Quotes of a lifetime

By far the best obit of John Kenneth Galbraith, IMHO, was the Economist‘s.

Bons mots … seemed to come naturally to him. “Economists are economical, among other things, of ideas; most make those of their graduate days last a lifetime.” “Wealth is not without its advantages, and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive.” As Kennedy’s ambassador to India, Mr Galbraith preferred to write to the president direct: sending letters through the State Department, he told Kennedy, was “like fornicating through a mattress”….

The piece also reminds one that Galbraith’s effortless style was the product of a good deal of work.

Mr Galbraith strove to perfect his prose, reworking each passage at least five times. “It was usually on about the fourth day that I put in that note of spontaneity for which I am known,” he once admitted.

As Sam Johnson said, “nothing that is read with pleasure was written without pain”.