Back-handed Sayings





How-To (not)





Larry Hagman’s death on Friday, November 23, 2012, propelled the nation to reflect on his role as one of the most famous television characters of all time – J.R. Ewing. Hagman successfully had transformed himself from the lovable Tony Nelson of “I Dream of Jeannie” to the ruthless, immoral and unethical leader of the Ewing Oil Company on “Dallas”.


While we may reflect on someone’s life at the time of their death, often their legacy deserves to inspire us for years to come. Such is the wit and wisdom of Detroit is great business leaders such as Henry Ford and S. S. Kresge.


The same is true about J. R. Ewing. His quotes have a timelessness about them that can provide insight for any business leader. As we look at his quotes we must lump them into two categories: “back-handed wisdom” and “straight wisdom”. “


Back-handed wisdom” are quotes that need to be taken with an understanding that Ewing was actually a ruthless businessperson. He was successful because of oil and dirty dealing that the character’s writers protected from the justice a regular businessperson would have experienced. Therefore, consider these through that paradigm.


The courts are for amateurs and the faint of heart. No, this is personal.


Once you lose your integrity, the rest is easy


There are a few things that J.R. Ewing can not afford, but patience is one of them


A conscience is like a boat or a car. If you feel you need one, rent it.


Never tell the truth when a good lie will do!


Blood may be thicker than water, but oil is thicker than both.


“Straight wisdom” is just that. They can be taken at face value. Never pass up a good chance to shut up.


You're going ninety miles an hour toward a nervous breakdown.


Anything worth having is worth going for-all the way.


So, you just remember who you're working for, keep a civil tongue in your head, and try to answer my questions with a bit of civility.


Like my daddy always said: if you ca not get in the front door, just go around to the back."


Contracts were made to be broken, honey, but a handshake is the law of God.


Always keep your friends close, but your enemies closer!


I never forget those who do me a favor, and I never forget those who do not!


You cannot cross a bridge until it is built!


Revenge is the single most satisfying feeling in the world!