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 May 29, 2015
“Improvement begins with ‘I‘“

"Improvement beings with ‘I’” is a popular inspirational and motivational saying. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1920 and is of unknown authorship.

The “Improvement beings with ‘I’” saying is often credited to Arnold Glasow (1905-1998), but there’s no reason to believe he created it in 1920 (when he was 15).

Google Books
22 June 1920, AX-I-DENT-AX (Midvale, UT), pg. 12, col. 1:
Improvement Begins with “I.”

Google Books
Forbes Epigrams:
1000 Thoughts on Life and Business

By Bertie Charles Forbes
New York, NY: B. C. Forbes Publishing Company
Pg. 32:
IMPROVEMENT begins with “I.”

29 June 1923, Williamsport (IN) Pioneer, “Beginning With I,” pg. 2, col. 2:
A few days ago a man was walking down the street of his home city when he came upon these words chalked on a blackboard in front of a garage: “Improvement Begins With I.”

12 August 1925, Palo Alto Tribune (Emmetsburg, IA), pg. 7, col. 4:
Improvement begins with “I.”
(Mankato Commercial College ad.—ed.)

5 March 1974, San Diego (CA) Union, pg. D6, col. 3 classified ad:

Google Books
The Innovator’s DNA:
Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators

By Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton Christensen
Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press
Pg. 249:
Years ago, Arnold Glasow, an entrepreneur and humorist, concluded that “improvement begins with I.” We couldn’t agree more.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Friday, May 29, 2015 • Permalink