Ivanka Trump’s Book Cites Nonexistent John Quincy Adams Quote Likely From Daddy’s Tweet

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

We all know Ivanka Trump is daddy’s favorite girl, and he was undoubtedly so proud of her recently published motivational book Women Who Work. After all, the two have a lot in common, including an apparent inherent inability to fact-check and a deep misunderstanding of U.S. presidents.


PolitiFact, a political fact-checking operation run by the Tampa Bay Times, points out that Women Who Work includes an inspiring quote from prolific writer and sixth U.S. President John Quincy Adams.

According to Ivanka, the Adams quote goes like this: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

As PolitiFact notes, it’s not hard to think the quote is attributable to Adams if Google is your only frame of reference. Or, perhaps, if you’re drawing on the deep knowledge passed on by your scholarly father.

But there is no evidence that Adams actually said or wrote this. And the best part of the story is that the quote is strikingly similar to something that Smoky Mountains country–western singer Dolly Parton once apparently said.

PolitiFact writes:

“I’ve never seen that from J. Q. Adams,” said H. W. Brands, a University of Texas at Austin presidential historian and author. “It doesn’t sound like him. He wasn’t the dreamy type.”

Brands continued:

“Adams had a rather crimped view of human nature. He thought most people were rascals. He disliked democracy because he thought it fostered pandering to people’s baser instincts.”


So what did Dolly Parton say? According to Quote Investigator, Parton was quoted in a 1997 book called The Most Important Thing I Know as stating, “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” 

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

John Quincy Adams, Dolly Parton, what’s the difference? It’s a good quote. Good enough for the first daughter’s Trump branding book, at least.

Weekend Editor, Splinter