45 Henry Kissinger Quotes on Leadership, Politics, and Success

Enjoy these Henry Kissinger quotes that give you a glimpse into the mind of this renowned leader!

Henry Kissinger is an American politician and political scientist who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under both the Nixon and Ford administrations.

The extremely accomplished Kissinger is a prime example of how hard work and determination have a greater influence on your life than where you start from.

Born in Nazi Germany, Kissinger came to the United States in 1943.

From his humble beginnings, he later joined the Army and eventually graduated from Harvard.

He then continued his career ascent as he became the United States Secretary of State and then the National Security Adviser, among other things.

Over his military and political career, Henry Kissinger has received many awards and medals and is still influential in politics today.

Enjoy these illuminating and motivational quotes from Henry Kissinger!

If you want more motivational quotes, check out our motivational quotes category page.

Best Henry Kissinger quotes

Kissinger has been at the forefront of U.S. diplomacy for longer than most Americans have been alive, so you know he knows what he’s talking about in his best quotes.

1. “Even a paranoid can have enemies.” — Henry Kissinger

2. “Art is man’s expression of his joy in labor.” — Henry Kissinger

3. “In crises, the most daring course is often safest.” — Henry Kissinger

4. “Whatever must happen ultimately should happen immediately.” — Henry Kissinger

5. “If you don’t know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.” — Henry Kissinger

6. “Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative.” — Henry Kissinger

7. “If it’s going to come out eventually, better have it come out immediately.”— Henry Kissinger

8. “It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true.”— Henry Kissinger

9. “Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything, You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.” — Henry Kissinger

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10. “Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now or as quickly as possible because otherwise, the bleeding will not end.” — Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger quotes on politics and government

This collection of Henry Kissinger quotes comes from statements he made throughout his political career as well as excerpts from his books.

11. “We are all the President’s men.” — Henry Kissinger

12. “Diplomacy: the art of restraining power.” — Henry Kissinger

13. “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.” — Henry Kissinger

14. “University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” — Henry Kissinger

15. “The American temptation is to believe that foreign policy is a subdivision of psychiatry.” — Henry Kissinger

16. “The statesman’s duty is to bridge the gap between his nation’s experience and his vision.” — Henry Kissinger

17. “You can’t make war in the Middle East without Egypt and you can’t make peace without Syria.” — Henry Kissinger

18. “Politicians are like dogs… Their life expectancy is too short for a commitment to be bearable.” — Henry Kissinger

19. “For other nations, utopia is a blessed past never to be recovered; for Americans, it is just beyond the horizon.” — Henry Kissinger

20. “For the greatest part of humanity and the longest periods of history, empire has been the typical mode of government.” — Henry Kissinger

21. “No foreign policy – no matter how ingenious – has any chance of success if it is born in the minds of a few and carried in the hearts of none.” — Henry Kissinger

22. “Most foreign policies that history has marked highly, in whatever country, have been originated by leaders who were opposed by experts.” — Henry Kissinger

Quotes About Succes

These Henry Kissinger quotes on success are profound and insightful, which is no surprise given Kissinger’s early success that never ceased throughout his career.

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23. “Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision.” — Henry Kissinger

24. “A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.” — Henry Kissinger

25. “Every victory is only the price of admission to a more difficult problem.” — Henry Kissinger

26. “Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.” — Henry Kissinger

27. “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” — Henry Kissinger

28. “Americans have a tendency to believe that when there’s a problem there must be a solution.” — Henry Kissinger

29. “If eighty percent of your sales come from twenty percent of all of your items, just carry those twenty percent.” — Henry Kissinger

30. “Empires have no interest in operating within an international system; they aspire to be the international system.” — Henry Kissinger

31. “Don’t be too ambitious. Do the most important thing you can think of doing every year and then your career will take care of itself.” — Henry Kissinger

32. “A leader who confines his role to his people’s experience dooms himself to stagnation; a leader who outstrips his people’s experience runs the risk of not being understood.” — Henry Kissinger

More Henry Kissinger Quotes

A lot of these quotes show that Kissinger had a really good sense of humor.

33. “Power is the great aphrodisiac.” — Henry Kissinger

34. “Behind the slogans lay an intellectual vacuum.” — Henry Kissinger

35. “The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.” — Henry Kissinger

36. “Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.” — Henry Kissinger

37. “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” — Henry Kissinger

38. “I am being frank about myself in this book. I tell of my first mistake on page 850.” — Henry Kissinger

39. “The nice thing about being a celebrity is that, if you bore people, they think it’s their fault.” — Henry Kissinger

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40. “No country can act wisely simultaneously in every part of the globe at every moment of time.” — Henry Kissinger

41. “Leaders are responsible not for running public opinion polls but for the consequences of their actions.” — Henry Kissinger

42. “It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it.”— Henry Kissinger

43. “Blessed are the people whose leaders can look destiny in the eye without flinching but also without attempting to play God.” — Henry Kissinger

44. “If I should ever be captured, I want no negotiation – and if I should request a negotiation from captivity they should consider that a sign of duress.” — Henry Kissinger

45. “High office teaches decision making, not substance. It consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.” — Henry Kissinger

What did you learn from these quotes?

As the quotes above show, Henry Kissinger is a man of intelligence and ambition.

Throughout his life, he has continued to accomplish things regardless of the circumstances.

One of the reasons Henry Kissinger has been so successful is his focus on the basics.

He may have said it in a different manner, but it is better to focus on less and be successful than try to accomplish everything and succeed in nothing.

Although some historians have different opinions of Mr. Kissinger, his drive and intelligence have allowed him to be influential in politics and business for many years.

Henry Kissinger is a man worth learning about.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Henry Kissinger quotes and sayings?

Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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