“Nothing succeeds like success” and “fortune favors the fortunate” are proverbs that mean that one success (or fortune) will lead to another. The proverb was popular in 19th century France (“Rien ne réussit comme le succès”) and might have been popularized by French writer Jules Janin (1804-1874) in the 1830s. “Nothing succeeds like success” has been cited in English since at least 1850, when it was called a “common saying.”
Wikiquote: Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas, père (24 July 1802 – 5 December 1870) was a French writer, best known for his numerous historical novels of high adventure which have made him the most widely read French author in the world.
Rien ne réussit comme le succès.
Translation: Nothing succeeds like success.
. Ange Pitou, Vol. 1 chapter 7 (1854)
Wikipedia: Jules Janin
Jules Gabriel Janin (16 February 1804 – 19 June 1874) was a French writer and critic.
1837, Revue des Deux Mondes, pg. 196:
DE LA FRANCE.
M. JULES JANIN.
LE CHEMIN DE TRAVERSE.
Rien ne réussit comme le succès, a dit M. Janin lui-même; mais il avait mieux fait déjà que de le dire: par son exemple, il l’avait prouvé.
June 1843, Revue suisse, pg. 433:
C’est aussi le cas ou jamais d’appliquer à Lucrèce le mot de Jules Janin, un des plus spirituels qu’il ait dit: « Rien ne réussit comme le succès. »
Henri de France:
ou, Histoire des Bourbons de la branche ainée pendant quinze ans d’exil, 1830-1845
By Alfred Nettement
Paris: de Signy et Dubey
Quelqu’un l’a dit avec une brièveté spirituelle et pleine de sens: rien ne réussit comme le succès.
Around the Horn in ‘49:
Journal of the Hartford Union Mining and Trading Company
(By Linville John Hall and George Gideon Webster—ed.)
Printed by L. J. Hall, on board the Henry Lee
Pg. 220 (July 4, 1850):
And while it is a common saying that nothing succeeds like success — our success did not succeed.
The History of the War with Russia:
Giving Fall Details of the Operations of the Allied Armies
By Henry Tyrell
London: The London Printing and Publishing Company (Limited)
Pg. 106, col. 2:
Whether he had been ill-used was doubtful; that he had been unsuccessful was certain: and as the famous Talleyrand once said, “nothing succeeds like success.”
By the author of ‘Friends in council’ (Sir Arthur Helps—ed.)
London: Macmillan and Co.
Sir Arthur. I must say I delight in French proverbs. Now, what can be better than the celebrated proverb, “Nothing succeeds like success?”
1874, The Belgravia Annual (Volume 22), “The Mystery of Viscount Bowldout” by George Augustus Sala, pg. 87, col. 2:
Fortune favours the fortunate; and there is nothing that succeeds like success. These may be platitudes; but they are true.