Daniel J. Boorstin

(Daniel Joseph Boorstin)

Daniel J. Boorstin
Daniel J. Boorstin
  • Born: October 1, 1914
  • Died: February 28, 2004
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Historian









Quote Topics Cited
… the telephone was only a convenience permitting Americans to do more orally and with less effort than what they had been doing before. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
As I watched some of the Watergate hearings I kept asking myself what all these people—[John] Dean and others—were doing there in the first place. Was there really an honest job that needed doing? Management & Managing Government
It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever. Religion & God
It is not slogans or bullets but only institutions that can make (and keep) people free. Freedom & Liberty
Most men hate the necessity of revising their convictions. Human Nature
Nothing is really real unless it “happens” on television…Television has brought an inversion of our consciousness. When we take our eyes off the tube, we see things that are not quite authentic – or rather, which gain authenticity only by their resemblance to how things happen on television Media, Journalism & The Press
One of the distinctions between democracy and other forms of government is that while democracy is messy on the surface, other forms of government are messy underneath. Democracies & Republics
Our national politics has become a competition for images or between images, rather than between ideals. Public Relations & Image
Our national well-being is in inverse proportion to the sharpness and extent of our theoretical differences. Miscellaneous
Our prosperity comes from something that is really marvellous—that is unlimited freedom. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers. Public Relations & Image
The disagreement among American political parties, with only a few exceptions, has been over the practical question of how to secure the agreed objective, while conciliating different interests, rather than over ultimate values or over what interest is paramount. Political Parties & Machines
The history of Western science confirms the aphorism that the great menace to progress is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. Human Nature
The menace is ideology, the dogma of politics. It is a prison that makes the American experiment impossible. Miscellaneous
The mission of our country is not to make other people like us but to enable them to be free to be themselves. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The notion that it is desirable to have a President who can give his full attention to the "presidency" and not worry about reelection is quite a mistake. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The respect of the American people for the Congress has been increased. They can see the Congress as a vigilant Congress. Legislating & Legislative Process
We are a people on a quest. We go and look for the kind of nation we want. The quest is the enduring American experiment. The meaning is in the seeking. Miscellaneous
A best-seller was a book which somehow sold well because it was selling well.
A sign of celebrity is that his name is often worth more than his services. Fame
A wonderful thing about a book, in contrast to a computer screen, is that you can take it to bed with you. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.
As individuals and as a nation, we now suffer from social narcissism. The beloved Echo of our ancestors, the virgin America, has been abandoned. We have fallen in love with our own image, with images of our making, which turn out to be images of ourselves. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
As you make your bed, so you must lie in it. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be. Freedom & Liberty
Human models are more vivid and more persuasive than explicit moral commands.
I write to discover what I think. After all, the bars aren't open that early.
I've learned any fool can write a bad ad, but it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one.
Knowledge is not simply another commodity. On the contrary. Knowledge is never used up. It increases by diffusion and grows by dispersion. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Nothing is really real unless it happens on television.
Reading is like the sex act - done privately, and often in bed.
Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drive out knowledge. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The celebrity is a person who is known for his well-knownness. Fame
The courage to imagine the otherwise is our greatest resource, adding color and suspense to all our life. Life
The force of the advertising word and image dwarfs the power of other literature in the 20th century. Power
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The most important American addition to the World Experience was the simple surprising fact of America. We have helped prepare mankind for all its later surprises.
The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes 'sight-seeing.' Travel
The world of crime is a last refuge of the authentic, uncorrupted, spontaneous event.
Time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities. Time
We need not be theologians to see that we have shifted responsibility for making the world interesting from God to the newspaperman. Religion & God
We read advertisements... to discover and enlarge our desires. We are always ready - even eager - to discover, from the announcement of a new product, what we have all along wanted without really knowing it.
We suffer primarily not from our vices or our weaknesses, but from our illusions. We are haunted, not by reality, but by those images we have put in their place.