from two motivations: the one that makes the company look good, and the one that makes the company profits.

Afterthought:  It’s interesting that the more rapaciously destructive the company, the more money and effort it seems to spend on appearing humane and concerned.  Obviously, it’s vital for a firm to garner profits, and at least appear to be a good community neighbor.  But just maybe actually being a good, caring neighbor might involve less sweat and cost than keeping up a false façade.

Passion be Darned – The trouble with “following your passion” as career advice, is that even a heavenly job entails some truly hellish labor and snarls.

Afterthought:  Of course you’d like to love what you do.  I’d like peace in the Middle East and a doubled salary.  But enough of wishing.  Instead of hemming your choice into one field, why not explore beyond today’s whim?  Scrutinize a long list of opportunities, see which require capabilities you may grow into possessing, and offer some excitement.   And remember, every touchdown pass tossed by an NFL quarterback, is built upon countless hours sweating in the gym and untold thousands of boring pushups.

All Recipes Aside – To say that the entire art of business leadership may be mastered with five steps or six simple sigmas is like stating that all it takes to make a world-competitive Cabernet is squished grapes and time.

Afterthought:  Excellence in business or anything else worthwhile demands more than a recipe.  Such over-simplified, cookie-cutter formulae enrich only their authors.  So yes, study the books, tease out those applicable elements of experience, and then add them to your arsenal of weapons, along with those already provided by your own marvelous self.

A Virtual Sale – Social media marketing allows you to know what your client desires for breakfast, in a soul mate, and on a mattress without ever knowing their name.

Afterthought: Marketing by remote statistical groupings can be unavoidable and very effective.  However, the wise executive seeking ongoing success visits, travels, throws parties, and does whatever it takes to greet, look clients in the eye and chat.  Those who remain dependent on data from the flickering screen alone will soon find that all their sales turn virtual.

Careful What You Wish For – The gentleman who gasses up our CEO’s Lamborghini works 12 hours a day, and envies our CEO who puts in 16-hour days, and sleeps peacefully only two.

Afterthought: Be careful what you wish for.  The life of leadership is an exhilarating potion for certain individuals in certain situations.  For others such a position is only a grindstone worn heavily about the neck.

Auto Anger – The frustration generated by one 14-automobile line of commuters waiting for a single red light to change could power the surrounding town’s streetlights for a week.

Afterthought:  ‘Tis a century-old truth: green is serene, and red is #$&%@.  You can try isometrics exercise, Zen meditations, or a violent release of vitriolic curses at the idiot ahead of you to cure the travail of modern travel.  But if you are a really clever entrepreneur, maybe you are that special genius capable of transforming teeth-clenching Auto Anger into profitable electricity.

The Warm Glare of Truth – Resumes are sales brochures that shine a dim light in the direction of the truth, but are careful not to illumine it too fully.

Afterthought: The toughest words most of us ever compose are those set painstakingly into place in hopes of convincing some employer that we are the worthiest soul for the job.  Perhaps rather than trying to dress up a series of near-victories, you might try pausing your pen, considering the real triumphs of all facets of your life – those accomplishments that have pleased you most.  Set those down.  The employer who appreciates them is one worthy of having you on her team.

Words Will Not Suffice – A Networking Event is where you go to make connections for wildly profitable dream ventures you are far too busy to ever follow up on.

Afterthought: Of course they are fun, friendly, filial, and perhaps the most effective way to catch up the news in your field of endeavor.  That said, networking gigs are best approached with a momentary reality check made at the threshold.  How many new deals and partnerings can your already-top-heavy schedule afford?  If you cannot put your whole back into a project, maybe its best not push at all.

Herding Businessfolks – A business person is a bundle of whimsical, conflicting agendas wrapped in a fragile skin.  A corporation is a collection of such bundles wrapped within the myth of unified direction.  That’s what makes working so messy and such fun.

Afterthought: Teasing out the interests and inner drives of team members demands the peak of personal insight.  It’s surely not easy. But even a pond full of writhing salmon will, with the right motivation, all herd together, buck the upstream currents, and win through to their goal.

The Voice of Inexperience – ‘Tis puzzling that most of the advice on leading others comes from people who don’t.

Afterthought:  Like an abstinent priest advising newlyweds, experience is not the sole necessary ingredient in passing on workable wisdom.  When it comes to leadership training, there is no art so individually cultivated.  So gather examples and tactics from all corners, just remember that they must blend well with that marvelous essence that is you.

Golf & Business – Business is the perfect accompaniment to golf.  It allows you to walk through 18 frustrating holes and still accomplish something.

Afterthought:  Life needs balance.  Blend something at which you are particularly good (business) with something at which nobody is ever good enough.  Likewise, you don’t blend rock climbing with business because both are inordinately scary.  See?  Balance.

Bosses are like your children – both require ceaseless care and neither ever lets you finish a sentence. 

