Great Quotes, Volume 4: The Surprising Four-Letter Word That Nell Minow Really, Really Hates

By Motley Fool

In this segment of theRule Breaker Investingpodcast, David Gardner switches from the 18th century to the 21st, featuring a quote from the last Fool Fest by a writer and critic once dubbed "the queen of good corporate governance."

A transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Aug. 17, 2016.

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David Gardner: Quote No. 3. Talking about true and wise, we're going to go right through to 2016, and I absolutely love this one. This comes from Fool Fest, which is our annual gathering of Motley Fool members for our high-end services. It occurs every year in Alexandria, and earlier this year, we had Nell Minow as one of our guest stars at Fool Fest this year. She's had a long career in corporate governance. Being a watchdog. Looking for good corporate boards. She's very good at finding bad corporate boards and behavior. On a side gig, she's also a movie reviewer, and a very good one at that.

Nell Minow, at the end of her interview with Chris Hill this year -- I've got the written transcript and am going to share it with you -- said something that I think is awesome and therefore merits inclusion in Great Quotes, Vol. 4. And before I share it with you, I'm going to say right away, guilty as charged. I recognize in my own behavior it's about to be inveighed against by what I'm sharing with you, but ever since hearing her say what I'm about to share with you, I have changed my ways here. Maybe she's about to change yours right now.

She said, and I quote: "I wrote not one, but two articles for The Huffington Post about my advice to graduates, so you can look that up. But my most important piece of advice," she said, "is never, ever, ever, ever, ever," I'm quoting here, "ever use the word 'busy.' That's one four-letter word that I would never use."

"And the reason for that," she goes on, "is that people use that word as an excuse, and it's a genuine insult to whomever you're talking to. It pushes them away, instead of bringing them in, and it also makes it impossible for you to think honestly to yourself about what your own priorities and choices are."

"So never," she closes, "never use that as an excuse. Never use that as a brag. It's very popular here in Washington. Just don't use that word, and you'll become much more in tune with what you're doing, and much more open to hearing from other people."

I'll leave it right there.

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