Choose Thinking: A Blog by Dan Gilbert

“For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”

- Rudyard Kipling

December 20, 2010

25 Things I've Learned in 25 Years

Our Quicken Loans family celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. For a quarter century, Quicken Loans has helped more than one million American families in all 50 states realize the dream of homeownership.

In the past quarter century, I have made my share of mistakes and have learned a few things along the way as well.

At a recent all company “huddle,” I gave a 29 minute talk to more than 4,000 of our team members in downtown Detroit, where I presented, “25 things I’ve learned in 25 years.”

For better or for worse, here they are.

Hope you enjoy them…

-Dan G.


Comic Sans…

If you don’t like it, then don’t frickin’ read it.


Throw a curveball once in a while and your fastball will work WAYYY better.


Silo thinking is poison.


Things aren’t always as they seem…



The difference between poison and medicine is the dose.


Spreadsheets measure.

They do NOT create.


Winning the hard stuff does not make the easy stuff easy.


You don’t choose the cards.

Play the ones you have been dealt.


Give what the greedy man won’t

and you will get what the greedy man wants.


Write it down.


The one who tells you there is food on your face is your friend.


You now need 5 things to survive…

1. Air

2. Food

3. Water

4. Shelter

5. Technology


If your ideas are any good,

you’re gonna have to shove them down people’s throats.


The price of knowing is too high.


Nothing clarifies like clarity.


You affect the outcome.

(If you choose to do so, that is.)


There is always a plan B.

Find it.


The answers are easy.

Asking the right questions is the hard part.


Melt the “Abominable NO-man”

or be frozen forever.


Simplify it and you will be paid a lot of dough.


Building anything great is messy.


You can’t go WRONG

doing the RIGHT thing.


What’s the name of the cleaning person?

Better find out.


We are in the Downtown Detroit and Cleveland rebuilding business…

And business is a-boomin!!!


The words need music.

Posted by: in Business & Entrepreneurship | Comments (10)


  • Comment by Gregory — January 22, 2011 @ 6:43 pm:


    I hope my email finds you in the best of spirit, mind and health.
    From my spirit to yours–THANKS

    The Cavaliers are going through your (#5) I’m with you and all that BELIEVE and hope you know that!
    I know it is not just a Dream to you, I can see and know your WORK to make things happen–Casinos, Quicken Loans, Fathead and others including the CAVALIERS–Thanks once again and my Best to Coach Byron Scott , the Cavs Team and the CAVS Organization/FAMILY.



  • Comment by A.J. — February 5, 2011 @ 12:00 am:

    Is your #9 a practical joke?

  • Comment by Brian Bartes — May 20, 2011 @ 12:02 pm:

    Great post, Dan!

    I especially like numbers 4, 7, 10, and 17. I wish I had read this post before publishing my book, Life Lessons: A Guide to Creating and Living Your Best Life, so I oculd’ve included a couple of them as quotes.

    I’ll definitely post a couple of these nuggets on my blog, though (with full attribution, of course).

    Thanks for believing in Detroit, and for putting money (and jobs) where your mouth is. The City is better because of your commitment.

    Kind regards,

  • Comment by Orlando — June 13, 2011 @ 2:50 am:

    Thanks for sharing what you have learned. I really appreciate #13 – “If your ideas are any good,you’re gonna have to shove them down people’s throats.” It reminds me that if you don’t let people know who you are and what you’re about then it could be the best kept secret. Marketing works on all levels of life, not just sales.

  • Comment by Kevin — May 16, 2012 @ 12:29 am:

    What does number 1 mean to you Dan? Just having trouble understanding it.

  • Comment by Tonia — April 18, 2013 @ 11:04 pm:

    Dan Gilbert you help inspire me to be the greatest i can be! thank you!

  • Comment by Homepage: — February 8, 2014 @ 4:28 am:

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  • Comment by R. Scott Repinski — May 3, 2014 @ 9:54 pm:


    I am an avid fan of Dan Gilbert’s insightful postings and enjoy seeing his progressive efforts in Detroit and Cleveland. Keep it up!

    Just like to expand on his Number 14 – Things Needed to Survive: Don’t forget about money. The need for money is not greed. The need for money to obtain food, shelter, water, education, health, protection is fundamental to survival. Money is essentially the energy we need to operate our lives, nothing more nothing less. We all must know how to control and understand our money if we are to survive with minimal suffering (which is why all business use accountants, no money = no business).

    The need of “Technology” for survival. Darwin said the single most important factor for the survival of any creature is not the smartest or the most intelligent or the strongest. Its the ability to adapt to change. Remember technology is not always better. “New” is not always Better”, “Fast & Easy” is not always “Smarter”. My favorite tool is still a yellow pencil with the eraser on top. We can’t forget to plug in our brains in the morning. That being said, technology is the key driver for most changes happening in the world today so you better understand technology (the good and the bad) or else.

    Best regards,


  • Comment by photographer dallas — September 6, 2014 @ 2:43 pm:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will
    be waiting for your next write ups thanks once again.

  • Comment by Reggie Cason — September 16, 2014 @ 7:41 am:

    You are my idol Dan, I believe that what you are doing for the city of Detriot is profound to a magnitude that is unmeasurable. One day I hope to be like you in some way!

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