20 Socrates Quotes That Apply to Business (2023)

20 Socrates Quotes That Apply to Business (1)

Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher who was born in Alopece and died in Classical Athens in 399 BC. He is known for being one of the founders of Western philosophy, and also for being a first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. Even today, people look to this philosopher for inspiration and motivation, and his quotes are often used to inspire people in all aspects of their lives. It is even possible to interpret Socrates quotes so that they apply to business environments. Here are 20 Socrates quotes that apply to business.

Table of Contents show

20. On Continuous Learning

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing”,

According to Work Flow Max, this is one of the top Socrates quotes that apply to business. It describes how life is a journey along which you are continually learning. TO believe that you do not have anything left to learn is a huge mistake. You must take every opportunity you can to learn and develop yourself. Accepting you do not know everything gives you greater capacity to gain more knowledge.

19. On Inspiring Others

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think”,

If you are a business owner, manager, or team leader, then one of your responsibilities is to teach or train those working for you. There are some things that you can teach them directly, but other things they will have to learn for themselves. Your job is to inspire them in such a way that they want to make the effort to learn and improve themselves. They can then take some responsibility for their own learning.

18. On Managing Your Work-Life Balance

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”.

When you are running a business, it is easy to fall into the trap of spending your time working. While putting in the effort is commendable, it is essential that you do not forget to have a life outside of work. Managing your work-life balance is important and doing things outside work can also improve your working life. Taking time away from the workplace is good for your mental and emotional health, and it can help you to focus better and be more productive when you are working.

17. On Self-Awareness

“Know thyself”.

Knowing yourself is clearly beneficial if you want to run a successful business. You can only achieve your full potential if you are fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Critically analyzing your own traits will help you to use your strengths to your best advantage and to work on improving your areas of weakness. This will then allow you to give more to your business and to achieve your full potential.

16. On Embracing Change

“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”.

Change is an inevitable aspect of business and in life, and this is highlighted in this Socrates quote. Sometimes, the old ways are good, but there are new ways that are better. You should embrace the changes in new ways, as this can save you time and effort. In turn, making changes can help your business to run more effectively and to progress. It is also important to note that you do not always need to wait for changes to happen. You should take a proactive approach to instigate changes when it will benefit your business.

15. On Training Others Well

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”.

Training is often part of the role of business leaders. Either they deliver the training themselves, or they are responsible for organizing appropriate training for their team. According to Socrates, you do not need to overload people with information. Instead, they should kindle the flame by inspiring people to learn. They will then have the desire to make their own learning opportunities wherever possible.

14. On Being Flexible

“The things that screw us up the most in life is the picture in our heads of what it’s supposed to be”.

Sometimes, you have a plan with an end goal in mind, and things do not necessarily go to plan. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have gone wrong; it just means that it a project has taken a different route. It is important to take a flexible approach to everything you do in business and to adapt to changes and challenges along the way. Adopting a flexible approach can mean that projects run more smoothly and you face fewer challenges along the way.

13. On the Certainty of Change

“Change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality”.

This Socrates quote is listed on The Cite Site. It highlights the importance of acknowledging that change is an inevitable part of life, including business environments. There is little point in shying away from change, as it is something that will happen whether you want it to or not.

12. On Self-Improvement

“To move the world, we must first move ourselves”.

If you want to make a difference, then you must start with yourself first. To become a success, it is likely that you will need to make some self-improvements first. This is your starting point if you want to achieve your full potential.

11. On the Importance of Ideas

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people”.

This quote is less about the words we speak, and more about the focus and importance we put on things in life. Successful people are not interested in tittle-tattle and worrying about what other people are doing in life. They are more concerned with putting their ideas into fruition.

10. On Representing Yourself Well to Others

“Be as you wish to seem”.

First impressions really do count, especially in business. How you present yourself to others is important if you want other people to get a good impression of your business and treat you professionally. Think about how you want people to perceive you, and present yourself to the outside world accordingly.

9. On Standing by Your Decisions

“Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what’s good for you. They don’t want you to find your own answers, they want you to believe theirs”.

Listed by Awaken the Greatness Within, this quote is an example of how you should stand by the decisions you make in your business. Both those who support you and those who are against you will have an opinion about every decision you make. However, you should stick to your guns and ignore those who try to change your decisions or actions.

8. On Gaining the Respect of Your Team

“The value of a man is measured in the number of those who stand beside him, not those who follow”.

For things to run smoothly and for you to make progress in your business, it is important that you have the respect of your team. You need your team to support you in all your endeavors in order to become successful. If you have the respect of your team, they are more likely to show a willingness to do whatever it takes to help you achieve your dreams. You are more likely to gain their respect if you are honest, fair, reasonable and open. It also helps if you acknowledge the contributions they have made to the success of your business.

