Posted by: Korry | November 16, 2011

QOTW: Reputations

“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

–Warren Buffett

For this week’s Quote of the Week, I’m turning to one of the best quotes I’ve ever seen about reputations. My grandfather was so impressed with this quote from Mr. Buffett that he cut it out of the newspaper and mailed it to me several years ago.

As a Penn Stater, I find this quote to be particularly thought-provoking given the current issues surrounding the University and its football coaches, particularly coach Joe Paterno. For years and years, Paterno built his reputation around hard work and doing the right thing. As the facts are revealed in the coming weeks and months, I’m hopeful we won’t be finding that coach Paterno used up his “five minutes,” as Mr. Buffett would say, to protect someone who didn’t deserve protecting.

For all of us, I think this quote is an outstanding reminder that supporting your character is a full-time job. You cannot take a sick day and you cannot turn your back for even just a few seconds. Reputations are painstakingly built brick-by-brick, day-by-day, for years on end. They require foundations of rock, not sand. Still, even the sturdiest ones can be brought down in the blink of an eye by an earthquake or wrecking ball…so we must always be vigilant.

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Responses

  1. […] morning I awoke to some very sad news: Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach, passed away at the age of 85. It’s been a difficult […]

  2. […] twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” (See the November QOTW here). Trust is built up slowly over time. It requires a solid foundation free from any cracks that […]


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