A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 11, 2014
“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare”

"Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare” is a business saying that has been printed on many images. “Vision without action is a dream” was printed in a 1920 newspaper, and “Vision Without Action is a Dream” was the title of a lecture in 1923.

The saying was popularized by Joel A. Barker, who said in the video The Power of Vision (1990):

“A vision without action is merely a dream. Action without a vision is just passing time. However, a vision with action can change the world.”

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. — JAPANESE PROVERB” was published in the book Multinational Direct Marketing: The Methods and the Markets (1995) by Richard Nelson Miller. Although this has frequently been cited as a Japanese proverb, no Japanese source has been found.

“Vision without execution is hallucination” is a variation that has been cited since 1995.


Wikiquote: Japanese proverbs
Disputed
Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
. Japanese proverb, as quoted in Civilization’s Quotations : Life’s Ideal (2002) by Richard Alan Krieger, p. 280

JoelBarker.com
Joel’s Bio
Joel Barker was the first person to popularize the concept of paradigm shifts in the corporate world
(...)
In 1990, he released his second video, The Power of Vision. This became his second best seller and has also been translated into more than a dozen languages.

25 May 1920, Lincoln (NE) Daily Star, pg. 11, col. 8 ad:
We dream of our Home of the future but we hesitate to act.

We are dreamers rather than doers. Vision is a marvelous characteristic but vision without action never resulted in anything but Air Castles.
(Woods Bros. Company, Real Estate Dept.—ed.)

27 August 1920, The Daily Republican (Burlington, KS), pg. 4, col. 6 ad:
Vision without action is a dream, because you are sure to wake up when it is too late.—ACT—DO IT NOW.
(Haines & Stocks car dealership.—ed.)

23 February 1923, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Possible to Strengthen One’s Will, Class Decides,” pg. 9, col. 6:’
“Ideas without emotions are useless; action without ideas is futile and ideas without action are equally undesirable. Thought procrastination retards the progress of the world.”
(Spoken by Dr. George J. Fisher.—ed.)

13 September 1923, Charlotte (NC) Observer, “Kuester, of Charlotte, Speaks in Rutherford,” pg. 4, col. 6: 
His subject was, “Vision Without Action is a Dream.”

August 1991, Choral Journal (Lawton, OK), “Vision for the 1990s,” by Diana J. Leland, pg. 33, col. 1:
Joel Barker, a futurist and presenter of his latest video titled “The Power of Vision,” said the following: “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action an change the world.”

Google Books
Guide of Soul and Mind:
The Story of Anderson University

By Barry L. Callen
Anderson, IN: Anderson University and Warner Press
1992
Pg. 399:
On that occasion he quoted futurist Joel Barker as having said wisely: “A vision without action is merely a dream. Action without a vision is just passing time. However, a vision with action can change the world.”

21 September 1992, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Rear admiral’s success due to vision, not color” by James Hill, sec. 2, pg. 2, col. 3:
‘“Leadership provides a vision,” (Rear Admiral Mark—ed.) Gaston said. “Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is a waste of time. But action and vision is power.”

Google Books
Vision and Values in Managing Education:
Successful Leadership Principles and Practice

By Judith Bell and Bernard T. Harrison
London, UK: David Fulton Publishers
1995
Pg. X:
Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action changes the world.
Barker, J.A. (1990) The Power of Vision. Minnesota: Charthouse International (video)

Google Books
Multinational Direct Marketing:
The Methods and the Markets

By Richard Nelson Miller
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1995
Pg. 1:
Vision without action is a daydream.
Action without vision is a nightmare. — JAPANESE PROVERB

Google Groups: soc.culture.japan
Help with un-translating Japanese proverbs
TANAKA Tomoyuki
7/19/96
>Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.

this is not Japanese.  it doesn’t seem Chinese either.

3 June 1997, Aberdeen (SD) Daily News, “Why Leadership Training Matters” by Lori Cope, Progress (Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce), pg. 3, col. 2:
A futurist speaker, Joel Barker sums it all up when he says “Vision without action is merely a dream, action without vision just passes time, but vision with action can change the world.”

Google Books
Export Today
Volume 8
1999
Pg. 52:
The Japanese have a proverb: “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”

Google Books
The Money Answer Book:
Quick Answers to Your Everyday Financial Questions

By Dave Ramsey
Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson
2004
Pg. ?:
Vision without action is a daydream.
Action without vision is a nightmare.
JAPANESE PROVERB

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Tuesday, February 11, 2014 • Permalink