A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry forthcoming—B.P. (5/29)
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Entry from August 14, 2013
“Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky”

"Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky” has been frequently cited as an American proverb and infrequently cited as an African-American proverb. The saying means that an ambitious person reaches for the sky (the highest limits). He or she is so ambitious that a ladder is placed against the sky—that is, there is no caution and all risks are taken to achieve a goal.

“Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky” has been cited in print since at least 1991, when it was recorded from Wisconsin. The source of the proverb remains unknown.


Google Books
A Dictionary of American Proverbs
Edited by Wolfgang Mieder, Stewart A. Kingsbury and Kelsie B. Harder
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
1991
Pg. 38:
Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky. Rec. Dist.: Wis.

Google Books
8,789 Words of Wisdom
Edited by Barbara Ann Kipfer
New York, NY: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
2001
Pg. 147:
Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky.

Google Books
Chicken Soup for the Soul:
Empty Nesters: 101 Stories about Surviving and Thriving When the Kids Leave Home

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Carol McAdoo Rehme and Patricia Cena Evans
Cos Cob, CT: Chicken Soup for the Soul Pub.
2008
Pg. ?:
Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky. ~American Proverb

Twitter
Denise Gilreath
‏@Denise_Gilreath
Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky. ~ American Proverb
8:39 AM - 15 Oct 09

Ask.com
DavidO: 1 year ago
Ambition is like putting a ladder against the sky has been commonly used to mean that a person who is ambitious always works towards achieving what others are afraid of trying. An ambitious person will always want to reach beyond what is safe and supportive in to the unknown.

Sweet Manager
June 24, 2013
10 QUOTES about AMBITION
(...)
“Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky.” - American Proverb

Twitter
Proverbs‏
@ProverbParty
Ambition is putting a ladder against the sky. - #African American #Proverb
6:22 PM - 27 Jul 13

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Wednesday, August 14, 2013 • Permalink