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15 Inspirational Shakespeare Quotes on the 400th Anniversary of His Death Check out the playwright's indelible take on leadership and legacy.

By Nina Zipkin


With 38 enduring plays, 154 sonnets and 5 narrative poems to his name (though scholars are still trying to figure out if he really was behind them all), William Shakespeare is remembered for both his staggering work ethic and remarkable understanding of human nature -- two qualities that every entrepreneur must have in their pursuit of success. To commemorate the Bard's life, which ended on April 23, 1616, read on for some of his most memorable quotes about leadership, facing your fears and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

Try new things

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, By fearing to attempt." -- Measure for Measure

Identify opportunity

"Be not afraid of greatness: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." -- Twelfth Night

Meet deadlines

"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late." -- The Merry Wives of Windsor

Be humble

"Have more than thou showest, Speak less than thou knowest." -- King Lear

Know your weaknesses

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." – As You Like It

Make every day count

"Let life be short; else shame will be too long." -- Henry V

Be yourself

"This above all: to thine ownself be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." -- Hamlet

Tell the truth

"No legacy is so rich as honesty." -- All's Well That Ends Well

Don't deceive...

"Certain, men should be what they seem." – Othello

...or be deceived

"All that glisters is not gold." -- The Merchant of Venice

Show, don't tell

"Talking isn't doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds." -- Henry VIII

Work at your own pace

"Time travels in diverse paces with diverse persons. I'll tell you who time ambles withal, who time trots withal, who time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal." – As You Like It

Don't take on too much

"Be patient, for the world is broad and wide." -- Romeo and Juliet

Seize control

"Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." -- Julius Caesar

Anticipate success

"Fortune brings in some boats that are not steer'd." – Cymbeline

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Reporter. Covers media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Nina Zipkin is a staff reporter at She frequently covers media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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