Afterthought:  It is a lot less important to get in the last word, if your first words have initially disarmed the troublesome individual.  With your boss, try a complimentary greeting or perhaps a quick query about that report he’s anxious for – or use one of those incisive remarks your mother used to employ to set you back on your pins.

The Whole Elephant – Businesses are best run by leaders who can receive each blind man’s report and accurately envision a full elephant.

Afterthought:  The parable about the blind men and the elephant holds more truth than ever.  Our companies are filled with very expert specialists who examine the elephant’s tail, his trunk, his tusk and from their narrowed vantage believe that the whole product must revolve around only the segment they personally have their hands on.  A good leader has the vision to see the whole, and pass that vision on to his valuable specialists.

Tech Favors the Brave – Technology provides brave folks the tools for living a richer life, and allows the fearful people a virtual way to escape into a pretend adventure.

Afterthought: As always, it is the content of your character, not the tool, that lifts you to the top.  Perhaps today might be the day to spend some time adjusting your own attitudes and let the computer chips fall where they may.

The Ultimate Pitch – Just because a man is very good at selling himself – doesn’t always mean he has the best product.

Afterthought: If you really want to make folks appreciate how marvelous you really are, tell them how much fun you had creating your latest achievement, rather than telling them how great it is.  And if you didn’t have fun doing it, for heavens sake get out of that line of work and find something that pleases you enormously.

The Well Laid Course – In American business, innovation has become a competitive sport.  We care more if it’s utterly new than if it works.

Afterthought: It’s fine to admire the lofty visionary, just so long as you also credit the navigator who deftly steers that grand course around the rocks lying beneath the surface.

The Brag Balloon -The trouble with self-promotion is that it only works when someone else does it for you.

Afterthought: No sound grates harsher than that of someone reciting the patter of his own little feats.  Te far better bet is to offer your efforts in a way that benefits another and let the surprised recipient o your gift be inspired to give you credit.

My Mental Worth – If I could only get a paycheck that reflects my occupational self-esteem, I could buy half the planet.The Swamp of Regulations  – All government protective regulations are wise, sensible and required – except those that regulate MY industry and its products.

Afterthought: Here’s hoping you actually do think the world of yourself.  You need that esteem to face the slings and arrows of this life.  Yet viewing your achievements in light of benefits to your coworkers and company may afford a more realistic perspective.

The Swamp of Regulations  – All government protective regulations are wise, sensible and required – except those that regulate MY industry and its products.

Afterthought.  All of us are eager to be protected from theft, fraud, inadequate or unsafe products.  And there is no doubt that when the government gets in the business of helping the buyer be more wary that many of the regulations pinch hard even on the honest, high-quality firms.  It is the price all of us must pay for building a national reputation of trustworthy goods from trustworthy companies.  Yet in the end, it is that very trusted reputation that keeps customers coming back.

Oh, Don’t Forget the Work – We’ve just hired the Deluxe Model Marketing Director.  He comes not only with the standard “innovative” ideas, but with the energy and drive to carry them out.

Afterthought:  A professional is one who has, presumably, the ability to expertly profess wise words on some topic.  The term “executive” indicates that its bearer actually executes those ideas (whatever their source) that will bring more cash into the business.  ‘Tis best to be both a professional and an executive.

Generational Traumas – “Our millennial workers hold amazingly high opinions of themselves, but each is too terrified to express any solid opinion about our company’s work.  Unfortunately, our boomers are the exact opposite.” – Exasperated CEO

Afterthought: ‘Tis tough to be part of a generation so hoveringly instructed that decisions and opinions were all spoon-fed.  It’s also tough to be part of a generation that urged you to speak up constantly or not be counted.  Isn’t it time to shake off your upbringing traumas and plunge into the fun of business?

The Art of Relating – My Boss despises me.  I loathe him – and told him so. He fired me.  My monthly income dropped to $0.  It’s true.  Business is all about relationships.

Afterthought: The key to relationships is not how you feel. But how you treat the other person.  Enough said.

Generational Traumas – “Our millennial workers hold amazingly high opinions of themselves, but each is too terrified to express any solid opinion about our company’s work.  Unfortunately, our boomers are the exact opposite.” – Exasperated CEO

Afterthought: ‘Tis tough to be part of a generation so hoveringly instructed that decisions and opinions were all spoon-fed.  It’s also tough to be part of a generation that urged you to speak up constantly or not be counted.  Isn’t it time to shake off your upbringing traumas and plunge into the fun of business?


License to Coast – Our firm’s gotten so big we don’t make products anymore.  We just make buyouts and brand labels.

Afterthought: The popular M&A trend of “retreating to core mission” has proved, for large corporations, to be less of a retreat and more of a frenzied gobble of every similar company in sight.  While such strategies can offer fast profits all around, allow us to remind buyers of the lessons from history concerning firms that grew too huge to provide proper oversight.


The British are Leaving! – Britain’s cutting ties with the European Union is like the man who burns down his own house so his divorcing wife will not get shared custody.

