- Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
Benenson: motto of the American Christopher Society, founded 1945; see
- Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.
A Certain World (1970) 1906–75 American political philosopher: W. H. Auden
- But men must know, that in this theatre of man's life it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on.
The Advancement of Learning (1605) bk. 2, ch. 20, sect. 8 1561–1626 English lawyer, courtier, philosopher, and essayist:
- Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.
The Power of Vision (1991 video) American futurist:
- Let's roll.
heard by telephone operator as Beamer and other passengers were planning to storm the cockpit of the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on 11 September 2001; the plane crashed in Pennsylvania minutes later
Washington Post 17 September 2001 1968–2001 American businessman: in
- Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
Anonymous, Stevenson) 1921–2005 British founder of Amnesty International: at a Human Rights Day ceremony, 10 December 1961 (see also
- The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation…The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.
The Ascent of Man (1973) ch. 3 1908–74 Polish-born mathematician and humanist:
- It is vain to say that human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.
Jane Eyre (1847) ch. 12 1816–55 English novelist:
- Action this day. 1874–1965 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940–5, 1951–5: annotation as used at the Admiralty in 1940
- Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions.
Nostromo (1904) pt. 1, ch. 6 1857–1924 Polish-born English novelist:
- You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!
Amery 1599–1658 English soldier and statesman; Lord Protector from 1653: addressing the Rump Parliament, 20 April 1653; oral tradition; see
- One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
Reader's Digest November 1972; Paul Dickson The Official Rules (1980) 1855–1981 American historian: in
- These works brought all these people here. Something should be done to get them at work again.
speaking at the derelict Dowlais Iron and Steel Works, 18 November 1936; often misquoted as, ‘Something must be done’
Western Mail 19 November 1936 1894–1972 British monarch, King of the United Kingdom, 1936: in
- Nothing so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. 1842–1910 American philosopher: letter to Carl Stumpf, 1 January 1886
- Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.
Leonardo da Vinci's Notebooks (1906) bk. 1 1452–1519 Italian painter and designer: Edward McCurdy (ed. and trans.)
- Let's go to work. 1992 film: spoken by Lawrence Tierney; written by Quentin Tarantino (1963–)
- If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly.
Macbeth (1606) act 1, sc. 7, l. 1 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.) 1564–1616 English dramatist:
- The greatest happiness is to transform one's feelings into action.
Considerations on the French Revolution (1818) pt. 4, ch. 10 1766–1817 French writer: