Is this an Arthur C. Clarke quote?

While looking through a website mentioned in another thread, I saw this quote attributed to Arthur C. Clarke: “It is always wise to cooperate with the inevitable. Better still, to exploit it!”. Not only can I not find a reference to him saying it, I can’t find a reference to anybody saying it. Help?

Sounds a lot more like something from Heinlein’s Friday.

Found this:

Mr. Carnegie’s advice for successful living might be summed up in two of his maxims: “Forget yourself; do things for others,” and “Cooperate with the inevitable.”

Maybe he took it from someone else or someone else took it from him.


[In the eighty or ninety years I have given to this subject, trying to trace out the meanderings of their twisty little minds, the only thing that I have learned for certain about women is that when a gal is gonna, she’s gonna. All a man can do is cooperate with the inevitable.

ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, Stranger in a Strange Land](

It may well have been from a personal letter, as the site you mention belongs to Wendy Carlos, who corresponded with Arthur C. Clarke for twenty years.

However, Clarke said this on the record at the first IFS seminar in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1982, as cited in Ben Bova’s “Star Peace”:"wise+to+cooperate+with+the+inevitable"&source=bl&ots=qZzooztSr2&sig=2YaGUSD1If7PHw0TBJIUhZF1yhg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=IVIAU-viJMSyyAGF2oD4Ag&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q="wise%20to%20cooperate%20with%20the%20inevitable"&f=false

Thank you for the info, and the link.

You’re quite welcome.

The admonition to “cooperate with the inevitable” was popularized by Dale Carnegie, published in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, 1948, but certainly used in his lectures long before that date, as it appears verbatim in a sermon summary in the Reading Eagle as early as 1942:,2113415

It becomes a common phrase for a while after that, showing up in several religious advertisements as well as in “Goren on Bridge”, of all places, on April 4, 1951, attributed to one “Old Mose”:,1792633

So Clarke was riffing on a phrase that would have been common knowledge to many of his contemporaries.

Posted in error

While we’re on the subject, how about “The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.”? Is that an Arthur C. Clarke quote?

Every reference I can find on the Internet traces to Tim Kreider (almost all to his 2012 New York Times essay, but also this from 2007). Can anyone find the source in Arthur C. Clarke?

Interesting how multiple people said the same (or similar) thing around the same general time period.

(I should clarify, for those who have not clicked through the links, that Tim Kreider claims it to be an Arthur C. Clarke quote, which is what spurs my curiosity)

[I should also actually provide the link to the [2012 New York Times essay](…]

Lady Hillingdon (whoever she was) wrote in her journal in 1912 that “When I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, open my legs and think of England.”

This has been paraphrased into - If it’s going to happen anyway, you may as well enjoy it. This is not quite what the honorable lady meant.

Los Angeles Free Press, p. 42-43, 47. April 25, 1969. Gene Youngblood interviewing Clarke about 2001:

Reprinted in The Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ed. Stephanie Schwamm. Random House, 2010.

If you’re referring to the Dale Carnegie quote about the inevitable, his influence on popular culture in the first half of the twentieth century cannot be overstated. Everybody from atheists to evangelicals to Japanese corporate managers drew on his lectures, books and seminars, with many claiming him for their own, and many of his aphorisms found their way into other authors’ work without attribution.

Apparently Carnegie was not particularly proprietary about his work, writing, in How to Develop Self Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking (Pocket Books, 1956):

The Yale Book of Quotations (Ed. Shapiro, 2006), p. 359, says this is likely apocryphal:

Owen Dudley Edwards suggests, in British Children’s Fiction in the Second World War, that this too is apocryphal:

Also attributed to Queen Victoria.

Of possible interest is an essay entitled “Of Parting Company” by “A.K.H.B.” that ran in Fraser’s Magazine in 1879. A.K.H.B. was the literary identity of Scottish clergyman the Very Rev. Andrew Kennedy Hutchison Boyd, 1825–1899, minister at St Andrews, who published extensive popular miscellany during the Victorian period and was considered one of the finest preachers of his time.

In this essay, A.K.H.B. (apparently being paid by the word, and living on a clergyman’s salary) goes on at length about every aspect of parting he can think of, stating, on p. 193, what may be a predecessor to the “lay back and think of England” line, and at any rate, covers the same general sense of resignation:

There’s also a corollary in “Letter to an Invalid”, published in The Sunday at Home, a “Family Magazine for Sabbath Reading,” published in 1882 by the Religious Tract Society, London:

I think it’s safe to say the notion of closing one’s eyes and thinking of a better place in times of adversity held great popular currency for the Victorian mind, and that writers of the next generation, in seeking to invoke a Victorian persona, would have found such sentiments an easy mark.

The reason some are associating the phrase with Heinlein might be the Lazarus Long maxim: “‘Cooperating with the inevitable’ means ‘roll with the punch’… it does not mean ‘stooling for the guards.’”

Heinlein is riffing on Carnegie as well.

Note the company in which Heinlein places Carnegie in his early story “By His Bootstraps” (Astounding Science Fiction, 1941, writing as Anson McDonald). Heinlein sends his protagonist back in time to retrieve certain essential reference materials. These include:

[li]The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli.[/li][li]Behind the Ballots, by James Farley.[/li][li]Mein Kampf (unexpurgated), by Adolf Schicklgruber.[/li][li]How to Make Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.[/li][/ul]

(There’s a crappy PDF copy of the story at this Dutch SF site - all rights reserved, I’m sure.)

Thank you very much!

(For the sake of improving my Google-fu, how did you find this?)

Google Books is your friend. So are quotation marks — anybody who searches for a phrase on Google without them deserves whatever they get. (Note also the “-kreider” just to make sure we’re not duplicating your efforts.)