Herb Kelleher on motorcycle
Unique quotes from Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, range from themes like respect and trust to inspiration and love.

Herb Kelleher — the industry revolutionizing, straight talking, Wild Turkey swilling founder of Southwest Airlines — is famous for creating his business plan on the back of a cocktail napkin and transforming the airline from three jets into the country’s largest low-fare carrier, with over 40 straight years of profitability to boot.

Along the way, he has learned a thing or two about leadership and life. Here are 8 of our favorite Kelleher quotes:

  1. “Power should be reserved for weightlifting and boats, and leadership really involves responsibility.”
  2. “A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.”
  3. “We will hire someone with less experience, less education, and less expertise, than someone who has more of those things and has a rotten attitude. Because we can train people. We can teach people how to lead. We can teach people how to provide customer service. But we can’t change their DNA.”
  4. “You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn’t going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You’re going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people.”
  5. “I forgive all personal weaknesses except egomania and pretension.”
  6. “One piece of advice that always stuck in my mind is that people should be respected and trusted as people, not because of their position or title.”
  7. “It is my practice to try to understand how valuable something is by trying to imagine myself without it.”
  8. “I’ve found that many of the greatest ideas surface in bars because that’s where many people cultivate inspiration.”

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