Self-help articles and books love to quote this line by Goethe: "Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!" I had somehow mis-read that quote as "Baldness has genius, power and magic in it". I was so depressed at my lack of baldness, I contemplated some drastic steps, like wearing a bald wig.
But back to Goethe and this quotation.
The quote is meant to motivate you and help you get started. Read it silently a few times and you will feel drawn to its message. Read it aloud with a fist up in the air and you will want to blast the final movement to Beethoven's Ninth as the words "Freude, schoner Gotterfunken" reverberate in your room. Isn't this how we imagine great Germans to be, filled with resolve, determination and courage?
Too bad Herr Goethe never actually wrote those words. So the next time some motivational speaker or writer attributes it to Goethe, emit a snide laugh, call his bluff and sink back into your wimpy, procrastinating ways.
BTW, Goethe did say all of these things. Scroll down to the end of the list for the "misattributed" quote.)
"Elementary, my dear Watson", "Play it again, Sam", "Me Tarzan, you Jane", "A-wop-Bop-a-loowop-a-wop-bamboo"...no, wait, Little Richard actually said those immortal words.
Why are some of the best-known quotations misquotations?