Distinguished Colleagues, Dear Friends,


This is my twelfth progress report after 365 days as your President. Note that previous reports are on the ISSMGE web site ( under “From the President” if you need them. One year ago exactly you elected me in Alexandria to be your President. I wish to tell you how much I have enjoyed working with you, working for you, sharing my thoughts, and hearing your thoughts  while continuing to improve our professional family. Thanks to the help of many of you, we have made great strides and I could use this anniversary to review the progress of the Society in the form of a “year in review” or a “state of the society” address but I will not. Instead I would like to share some philosophical thoughts which have helped me go through tough times and have helped me be a better person. Feel free to share any guiding principles that have helped you in your life. I thought it would be OK to have at least one progress report centered on life as a whole rather than just our professional activities. I do not always know the author of those thoughts so I cannot give credit in many instances. As always, I welcome all thoughts.


  1. Have the courage to change the things you can change, the discipline to accept those you cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.
  2. There are 6 billion people in this world; everyone thinks differently yet everyone thinks that they are right. It takes communication, patience, understanding, and compromise to get along.
  3. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Richard Kistner
  4. Things should be made as simple as possible but not any simpler than that. Albert Einstein
  5. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein
  6. Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever quit. Jimmy Valvano as he is dying of cancer.
  7. Learn from the past but most importantly concentrate on the next point.
  8. Good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment. So learn from the bad judgment of others, you don’t  have time to make all the mistakes yourself.
  9. Do not be afraid to challenge even the most established concepts. Arvid Landva
  10. The harder you work, the luckier you get. My father.
  11. All the shots that you do not take, do not go in. Wayne Gretzky
  12. Behind every difficulty, there is an opportunity.
  13. The race for quality has no finish line.
  14. Nothing happens unless first a dream.
  15. Save money while you are young. The compounding effect of money over the long term is very significant.  Janet Briaud
  16. Anger is one letter away from danger. Being unpleasant to someone may give you a few seconds of pleasure but days of agony.
  17. Some people may hate you but they only win if you hate them back. Richard Nixon as he leaves the White House
  18. You should do things as if everyone will know about it.
  19. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
  20. Early bird gets the worm but second mouse gets the cheese.
  21. Do not worry or stress, simply concentrate and prepare.
  22. If you worry about a situation, remember how many times you have faced difficulties and how well you have done overall; this should help convince you that you will do well yet again and stop worrying.
  23. Happiness is a choice


Best wishes,


Jean-Louis BRIAUD
President of ISSMGE
International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering

Professor and Holder of the Buchanan Chair
Zachry Department of Civil Engineering
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas 77843-3136, USA
Tel: 979-8453795
Cell: 979-7771692
Fax: 979-8456554