'The Godfather' Trilogy's Greatest Quotes for Entrepreneurs

The title of Francis Ford Coppola’s new tome is nothing if not truth in advertising: The Godfather Notebook is a compilation of the director’s thoughts, stage directions and observations he scribbled during the filming of the 1973 best picture winning masterpiece.

Here's a look at Coppola's heavily-annotated copy of Mario Puzo's novel to give you a glimpse of the level of detail he poured into converting the Godfather book into a cinematic masterpiece: 

the-godfather-trilogys-greatest-quotes-for-entrepreneurs photo 1

And since “an offer he can’t refuse” has been repeated ad nauseam in every hacky review of Coppola's otherwise entertaining stocking stuffer, we thought it’d be nice to shed some light on the lesser-known life (and business!) lessons within his three-part saga, (four if you count the Modern Family tribute.) 

On negotiating

“Luca Brasi held a gun to his head and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.” -- Michael Corleone, Book I 

On health benefits

“I’d give 4 million just to be able to take a piss without it hurting.” -- Hyman Roth, Book II

On risk variables

“In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns.” -- Calo, Book I 

On pivoting

“I’ve lost the lust for women and now my mind is clear.” -- Don Altobello, Book III

On getting ahead in business without really dying

“If history has taught us anything, it’s that you can kill anybody.” -- Michael Corleone, Book II 

On cause and effect

“You touch my sister again, I’ll kill you.” -- Sonny Corleone, Book I

On unexpected growth 

“You know Michael, now that you’re so respectable, I think you’re more dangerous than ever.” -- Kay Corleone, Book III 

On healthy competition

“I don’t feel like I have to wipe everyone out, Tom. Just my enemies.” -- Michael Corleone, Book II 

On strategizing

“Never hate your enemies, it affects your judgment.” -- Michael Corleone, Book III 

On consulting

“Never tell anyone outside the family what you are thinking again.” -- Vito Corleone, Book I 

On business planning

“I don’t want anything to happen to [my brother, Fredo,] while his mother’s alive.” -- Michael Corleone, Book II

On investment goals 

“And may your first child be a masculine child.” -- Luca Brasi, Book I

On life-work balance

“Don’t ask me about my business, Kay.” -- Michael Corleone, Book I

the-godfather-trilogys-greatest-quotes-for-entrepreneurs photo 2

Bill Schulz

Bill Schulz is the former co-host of Fox News Channel's late-night panel show "Red Eye", current New York Times columnist on local museums, and permanent Leo (who still acts like a total Sagittarius).

Read more

Relax 'The Godfather' Trilogy's Greatest Quotes for Entrepreneurs stories

10 Secrets to Great Wealth

Nobody ever got ahead by doing what everyone else is doing. That includes reading articles like this one.

More stories