That’s Going in the Quote Book #61

Today’s quote is a silly one I heard in a beer commercial. No big story behind it. It just made me laugh.

It’s easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.

I’d never heard it before, but have many times in the years since, so I looked into it a bit more. Turn out that variations of it have been around for a long time.

It’s most commonly attributed to Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer programming and a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy. But I once read somewhere that the oldest version of the idea was found in a book from the mid 1800s.

It was kind of neat to be able to research the timeline of something, and pinpoint exactly when I joined in. And although I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing at first, I’ve done my part to keep the saying alive, as in the years since, often where I’ve heard it from is my own mouth. (I find it’s a great shorthand when having discussions about entitlement.)

Doesn’t make it any less silly, though.

To see previous posts in my Quotes series, click here.

2 Thoughts

  1. I heard that quote directly from Grace Hopper, at a commencement speech years ago. But she didn’t claim that she originated it, she just made it the theme of her talk. But she didn’t say “beg for forgiveness”. I think she phrased it “It’s easier to apologize than to get permission.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So cool! She seemed really interesting. From what I’ve found, the specific wording is highly varied. It’s more of a ‘gist’ thing. But everyone agrees that she’s the one who popularized it.

      Liked by 1 person

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