7. On Learning from Others

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for”.

There are some things that you can only learn yourself by completing an action or going through a process. This includes learning from your own mistakes. However, there is a lot you can learn from other people. If you are willing to use other people’s experience and knowledge to help you along the way, then it will make your road to success much easier and will reduce the number of mistakes you make to achieve your goals. You can gain knowledge from others with experience by reading, studying, spending time with other business leaders, and even from members of your team who have invaluable experience in specific areas that are relevant to your business.

6. On Understanding the Consequences of Your Decisions

“Every action has its pleasure and its price to pay”.

Decision-making is an important responsibility of any person in a senior position in a business. Every decision you make is something that you should think about carefully. Weigh up the pros and cons of every potential action you can take. Each decision you make will have consequences. While some of these are positive, it is also possible that your decisions can create difficulties for you in the future. The aim is always to minimize any potential damage and seek out positive outcomes.

5. On the Importance of Knowledge

“There is only one good, knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance”.

Consider gaining knowledge as a priority. Know everything you can about the field of business you are, your target market, your competition, and strategies to use. Having knowledge can give you power. Remaining in ignorance will put you at a disadvantage against the competition and decrease your chances of success.

4. On the Importance of Questions

“The highest form of human excellence is to question”.

Asking questions is vital in business. It is only by asking questions that you will find the answers. Ask yourself questions about the decisions you are making, ask questions to those with useful knowledge or experience you can use, and ask questions about the competition so you know what you are up against. You should also encourage your team to ask questions so that they have opportunities to learn and keep up to date with what is going on within the business.

3. On Accepting Criticism

“Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions, but those who kindly reprove thy faults”.

Most people love to receive praise and acknowledgment, but this quote listed on Goalcast emphasizes the importance of also accepting criticism. While praise can make you feel good, criticism is more helpful to you in the long run. Criticism can help you to identify your mistakes or weaknesses. Without this criticism, you cannot work on your weaknesses, rectify your mistakes, or make improvements to various aspects of your business. Therefore, criticism can help you to make both personal and professional improvements to better yourself and your business.

2. On Changing Your Attitude

“It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one”.

If people keep telling you that you are wrong, then sometimes you have to accept that you are wrong. While it is good to stand by your decisions, it is stupid to be so arrogant that you think that you are always in the right and everyone else is wrong. Sometimes, you may need to change your attitude or opinions. This is not something to fear or avoid, as people often have more respect for someone who is willing to accept that they were wrong and then make changes accordingly. It is this that shows the true strength of your character.

1. On Achieving Your Full Potential

“We cannot live better than in seeking to become better”.

According to Lifehack, this is one of the best Socrates quotes that apply to business. Those who are the most likely to become successful are those who are constantly seeking to improve themselves. To achieve your full potential, you must use your strengths to your advantage, work on your weaknesses, and be open to making changes to your attitude or approach. Those who have no intention of making self-improvements are unlikely to succeed in their business.


What is the famous line of Socrates about business? ›

One of Socrates' famous quotes is “Know thyself.” It encourages self-awareness and self-reflection, which can help you as a business owner to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

What is Socrates most famous statement? ›

After the jury has convicted Socrates and sentenced him to death, he makes one of the most famous proclamations in the history of philosophy. He tells the jury that he could never keep silent, because “the unexamined life is not worth living for human beings” (Apology 38a).

What Socrates said about success? ›

Socrates said: “That's the most secret to success. When you want success as badly as you want air, you will get it. There is no other secret”.

How can we use Socratic Method in business? ›

When using the Socratic method, try to solve a problem, rather than just ask for answers. For example, if your staff is taking too long to respond to customer complaint emails, don't just ask for ways to reduce response times.

What is the role of Socrates in business ethics? ›

Socrates believed strongly in ethics and the importance of conducting ourselves in a responsible and respectful manner. He believed using our reasoning abilities to make ethical decisions, we can make a positive impact on the world around us.

What are 5 famous quotes? ›

Famous quotes in English
That's one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind.Neil ArmstrongEnglish
The love of money is the root of all evil.the BibleGreek
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.Franklin D. RooseveltEnglish
The truth will set you free.the BibleGreek
54 more rows

What are the 3 questions of Socrates? ›

Socrates thought that a person must ask themselves the following questions before they say anything: “Am I sure that what I am going to say is true?”, “Is what I'm going to say a good thing?”, and “Do I really need to say it and is it useful?”

What are Socrates 4 virtues? ›

For Socrates and Plato, there are four primary virtues: courage, moderation, wisdom and justice.

What did Socrates say about motivation? ›

We can summarize the Socratic Theory of Motivation as follows: Socrates claims that all human motivation must be understood as taking place within a context. The context is that people approach each situ- ation with an overriding desire to achieve the best end available in that situation.

