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 August 04, 2012
“Some people are so busy learning the tricks of the trade that they never learn the trade”

"Some people are so busy learning the tricks of the trade that they never learn the trade” is a business aphorism that has been credited to American authors H. Jackson Brown, Jr., James Charlton and James Bennis (probably an error for Warren Bennis), but it’s likely that all three used the saying without originating it. “Instead of just learning the tricks of the trade, why not actually learn the trade?” has been cited in print since at least January 1949 and is of unknown authorship.


17 January 1949, The Courier-Crescent (Orrville, OH), pg. 1, col. 3:
Instead of just learning the tricks of the trade, why not actually learn the trade?

24 March 1949, Van Nuys (CA) News, “News-Graphs” by Walter Mendenhall, pg. 1, col. 1:
TRY SHORT CUT?
Some people are so busy learning the tricks of the trade that they never learn the trade.
-- HAWLEY L. EVERHART

Google Books
17 June 1950, The Billboard, pg. 58, col. 1 ad:
Instead of learning just the tricks of the trade, why not actually learn the trade.
(The Toledo Ticket Company—ed.)

Google News Archive
4 September 1953, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, Green Sheet, pg. 1 banner:
Some Are So Intent on Learning the Tricks of the Trade They Fail to Learn the Trade

4 December 1954, Rockford (IL) Register-Republic, “Today’s Chuckle,” pg. 1, col. 5:
Some people are so busy learning the tricks of the trade that they don’t learn the trade.

11 November 1955, Evening World-Herald (Omaha, NE), pg. 10, col. 4:
Too Many Tricks
A motto on the wall of an Omaha business man: “A lot of guys are so busy learning the tricks of the trade they forget to learn the trade.”
Glenn Trump

14 August 1960, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “How to be a winner: Star pitcher Vernon Law’s rules for success are as meaningful off the field as on,” This Week magazine, pg. 2, col. 1:
Some people are so busy learning the tricks of the trade that they never learn the trade.

Google Books
The Giant Book of Insults:
Incorporating 2000 insults for all occasions and 2000 more insults

By Louis A. Safian
Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press
1967
Pg. 69:
He was too busy learning the tricks of the trade to learn the trade.

Google Books
Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul:
101 stories of insight, inspiration and laughter from the world of sports

By Jack Canfield, et al.
Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications
2000
Pg. 100:
Don’t just learn the tricks of the trade. Learn the trade!
James Bennis

Quoteland.com
MidnightWhisper
Posted 09-29-02 01:08 AM
(...)
Don’t waste time learning the “tricks of the trade.” Instead, learn the trade. ~Attributed to both James Charlton and H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Google Books
The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book
By H. Jackson Brown
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble, Inc.
2009
Pg. ?:
48 Don’t waste time learning the “tricks of the trade.” Instead, learn the trade.

Google Books
The Greatest Quotations of All-Time
By Anthony St Peter
Xlibris Corporation
2010
Pg. 393:
Don’t just learn the tricks of the trade. Learn the trade. James Bennis

The Quote Garden
Job-Related Quotations
Don’t waste time learning the “tricks of the trade.” Instead, learn the trade.  ~Attributed to both James Charlton and H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • (0) Comments • Saturday, August 04, 2012 • Permalink