A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 04, 2012
“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”

Voltaire (1694-1778) is credited with “the best is the enemy of the good.” Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) is credited with “The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan” in Von Kriege/On War (1832), but it’s not clear that the line appears in Clausewitz’s writings.

U.S. General George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945) wrote in War as I Knew It (1947):

“The best is the enemy of the good. By this I mean that a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.”

“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow” has been cited in print since at least 1979. This line was further popularized in the film Wag the Dog (1997).


Wikipedia: Perfect is the enemy of good
Perfect is the enemy of good is an aphorism or proverb which is commonly attributed to Voltaire whose moral poem, La Bégueule, starts

Dans ses écrits, un sàge Italien
Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

(In his writings, a wise Italian says that the best is the enemy of the good)


The moral is that perfectionism is contrary to a satisfactory competence. Aristotle, Confucius and other classical philosophers propounded the principle of the golden mean which counsels against extremism in general.

Wikiquote: George S. Patton
General George Smith Patton, Jr. (1885-11-11 – 1945-12-21) was a U.S. General during World War II; he was known in his time as “America’s Fightingest General”.
(...)
A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later. As quoted in “The Unknown Patton” (1983) by Charles M. Province, p. 165

The Official Website of General George S. Patton, Jr.
GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON, JR. QUOTATIONS
“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
“A good solution applied with vigor now is better than a perfect solution applied ten minutes later.”

Wikiquote: Wag the Dog
Wag the Dog is a 1997 film starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro about a Washington spin doctor who distracts the electorate from a presidential sex scandal by hiring a Hollywood producer to create a fake war.

Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean (Played by Robert De Niro—ed.)
. “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

Google Books
British Strategy:
A study of the application of the principles of war

By Sir Frederick Maurice
London: Constable
1929
Pg. 243:
For these reasons perfection in war is unattainable, and a reasonably good plan carried through with promptness and determination better than a more perfect plan prepared slowly and executed with hesitation.

Google Books
War as I Knew It
By George S, Patton, Jr.
Edited by Paul D. Harkins
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin
1947
Pg. 354:
Don’t Delay: The best is the enemy of the good. By this I mean that a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.

Google Books
Patton:
A study in command

By Hubert Essame
New York, NY: Scribner
1974
Pg. 142:
All Patton’s plans were conceived in the light of the cavalry tradition—quick decision, speed in execution, calculated audacity: better a good plan violently executed now than a perfect plan next week.

30 June 1974, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “A Healthy Frame of Mind at Age 40: S.E.C. Pushes for Stronger Capital Market” by John M. Lee (New York Times), sec. B, pg. 13:
Speaking of the central or united market system recently, S.E.C. chairman Ray Garett Jr., said: “This may not be a perfect plan, but I am conscious of the observation attributed to Clausewitz that the dream of a perfect plan is the greatest enemy of a good plan.”

Google Books
Maximum Living in a Pressure-Cooker World
By Tim Timmons and Martha Greene
Waco, TX: Word Books
1979
Pg. 205:
Mental Maxim #24
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

Google Books
Words on War:
Military quotations from ancient times to the present

By Jay M. Shafritz
New York, NY: Prentice Hall
1990
Pg. 474:
A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week. General George S. Patton, Jr., War As I Knew It, 1947.

Google Books
Making Haste Slowly:
Strengthening local environmental management in agricultural development

By Herman Savenije
Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Inst.
1991
Pg. 86:
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow (Van den Hoek).

Google Books
Get a Life Without Sacrificing Your Career:
How to make more time for what’s really important

By Dianna Booher
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company
1996
Pg. 27:
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
-- PATTON’S LAW

Google Books
Common Sense on Mutual Funds:
New imperatives for the intelligent investor

By John C. Bogle
New York, NY: John Wiley
1999
Pg. 120:
The Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz once said, “The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.”

Google Books
Creative Leadership:
Skills that drive change

By Gerard J. Puccio, Mary Murdock and Marie Mance
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
2007
Pg. 187:
As World War II General George S. Patton once said, “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • (2) Comments • Wednesday, April 04, 2012 • Permalink


"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”. It is one of my mantras. Good planning also requires balance of time especially when it comes to business so that things will get done. Why wait for tomorrow when you can fix it now?

Posted by government contracting companies  on  05/15  at  01:06 AM

As a website developer, having a good plan of program to be executed today is better than to create a perfect plan tomorrow. This is a good principle that also best to apply in website development and application. In website development and application, the early you have implemented your program in the web, the better is the result. Thank you for sharing this memorable quote. Keep up your good work.

Posted by What is Drupal  on  05/15  at  04:47 AM

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