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 April 24, 2013
“Nothing works unless you do”

"Nothing works unless you do” (or, “Nothing will work unless you do") has been credited to sports coach John Wooden (1910-2010) and to poet Maya Angelou. “Nothing will work unless you do” appears to have been cited in print in the 1950s; “Nothing works unless you do” was cited in print in 1966.

It does not appear that Wooden or Angelou coined the saying.


Google Books
Music Clubs Magazine
Volume 29, Issues 4-5
1950
Pg. 29:
Mrs. Bateman urges all members to submit ideas for additional rating projects. “Nothing will work unless you do,” she writes.

8 February 1966, Sun-News, (Las Cruces, NM), “How’s Business?” by Frank A. Patterson, pg. 3, col. 2:
Remember: Nothing works unless you do!

21 May 1978, Farmington (NM) Daily Times, Family Weekly, pg. 24,, col. 2 ad:
THE COST OF FINANCIAL FREEDOM
It is said that nothing works unless you do.
(Financial Freedom Library—ed.)

Google Books
You Can Win!
By Roger F. Campbell
Wheaton, IL: Victor Books
1985
Pg. 25:
Nothing works unless you do.

31 January 1997, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “He’s always in your face” by Rick Gershman, Hernando Times, pg. 10:
“But that’s our whole philosophy - nothing works unless you do.”

16 December 1998, Toronto (Ontario) Star, “This voice of reason missing from NBA,” Sports, pg. 1:
He endorses the teaching of legendary college coach John Wooden: “Nothing will work unless you do.”

5 May 2007, Ithaca (NY) Journal, “Independent Living,” pg. B5:
John Wooden, the legendary and famous UCLA basketball coach once said, “ Nothing works unless you do.”

Google Books
Tweet this Book:
The 1,400 Greatest Quotes of All Time in 140 Characters Or Less

Edited by Sayre Van Young and Marin Van Young
Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press
2011
Pg. 101:
Nothing works unless you do.
Maya Angelou

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Wednesday, April 24, 2013 • Permalink