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 from March 01, 2017
“No rules for success will work if you don’t”

"No rules for success will work if you don’t” is a saying that has been printed on many images. Authorship is uncertain.

“Be honest and polite are two mighty good rules for success. But no rule for success will work if you don’t” was printed in an August 1937 newspaper column by O. C. Miller. “No rules for your achieving success will work if you won’t” was printed in a September 1937 newspaper column by Olin Miller.

Olin Miller (1894-1981) wrote for a newspaper in Thomaston, Georgia. His syndicated daily feature entitled “Dixie Dewdrops” appeared in many other newspapers, and his lines were frequently quoted by others. It’s likely that Miller first came up with the saying.


11 August 1937, McComb (MS) Daily Journal, “Journalettes” by O. C. Miller,, pg. 1, col. 1:
Be honest and polite are two mighty good rules for success.
But no rule for success will work if you don’t.

10 September 1937, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, “Olin Miller’s Comment,” pg. 4, col. 2:
No rules for your achieving success will work if you won’t.

11 January 1938, Brownsville (TX) Herald, pg. 4, col. 2:
No rules for your achieving success will work if you won’t.

Google Books
The Progressive Grocer
Volume 20, Parts 1-6
1941
Pg. 68:
Grandpa Wize says no rule for success will work if you won’t!

30 April 1953, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Ching Chow” (comic strip), pg. 27, col. 5:
NO RULE FOR SUCCESS WILL WORK IF YOU DON’T.

28 July 1961, Marysville (OH)( Journal-Tribune, pg. 8, col. 6:
For success, try aspiration, inspiration and perspiration.
No rule of success will work if you don’t.

23 March 1980, Atlanta (GA) Daily World, “Savannah State Alumni Salutes Barbara Morley,” pg. 7, col. 3:
Recognizing that “no rule of success will work if you don’t,” President Mobley has worked with “tiger” spirit to lead the chapter to a period of active civic involvement.

Google Books
The New Official Rules:
Maxims for muddling through to the twenty-first century

By Paul Dickson
Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.
1989
Pg. 127:
Leterman’s Laws: (1) No rule for success will work if you don’t. (2) A man should work eight hours and sleep eight hours, but not the same eight hours. — Elmer G. Leterman, quoted in Forbes, May 20, 1985, and June 21, 1982

22 October 2000, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, “Achievement Gap Troubles Educators” by Rick Pierce, pg, B1:
She races into the second floor music room, past the poster on the wall: “No rule for success will work if you don’t.”

Google Books
Highly Tweetable:
5000+ Awesome Quotes to Use on Twitter and Social Media

By Devin Metzger
Pronoun
2016
Pg. ?:
No rules for success will work if you don’t. -Unknown Author

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Wednesday, March 01, 2017 • Permalink