In 1993, four executives from a Florida rental car company were convicted and jailed for defrauding their customers. Using what con artists have long referred to as a “salami technique” (you slice off tiny pieces in hopes that no one will notice and that those little pieces will build up to a large amount of money over time), they cheated at least 47,000 customers over a four-year period. They had modified the computer billing software to overstate the size of the gas tanks on the cars.
A Michigan judge found himself in the news recently because of the violation of a courtroom rule—and what happened next. Judge Raymond Voet has long had a policy forbidding the use of electronic devices in the courtroom. Anyone whose phone rings aloud has it confiscated and receives a fine. Over the years, attorneys, police officers, witnesses, and spectators have broken the rule and received the punishment.
Things bought at garage sales don’t usually end up on the evening news, but a Chinese bowl bought by a New York family in 2007, became famous in April of 2013. The new owners paid just three dollars for what turned out to be a bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty that was more than one thousand years old. Until someone told them what they really had, the family had the bowl stuck on the mantle over their fireplace. When they placed the bowl with Sotheby’s Auction House for sale, it was estimated to go for approximately $200,000.
Henry Heinz, born in 1844, to German immigrants in Pittsburg, PA, helped support his family as a teenager by growing and selling vegetables in the family garden. After graduating from college and getting married, he started a business selling horse radish. In 1875, a national financial collapse drove the young company into bankruptcy. Despite the legal freedom bankruptcy gave him, Heinz regarded each of the company’s outstanding debts as a moral obligation and personally paid back every penny.
The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, rises more than 2,700 feet—over half a mile tall. It has 160 floors and is twice as tall as the Empire State Building in New York City. It is home to the world’s fastest elevator that travels at 40 miles per hour. The Burj Khalifa also hosts the world’s highest outdoor observation deck (on the 124th floor) and the world’s highest swimming pool (on the 76th floor).
As a schoolboy, I worked with my father during the summer months. Each morning we stopped to pick up the early edition of the newspaper at a small grocery store.
One morning when we got to work, my father found that by mistake he had taken two newspapers instead of one. He first thought of paying the man the extra price the next morning, but then after a moment’s consideration he said, “I had better go back with this paper. I don’t want the man at the store to think I’m dishonest.” He got in his car, drove back to the store, and returned the paper.
When an army officer asked President Lincoln if he could write an article defending the administration against attacks that were being made by the Committee on the Conduct of the War Lincoln replied: “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how —the very best I can, and I mean to keep doing so until the end.
In February of 2008, James Fantroy was convicted of stealing over $20,000 of government grants while he served as a City Council member in Dallas, Texas. Because Fantroy had kidney cancer and used a wheelchair, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade told him he could choose between serving a month in prison or publicly apologizing for his actions. Fantroy chose to serve a prison sentence rather than apologize.
Carl Geary died a month ago from a heart attack as he campaigned for the small country town. Despite his sudden death he still polled over three times as many votes as his rival in the election in Tracy City, Tennessee.
His widow, Susan Geary, was not surprised by the election results.
“The day he passed away, people were calling with condolences and saying, ‘We’re still voting for him,’” she said.
Geary was known for telling the truth and served on the city council. He received 285 votes to his rival’s 85.
“In order to be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence, the supreme quality of a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, on a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”—Dwight D. Eisenhower
Once the devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. “What did he find?” asked the cohort.
“A piece of the truth,” the devil replied.
“Doesn’t it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?” asked the cohort.
“No,” said the devil, “I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it.”
Truth taken out of context and twisted is the basis for many false religions.
You can fool the hapless public,
You can be a subtle fraud,
You can hide your little meanness,
But you can’t fool God!
You can advertise your virtues,
You can self-achievement laud,
You can load yourself with riches,
But you can’t fool God!
You can criticize the Bible,
You can be a selfish clod,
You can lie, swear, drink, and gamble,
But you can’t fool God!
You can magnify your talent,
You can hear the world applaud,
You can boast yourself somebody,
But you can’t fool God!
At one time Mr P.T. Barnum, head of the great Barnum & Bailey Circus, invited Charles Haddon Spurgeon of London to speak in the large tent at his traveling circus. He made every concession to make the offer attractive to Spurgeon. Barnum would provide the musical talent, unless Spurgeon wished to provide his own. He would provide any equipment or manpower Spurgeon desired. Spurgeon could speak as long or as short as he wished. There was only one basic stipulation! Barnum Circus Association would take the gate receipts and pay Spurgeon one thousand dollars per lecture.
Stephen Barnes was a proponent of conventional leadership thinking that challenges people to make mistakes as they stretch themselves to improve. Apparently Stephen's boss didn't share his views. The CEO stepped into Stephen's office and bluntly said, “It's all right to be wrong, Barnes, just as long as you don't do it on company time.”
Source: In Other Words
“The Great Wall of China is a gigantic structure which cost an immense amount of money and labor. When it was finished, it appeared impregnable. But the enemy breached it. Not by breaking it down or going around it. They did it by bribing the gatekeepers.”—Harry Emerson Fosdick