Afterthought: Within every contract or deal lies the potential for the other party to get a seemingly larger share than you’re getting. Such balances tipped in the other guy’s favor are annoying, particularly if you never liked the other guy.  But that’s not a deal-breaking issue.  The only real deal make/break question is, would your team be richer or poorer if you didn’t have this contract in place?


Fictions vs. Fact – Individual stars are fictions created by the press.  Victories are a fact created by long hours of compromising and coordinating as a team.

Afterthought:  Gather together a bunch of bull-headed experts each of whom is more concerned with getting his own way than with the group’s final product, and you will have one loosing team or one truly off-key orchestra.  Can you see merit in the ideas of another?

The MBA Elite(?) – This year a record 104,000 MBA’s will be conferred in America, leaving the largest employment gap ever between expected job placement and actual job placement ever in hiring history.

Afterthought: Education is designed to make you a richer person, not a richer pay paycheck. However, the right education will fill your quiver with high-level ammunition when it comes to proving yourself as a valuable asset. So keep the tools sharp, cultivate the attitude, and remember, it’s not where you start, it’s how much you contribute that will set your career on a Horatio Alger rise.

Foot in the door – The entry-level position presumes that you will rise higher because that foot which got you into the door is not your most valuable asset.

Afterthought: Having your feet carry you to the office on time every day on time is a fine thing. Doing well all the assigned tasks is also nice. And if these are your primary workplace attributes, you should be able to hold down that same entry level job for years.

Damn the Torpedoes….The American Founding Fathers were able to win the Revolution because they forgot to assign anybody to Risk Assessment.

Afterthought: No, you can never really know which battles you can win. Sometimes you best hope lies in a little intentional blindness. Can some rag tag, volunteer colonial rabble defeat the major military power in Europe? Can your small startup topple the mighty Microsoft? Well now, Microsoft hasn’t had a customer-beloved product in over a decade. Maybe…just maybe it might be worth a try….

Perish the Thought – “They just raised my pay to meet the new minimum wage. Does this mean I’ll now have to perform some level of minimum wage” – befuddled employee

Afterthought: Pay and performance hold, at best, a coincidental relationship. For some employees, enthusiastic performance springs from merely finding the right challenge. For others, it would take a divine miracle.

Disaster: Truth vs. Attorney – Every crushing business disaster holds one glimmer of redemption: the outcome is never as bad as that envisioned by your nightmares, your friends, or your attorney.

Afterthought: Take heart. Reality seems seldom able to produce disasters as hideous as the mind can conjure. So, as a bit of after disaster planning, forget weeping over charred assets, and count your remaining tools. What can you make from these?

Fictions vs. Fact – Individual stars are fictions created by the press. Victories are a fact created by long hours of compromising and coordinating as a team.

Afterthought: Gather together a bunch of bull-headed experts each of whom is more concerned with getting his own way than with the group’s final product, and you will have one loosing team or one truly off-key orchestra. Can you see merit in the ideas of another?

Fondling Your Hopes – A job interview is a process whereby you place your utmost hopes in the hands of another, allow them to fondle & examine them, and see how long you can go without squirming.

Afterthought: The wise candidate never approaches an interview as a beggar. He never seeks a job, but rather, he is always offering his services. Like an evangelist who offers good news that will make the listener stronger & richer, the wise candidate is sharing the opportunity for great potential with an employer clever enough to seize upon this advantageous individual as a windfall.

Polishing Your Brilliance – I think the reason so many people keep asking me to write my ideas down is so that will not be bothered with having to listen to them.

Afterthought: Take a sparkling diamond of an idea, slather it over with dull grey verbiage and no one will recognize it as a true gem. So perhaps, instead of letting your excitement gush forth a river of sentences explaining your latest brainstorm, you could pause, distill, and frame your idea in words worthy of it. Hint: also remember what motivates your listening audience.

Quivering C-Suite – For most corporations, a “Leader” is someone who can get others to do uncomplainingly what the CEO has in mind.

Afterthought: Are you, Mr. Supervisor, scared of real leaders? Once you have your heart set on scaling that wall, do you call on managers to make sure that all the ladders are in place for the assault – or are you brave enough to let a leader explore his own way and find a back-door route into town involving less cost and effort? A leader chained to your personal compliance can be, of course, no leader at all.

Cash Flow & Weather – When the clouds grow dark, it’s a bad sign for the poor. When the sun begins to shine, ’tis a good omen for the rich.

Afterthought: If there is any advantage to having limited funds, it is that you learn to make the very best use of each asset you hold – to cling to it and cultivate it. Developing this golden coin of character will help you weather the toughest of situations.

Want a little more laughter in your worklife?

  • Visit – click on the little blue mailbox and receive a new quip every week via e-mail.
  • While you on the site, click on the Bookstore and pick up a copy of Bart’s 101 and 102 Best Business Quips

You Tickle Us
Heard a good quip you’d like to see published in your name? Send your witticism and afterthought to