Helen Gurley Brown’s Best Quotes for SUCCESS

UPDATED: June 24, 2024
PUBLISHED: August 14, 2012

In the most powerful sense of the word, Helen Gurley Brown was an editrix like no other. The pioneering magazine editor died Monday, Aug. 13, at the age of 90.

In her last interview with SUCCESS magazine in 2008, she described a 1960s world that modern women wouldn’t recognize. Secretaries couldn’t use the front lobby stairs, women were expected to marry in their early 20s, and writing positions were nearly all reserved for men–women could dabble in the society column, and not much else.

Never at a loss for words, Gurley Brown famously said, “Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.” Here are 5 more favorites:


On Talent

“Feeling insecure is good for you. It forces you to do something better, drives you to use all your talents.”

On Success

“I hope I have convinced you / the only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is the willingness to work very, very hard.”

On Men

“Don’t use men to get what you want in life. Get it for yourself.”

On Money

“Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.”

On Appearance

“Beauty can’t amuse you, but brainwork – reading, writing, thinking – can”


How do you interpret Helen Gurley Brown’s message for women? Empowering or salacious? Discuss with the SUCCESS community.

Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the former director of digital content and social media for SUCCESS.com. Before joining SUCCESSmagazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.