What is the famous line of Socrates about self? ›

In Ancient Greece, the philosopher Socrates famously declared that the unexamined life was not worth living. Asked to sum up what all philosophical commandments could be reduced to, he replied: 'Know yourself.

What is meaningful happiness Socrates Quotes? ›

"The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less" — Socrates, lived in 450 BC.

What is excellence quotes by Socrates? ›

I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is a habit.

What did Socrates say about change? ›

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on the fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates: Motivational Notebook.

What is true knowledge quotes Socrates? ›

Socrates had it right. Remain humble and appreciate the fact that you don't know everything. What you do have, and must strive to retain, is the desire and ability to continually learn, ask questions, and grow, both inwardly and outwardly.

What is the Socratic approach to leadership? ›

With the Socratic Method, leaders actually find answers together with their employees instead of asking for an answer or telling them what to do. This empowers and motivates your employees, gives them a greater sense of psychological safety and will make you a pretty darn good manager.

What is a good example of Socratic method? ›

For example, a professor might pick a student at random and question them (rapid-fire) for the entire duration of the class. The ultimate goal is to trip the student up and cause holes in their argument. At the other extreme, a professor could choose a group of students and discuss legal principles.

What is the most valuable lesson that can be learned by business people from these Greek philosophers? ›

Focus on doing what you can, on the practical steps you can take to improve the situation.

Who is the greatest philosopher in business ethics? ›

Aristotle was the most practical and business-oriented of all philosophers who asked ethical questions. You may stop at the idea that a person who's been dead for nearly 2,400 years has anything practical to say about modern organizations.

What was Socrates basic ethical question? ›

Aristotle followed Plato and Socrates in the questions he identified as central to the study of ethics. Socrates's key question is: “What kind of life should one live?” In the NE Aristotle raises this question in terms of the notion of an ultimate good.

How is Socrates philosophy used today? ›

Socrates spent the majority of his life asking questions, always in search of the truth. He is responsible for developing what is known as the Socratic method, a technique still used by professors in law schools today. Instead of lecturing the students, professors will ask them a series of thought-provoking questions.

What's the most powerful quote? ›

  • 21 Of The World's Most Powerful Quotes, Updated For Today. ...
  • “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ...
  • “Everybody is a genius. ...
  • “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” ...
  • “He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears.”

What are 4 things Socrates taught? ›

These principles are what Socrates thought were the most important goals of philosophy.
  • Discover and Pursue Your Life's Purpose. Strive to discover who you are, what is your life mission, and what you are trying to become. ...
  • Care for your soul. ...
  • Be a good person and you will not be harmed by outside forces.

What are the 3 souls of Socrates? ›

Plato divided the soul into three parts: the logistikon (reason), the thymoeides (spirit), and the epithymetikon (appetite).

What are the 3 most important virtues? ›

The cardinal virtues are listed in the deuterocanonical book Wisdom of Solomon, which in 8:7 reads: "She [Wisdom] teaches temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life."

What were Plato's 4 big ideas? ›

Phil Osagie
  • Plato had 4 big ideas. The setting was Athens, 2000 years ago. ...
  • Nugget 1. Think More....& Strengthen yourself with knowledge.
  • Idea 2. Let your lover change you.
  • Idea 3. Decode the message of beauty.
  • Idea 4. Reform Society.
Mar 3, 2017

What is the greatest virtue for Socrates? ›

In Ancient Greece commonly accepted virtues included courage, temperance, prudence, and justice. Socrates held virtue to be the greatest good in life because it alone was capable of securing ones happiness.

What is a quote from Socrates on strength? ›

No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.

What is the quote on courage by Socrates? ›

Socrates Quotes

He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy.

What did Socrates say about intelligence? ›

Intelligent individuals learn from every thing and every one; average people, from their experiences. The stupid already have all the answers.”

What was Socrates best philosophy? ›

Socrates himself believed in the universality of the inner rational being. He believed that: The unexamined life is not worth living! The best manner to examinee that life is through reasoning which employs the dialectical method of inquiry.

What did Socrates say about ignorance? ›

Summary. Socrates famously claims to lack knowledge or wisdom. This profession of ignorance seems to raise a number of questions. There is the question of what precisely he takes himself to be ignorant of – or, conversely, what categories of knowledge, if any, he takes himself to have.

What did Socrates believe was the key to happiness? ›

Socrates believed the key to happiness was self-knowledge, which can only be found when a person searches for the objective truth.

What is the greatest happiness principle quotes? ›

The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation. To what shall the character of utility be ascribed, if not to that which is a source of pleasure?

