Fact Check-‘Five balls of life’ quote misattributed to Sundar Pichai

A speech about life being a game of ‘5 balls’ has been falsely attributed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. It appears to come from a 1991 Georgia Tech commencement speech given by former Coca-Cola CEO Brian Dyson.

Facebook posts crediting the speech to Pichai are visible here and here .

The posts borrow portions from “a 60-second speech” which reads, “Imagine life is a game of 5 balls that you manipulate in the air, trying not to fall these balls. One of them is rubber and the rest is glass. The five balls are: work, family, health, friends, soul. It will not be long before you realize that (work) is a rubber ball. Whenever you fall, you will jump again, while the other balls are made of glass. If one of them falls, it will not return to its previous form. It will either be damaged, bruised, cracked, or even scattered. You have to be aware of that and strive for it. Manage your work efficiently during working hours, take the time to be assured of your sincerity, give the necessary time to your family and friends, take appropriate rest, and take care of your health. If you are gone, it isn’t easy to return as it was.”

An online search revealed no credible reports of the speech alleged to be given by Pichai.

A representative for Google told Reuters via email that Sundar Pichai gave no such speech.

The quote appears to be an excerpt from a speech given at a Georgia Tech commencement ceremony on September 6, 1991, by Dyson (here).

The speech is viewable in its entirety in a clipping from The Georgia Tech Whistle here (see final three paragraphs).

Coverage attributing the speech to Dyson can be seen here , here and here .

Representatives for Coca-Cola did not immediately return a Reuters request for comment.


False. A quote on life being like “a game with 5 balls” is misattributed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The quote comes from a 1991 speech by former Coca-Cola CEO Brian Dyson.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .