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  1. Blog
  2. Women to Know
  3. March 9, 2020

9 Grace Hopper Quotes to Live By

Wise words from an American hero

9 Grace Hopper Quotes to Live By
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Grace Hopper was an undeniably inspirational leader. She was the pioneering computer scientist known for her programming work on the Harvard Mark I computer and for developing COBOL, a programming language that’s still in use today. After receiving her Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University, Hopper taught at Vassar College and joined the Navy Reserves, eventually rising in the ranks to Rear Admiral.

Her work was widely recognized all over the world—Hopper was awarded more than 40 awards in her lifetime from various societies and universities, and in 2016, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

As a trailblazer in the male-dominated STEM field, she’ll remain an inspiring female icon for eternity.

9 Grace Hopper quotes to live by

1. “Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, 'We've always done it this way.' I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.”

2. “A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”

3. “The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's simply larger than it needs to be. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.”

4. “I've always been more interested in the future than in the past.”

5. “The most dangerous phrase in the language is,‘We've always done it this way.’”

6. “Leadership is a two-way street, loyalty up and loyalty down. Respect for one's superiors; care for one's crew.”

7. “If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.”

8. “Don't try to manage people; you manage things; you lead people.”

9. “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.”

Read more:4 Women in Tech You Should Know

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Photo of Cara Hutto

Cara Hutto


Cara Hutto is a freelance writer and the former assistant editor at InHerSight. Her writing primarily focuses on workplace rights, job searching, culture, and food, and she holds a bachelor’s degree in media and journalism from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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