10 Helen Gurley Brown Quotes Every Woman Should Live By

helen gurley brownHelen Gurley Brown, former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, author of Sex and the Single Girl, icon, feminist, philanthropist, and original star of the real-life Sex in the City, died today at the age of 90. Gurley Brown was married to famous producer David Brown (think Jaws, Cocoon, Driving Miss Daisy, A Few Good Men) and though the couple had no children, Ms. Gurley Brown was mother to many.

She was constantly doling out advice to the young women who worked for her and even those who didn't -- I among them. 


I was lucky enough to have had a "business" lunch with Ms. Brown at the famed 21 Club in New York City with 16 other people. I was recently out of college and very low on the totem pole at a fancy advertising agency. Gurley Brown made it a point to chat with every single person at the luncheon -- especially the young women, especially the "peons." She was gracious, charming, down to earth,  and full of encouragement.  She told us that we should follow our dreams and that we could be anything we wanted to be.

In fact, that's what she herself did. Gurley Brown rose from meager "hillbilly" beginnings to become one of the most successful women in the world -- after years of hard work. She learned a lot along the way and so her words of wisdom were hard won and filled with knowledge.

More from The Stir: 'Cosmopolitan' Editor Helen Gurley Brown Was the Original 'Fun, Fearless Female'

Here, some of her best quotes over the years:

  1. Nearly every glamorous, wealthy, successful career woman you might envy now started out as some kind of schlepp.
  2. Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking you are boring somebody.
  3. Don't use men to get what you want in life. Get it for yourself.
  4. Beauty can't amuse you, but brain work -- reading, writing, thinking -- can.
  5. Feeling insecure is good for you. It forces you to do something better, use all your talents.
  6. If only one of you is in the mood, do it. Even if sex isn’t great every time, it's a unique form of communication and togetherness that can help you stay together with a good degree of contentment.
  7. How could any woman not be a feminist? The girl I’m editing for wants to be known for herself. If that’s not a feminist message, I don’t know what is.
  8. Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.
  9. Marry a decent, good, kind person who will cherish you.
  10. Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere.

 I'm not going to heaven. How about you?

What's your favorite Helen Gurley Brown quote?

Image via Matthew Peyton/Getty

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