20 Leadership Quotes from Gordon Gekko and Wall Street


Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Is the iconic character Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas correct when he said “Greed is good?”  All leaders are faced with this question.  In essence, we must determine if we are going to serve others or serve ourselves.

I loved the new Wall Street movie.  The acting is ridiculously superb and there are a couple of interesting twists I didn’t see coming.  It is a great look of human behavior and character.

The Gekko character is famous for his quotes.  This movie is full of statements and principles for leaders to ponder.  All the quotes below are from Gordon Gekko unless otherwise noted:

  1. When Gekko was released from prison along with some fellow inmates, everyone had someone to pick them up except for him.  Is having all the money and possessions in the world worth losing your family over?
  2. “Spend as much time with your kids as you can.” – Lewis Zabel played by Frank Langella
  3. Is anything in business worth dying for? 
  4. You are the Ninja Generation.  No income.  No job.  No assets.”
  5. Greed makes the bartender buy three houses.”
  6. Bucks + Steroids = Leverage”
  7. The mother of evil is speculation.”
  8. “Three words.  Buy my book.”
  9. Energy is the next bubble.”
  10. Money is a she.  She sleeps in the bed with you with one eye open.  Next thing you know, she might be gone forever.”
  11. The family business is payback.”
  12. Time is the primary asset.”
  13. Are you a bee?  Do you like to sting people?”
  14. “What is your exact number to walk away?” – Jacob Moore played by Shia LaBeouf to Josh Brolin’s character Bretton James.  By the way, I have my number.
  15. A fisherman always sees another fisherman from afar.”
  16. There is a very uncomfortable dinner scene where Gekko introduces himself to someone he previously knew only to not be remembered by the man.  We can all be easily forgotten.
  17. Parents are the bones where children sharpen their teeth.”
  18. Insurance is like getting kids to buy crack in the playground.”
  19. Moral hazard is when they take your money and then are not responsible for what they do with it.”
  20. It’s not about the people.  It’s about the game.”   

A few final thoughts from the movie:

  1. There is a difference between rehabilitation and repentance.
  2. If you go looking for blood, you will find it.  Revenge is never an answer.
  3. The most influential relationship a person has with their father.  It colors all other relationships.  Girls often grow up and marry someone just like their father.
  4. No matter how bad things can go in your life, you can always come back.
  5. I’ll end by answering the question I started the post with.  Gekko is wrong.  Nothing good comes from greed.

Simple question, do you agree with Gekko’s (and my) comments?

For future leadership insights, please subscribe to this post or click here.


About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

35 Responses to “20 Leadership Quotes from Gordon Gekko and Wall Street”

  1. Geat blog… thank for the info! 🙂

  2. Firstly, let me commend your lucidity on this topic. I’m professional on this topic, but after registering your article, my knowledge has improved well. Be sure to allow me to snap up your nourish to remain contact with any inflowing updates. Positive career and can pass it on to friends and my readers.

  3. Mr.Dodd your blog is excellent.Although I’m still young,I wish I’d found a resource like this earlier.

  4. This blog post is awarded a thumbs up from me.

  5. Thank you and it’s very nice to have these quotes all in one place and where they belong…on a blog about Leadership. There are many quotes from the movie I do agree with, such as not to cry on the school yard like a baby, and that money is in a sense a game. Time is what matters, and that, my friends is perhaps the truest of all quotes from this film,

  6. greed is good…it captures the essence of human evolution.

  7. Caught you blog for the first time, it is a good read. You are doing a super job!


    • DS,

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the site and hope you re-visit and comment often. I’m taking a survey on today’s post. I’d love to get your thoughts.

      Thanks again and have a great weekend,

      • I haven’t personally seen the movie, don’t seem to attend them much anymore, as I just cannot get into all the trickery and computer simulation in them. I find your blog interesting and it reads well, you seem to have it all going for you, the layout is easy on the eyes and the material is good.

        “I would like your thoughts?” Strange expression eh Brian. On any given day, I sure don’t like them myself, I shudder at the mere opportunity to share them with someone else, but I do it almost daily on my site.

        Take care, enjoy your family and this special time of the year.


  8. She hates me. And she hates Wall Street and everything it represents… so don’t you find it curious that she would fall in love with you?” — Gordon Gekko to Jacob Moore

  9. I enjoyed reading it! Much obliged

  10. Reading some of your articles or blog posts I seriously found this specific one to be very good. I’ve a blog site as well and would wish to repost some snips of your content in my blog. Should it be alright if I do that as long I personal reference your site or create a inbound link to your posting I took the snip from? Otherwise I realize and would not do it without having your approval . I have book marked the article to twitter as well as facebook account intended for reference. Anyhow appreciate it either way!

  11. WOW, I just watched the movie the other night and I had a blast. I want to see it again, I’m not even sure why I loved it so much =))

  12. simpletonbill “Is anything in business worth dying for?” 20 Leadership Quotes from Gordon Gekko and Wall Street http://wp.me/pVReH-sh via @BrianKDodd

  13. I think that is an interesting point, it made me think a bit. Thanks for sparking my thinking cap. Sometimes I get so much in a rut that I just feel like a record.

  14. Thank you for the advice. I’ve found your first point to be most effective.

  15. Always love to post a comment, I can’t help it ! Thanks Alina 🙂

  16. First I want to say thanks for reading the post and taking time to comment. Second, thanks for your help on this as the correction is made. I hope to hear from you again in the future. Have a great evening, Brian

  17. Thanks for sharing. Share is caring after all.

  18. lr3031 @BrianKDodd 20 #Leadership #Quotes from Gordon Gekko and Wall Street: http://wp.me/pVReH-sh #education #movies #leaders #women #newtwitter

  19. topsurf RT @BrianKDodd: 20 #Leadership #Quotes from Gordon Gekko and Wall Street: http://wp.me/pVReH-sh #education #movies #leaders #newtwitter

  20. Packer_News RT @briankdodd 20 #Leadership #Quotes from Gordon Gekko and Wall Street: http://wp.me/pVReH-sh gr8 for #movies #leaders #pastors #fath…

  21. Thank you for your email. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Can you tell me what you found interesting? Brian


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