Dr. Seuss Taught Me How to Succeed in Business


December 20, 2010

*Sharing a post from yesteryear….

Theodor Seuss Geisel“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

That is one of my favorite quotes of all time and it’s from Dr. Seuss, well, at least most people attribute it to him.  There is often debate around great sayings.  The important thing for me is the message.  It helps me remember that there will always be people who respect me for who I am.  They are not going to try to mold me into their vision of who I should be.  And, when you’re respected, you will be far more likely to be a success in life.

That is a good lesson to learn.  And, although Dr. Seuss may or may not have said that statement, there are many other gems weknow he wrote that apply interesting well in the business world.  If we can simplify our thinking once in awhile, we would see that life’s lessons are often more common sense and less conquer-the-world statements. According to Dr. Seuss, “sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”  Here are a few quotes I like and how I interpret them in business:

Learning & Development

‘The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” This comes to us from the story ‘I Can Read With My Eyes Shut‘ from 1978.  I always liked this book and the overall message.  This quote confirms that we need to keep reading and learning so that opportunities come our way.  If we remain stagnant in our career, in our relationships, in our communities, we will not “go” anywhere.  I don’t know about you, but I am a firm believer in reading, learning, and growing.


There are a ton of books by Dr. Seuss that teach children (and adults) to be more tolerant of people who are different. Most of his characters were made-up beings who interacted with humans.  These beings taught the humans many things.  I love this quote from ‘Horton Hears A Who’.

“Don’t give up! I believe in you all.  A person’s a person, no matter how small!  And you very small persons will not have to die if you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and TRY!”

So, whether we’re small or tall, black, white, or green, we’re all important.  We all have special talents.  We all have to try to make our voice heard.


“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.” This quote is found in ‘The Lorax‘ which was written in 1971.  Definitely a great book and made-for-tv cartoon that teaches us about treating the environment well and not being wasteful.  I also love the message here that you cannot just rely on others to change things.  If you want something to be better, YOU have to get involved and make it better.

Work/Life Balance

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” This one comes from ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!‘ from 1990.

I don’t know if Dr. Seuss had work/life balance in mind when he wrote this book but I get the message loud and clear from this quote.  The story is one of encouragement for people on the path of life.  I think it is also important to note that care and tact are needed for success.  It’s easy to get fired up and expect success to come quickly.  Sometimes it does.  But, more often than not, it takes time and a great deal of diligence to move mountains.  The important thing it IS possible to move a mountain.

What are your favorite Dr. Seuss books or quotes?  Share one with me in the comments….


  • I really loved The Lorax of all the ones you mentioned. But I always was kind of indifferent about Horton Hears a Who, and the Whos in general. I sort of think they deserved to have their Christmas stolen from them.

  • My favourite TV special was “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”!!! I have the Grinch sound track on CD and play it in my car, even in the midst of July!!! I love the song “Trim Up the Tree”, as well as the Grinch theme song.

    Yes, there were lessons to be learnt; however, these books never came across as preachy. The words that were invented, such as who boo blicks and snafflers made certain of that!!!!

    While I have no quotes, I credit Dr. Suess with making me able to read at a very young age.

  • One of Dr. Seuss’ gifts was that adults and children could enjoy his work for very different reasons. Your examples reinforce how important it is to not just “wish” for things to get better; but that we need to take “action” to achieve results. Whether its work/life balance or achieving our goals, we have to do something to make it happen.

  • Trish: I agree and then some. Dr. Suess teaches success in life. While he wrote “To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street” in his early 30s, he didn’t fully engage in writing children’s books until he was in his mid-40s. If that’s not inspiration for mid-lifers, I don’t know what is. And, he kept working up until death. One of his last writings — used in his own obituary at age 87 — shed light on a life well lived:
    “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
    Talk about loving your job to death. Really. For the record, he published three books after he died. Now that’s working overtime.

    • @Dick- Thank you for adding this comment. I love that I learned more about Dr. Seuss. I had no idea about his OT work and that quote you shared….brought tears to my eyes. What a great life lived!

  • Dr. Seuss was a genius, great post Trish. I just watched Horton Hears a Who with the 3 year old and was reminded what a great story it is.

    • @Joe- The great thing about being a parent is we get to re-read all those Dr. Seuss tales and see the movies. Such fun!

  • Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is a wonderful book for new grads, those with new jobs, and really just about anyone. Dr. Seuss was a genius (Joe said it first), and his wisdom applies universally.

    I just recorded the Dr. Seuss cartoons The Lorax, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and Horton Hears a Who (for myself) and watch them any time I need a little pick-me-up.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Kirk Baumann

    • @Kirk- Thanks for joining the conversation. The Lorax is my favorite and I received Oh the Places You’ll Go when I graduated. I also got a similar version of that book when I had my twins. Hope your Christmas was wonderful and Happy New Year!

  • “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own.

    And you know what you know.

    You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” -This is just one of my favorite Dr.Seuss quotes.

    Btw, I agree and like your take in the Work/Life Balance area. This is a great post Trish!

    Happy Holidays!

    -Jane =)

    • @Jane- Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment Jane. I appreciate it. Happy New Year!

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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