What is Plato's famous quote? ›

Here are some of Plato's most famous quotes: “Love is a serious mental disease.” “When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself.” “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge.”

What are some quotes from Socrates Express? ›

“The person attuned to beauty will find it in a garbage dump while “the fault-finder will find fault even in paradise.” “For Socrates, philosophy and conversation were virtually synonymous.” “Happiness is a by-product, never an objective. It's an unexpected windfall from a life lived well.”

What is a famous excellence quote? ›

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

What is the famous dictum of Socrates? ›

The nlost celebrated aspect of Socrates' philosophy is his famous dictum that "the unexamined life is not worth living."l It suggests a life founded on reflection and a constant questioning of the beliefs and values we normally take for granted.

What is Socrates saying about learning? ›

Socrates believed that we learn best by asking essential questions and testing tentative answers against reason and fact in a continual and virtuous circle of honest debate. We need to approach the contemporary knowledge explosion and the technologies propelling this new enlightenment in just that manner.

What is the quote Socrates on God? ›

Socrates tells the men of Athens, “I will obey the god rather than you” (Apology 29b). His god is to be trusted and obeyed much more than a man should ever be specifically because “the god is wise and. . . human wisdom is worth little or nothing” (Apology 23a–b).

What does Socrates say about self knowledge? ›

294. To know oneself is really to become what one is, or better, what one ought to be.

What entrepreneurial lesson can be learned from Socrates? ›

Embrace Ignorance

If Socrates was an entrepreneur today he'd probably make a good one: open to new ideas, constantly questioning, but with the humility and confidence needed to recognize that he doesn't know it all.

What is the philosophy of Plato about business? ›

Plato claims that justice is built on the foundation of citizens doing what they are naturally best suited to do whether it is business or ruling. Justice in the city is “doing one's work and not meddling with what isn't one's own” (433b).

What are the 3 common philosophical theories used in business ethics? ›

Three commonly used ethics theories in business are utilitarianism, rights theory, and justice theory.

What is the best business philosophy? ›

11 Business Philosophies to Live and Die By
  • Don't make excuses, make improvements. ...
  • Don't stop when you're tired, stop when you're done. ...
  • Honesty is a very expensive gift, do not expect it from cheap people. ...
  • Work hard in silence and keep your success to yourself. ...
  • Don't get sidetracked by people who are not on track.
Jun 20, 2013

Which ethical theory is best for business? ›

In Business and Commerce

Moreover, utilitarianism is the most common approach to business ethics because of the way that it accounts for costs and benefits. The theory asserts that there are two types of utilitarian ethics practiced in the business world, "rule" utilitarianism and "act" utilitarianism.

What was Socrates most important lesson? ›

Socrates was interested in the knowledge of logical thinking (reason), especially in the field of ethics (good and evil). He urged fellow townspeople to think (critically) for themselves (about themselves, their gods and values) and not rely on the judgment of others.

What were the most important teachings of Socrates? ›

He taught that people should care less about their bodies and possessions and more about their souls, saying, “wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth.” As such he believed he was serving the city of Athens and its citizens by highlighting their incorrect thinking. Socrates was a man of principle.

How does philosophy relate to business? ›

There are many regulations that guide how businesses can operate but there are also deeper values that inform how we make personal decisions within that business. Philosophy can help us understand those values, how to communicate them and how to resolve conflicts when they are arise.

How do philosophers influence the business purpose of an entrepreneur? ›

Philosophers truly transform the world with their ideas, visions, and belief systems. The more we think about it - successful entrepreneurs do the same. An average entrepreneur behaves the same way that a philosopher does, reimagines the world with his/her ideas, and innovates with his/her own products and solutions.

What can business leaders learn from the philosophers? ›

Lessons for business leaders from ancient philosophers
  • Dare to disagree (Socrates)
  • Let people seek fulfillment (Aristotle)
  • Be a good role model (Plutarch)
  • Build a resilient mid-set (Epictetus)
  • Keep track of your ethical progress (Rufus)
  • The art of happiness (Epicurus)
Apr 19, 2023

What is the philosophy of Confucius about business? ›

Confucius believed that leaders were expected to rule in a way that is just and moral. This view of practice could have the potential to create entrepreneurs who perform ethical business practice. Under Confucian values, if businesses are governed righteously, they will succeed.

Who said philosophy is everybody's business? ›

Philosophy Is Everybody's Business

Mortimer Adler said, “Philosophy is everybody's business!”.

What is Aristotle's philosophy of business? ›

In Aristotle's philosophy, businesses are self-created mini-societies geared to one goal, which in turn serves larger goals. In Aristotle's philosophy, businesses are self-created mini-societies geared to one goal, which in turn serves larger goals, which in turn serve the state and society as a whole.


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