"It is a good thing for the uneducated person to read books of quotations. "
"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents
and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents
finally die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. "
"If you take a dog in, feed it, keep it warm, and take care of it, it
will not bite you. This is the principal difference between dog and
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
"The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his
work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body,
his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He
hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of
excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he
is working or playing. To him he is always doing both."
-Zen Philosophy (found in _Head to Head_, L. Thurrow)
The man who built it, doesn't need it;
The man who bought it, doesn't use it;
The man who owns it, doesn't know it.
(What is it, man?)"
-Anonymous (found in _Letters from GeoTeX_, A. Ramos)
"Children need encouragement. So when a kid gets an answer right, tell
him it was a lucky guess. That way, the child develops a good, lucky
"When I see a creature crawl out from under the furniture, run across
the room, and leap at my friend's neck, I laugh, because, what is
that thing? "
"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies."
"To invent, you need good imagination and a pile of junk."
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all
progress depends on the unreasonable man."
"The reason that God was able to create the world in seven days is
that he didn't have to worry about the installed base."
"To know recursion, you must first know recursion."
"Let no one tell me that silence gives consent, because whoever is
silent dissents. "
-Maria Isabel Barreno
"Obviousness is always the enemy of correctness. "
"The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the
style at the time. "
"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice, but in
practice, there is. "
"God didn't create the world in seven days. He rested for six and
then pulled an all nighter. "
"When they took the fourth amendment, I was silent because I don't
deal drugs. When they took the sixth amendment, I kept quiet because
I know I'm innocent. When they took the second amendment, I said
nothing because I don't own a gun. Now they've come for the first
amendment, and I can't say anything at all. "
"An atheist doesn't have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that
there can't be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the
evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on
the were-wolf question. "
"Perfection is attained, not when there is nothing left to add, but
when there is nothing left to take away. "
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Few things are less comforting than a tiger who's up too late. "
"There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale
returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. "
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them
down? We might, if they screamed all of the time for no apparent
"The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit. "
-W. Somerset Maugham
"I am afraid of people with too much charm. They devour you. In the
end you are made a sacrifice to the exercise of their fascinating
gift and their insincerity."
-W. S. Maugham (From _The Gentleman in the Parlour_)
"In a word, many did count me for a wit-less madman, while I held all
for fools in their wits. And to my thinking this is still the way of
the world, for each one is content with his own wits and esteemeth
that he is of all men the cleverest. "
"In the popular treatise, whatever shreds of the science are allowed
to appear, are exhibited in an exceedingly diffuse and attenuated
form, apparently with the hope that the mental faculties of the
reader, though they would reject any stronger food, may insensibly
become saturated with scientific phraseology, provided it is diluted
with a sufficient quantity of more familiar language. The loss
implied in such an acquisition can be estimated only by those who
have been compelled to unlearn a science that they might at length
begin to learn it.
The technical treatises do less harm, for no one ever reads them
except under compulsion. From the establishment of the general
equations to the end of the book, every page is full of symbols with
indices and suffixes, so that there is not a paragraph of plain
English on which the eye may rest. "
"GNU Emacs is a LISP operating system disguised as a word processor. "
"Of all manifestations of power, restraint impresses men most. "
"It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument."
-W. G. McAdoo
"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; staying
together is success. "
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will
not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius
will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not;
the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and
determination alone are omnipotent. "
"A friend you call to help you move. A true friend you call to help
you move a body. "
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."
"A dog is just a dog. Until he looks at you. Then he's Mr. Dog."
"Eventually everyone has to die, except Elvis. "
"Gentlemen, if we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure. "
"10. Subtraction: Addition's tricky pal"
-David Letterman's Top 10 Classes at a Football Factory
"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of
"Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to
"If I were to read, much less to answer all the attacks made on me,
this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the
very best I know how- the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing
so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said
against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong,
ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference. "
-Abraham Lincoln, reported by Francis B. Carpenter
"I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who
it is for or against. I'm a human being first and foremost, and as
such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole. "
"Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits."
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of
chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course
others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
"One must learn by doing the thing; for though you think you know it,
you have no certainty until you try."
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We know accurately only when we know little;
with knowledge doubt increases. "
"The end does not justify the means. The end is the sum of the means,
as the road traveled determines the destination."
-Eluki bes Shahar (In _Darktraders_)
"Life would be much easier to understand if mother nature gave us the
source code. "
"If you enjoy sausage and respect the law, you should avoid watching
either one being made. "
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
-Anonymous (perhaps Douglas Adams?)
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on
life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more
important than the past, than education, than money, than
circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people
think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness
or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The
remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude
we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot
change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change
the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we
have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10%
what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with
you... we are in charge of our attitudes. "
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
"Philosophy is an unusually ingenious attempt to think fallaciously."
"Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where
the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."
-Chief Joseph (Nez Perce Indians)
"The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before
you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him
shrouded in tears, and to gather in your bosom his wives and
"A stranger and afraid
In a world I never made."
-A. E. Housman
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
"The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a
suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for
life. For this task it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it
finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain anymore so
it eats it. It's rather like getting tenure. "
"An ill-chosen word is the fool's messenger."
"The problem with America today is that everyone is responsible for
everyone else's actions, but nobody is responsible for their own. "
"A man sits with a pretty woman for an hour and it seems shorter than
a minute. But tell that same man to sit on a hot stove for a minute,
it is longer than any hour. That's relativity. "
"If you beat the Man, who was the Man, then you're the Man."
"The primary function of written communication is to facilitate
-Levi-Strauss (thanks to sgs)
"Too bad when I was a kid there wasn't a guy in our class that
everybody called the Cricket Boy, because I would have liked to stand
up in class and tell everybody, You can make fun of the Cricket Boy
if you want to, but to me he's just like everybody else. Then
everybody would leave the Cricket Boy alone, and I'd invite him over to
spend the night at my house, but after about five minutes of that
loud chirping I'd have to kick him out. Maybe later we could get up
a petition to get the Cricket Family run out of town.
Bye, Cricket Boy."
"If I lived in the Wild West days, instead of carrying a six-gun in my
holster, I'd carry a soldering iron. That was if some smart-aleck
cowboy said something like, Hey look. He's carrying a soldering iron!
and started laughing, and everybody else started laughing, I could
just say, That's right, it's a soldering iron. The soldering iron of
justice. Then everyone would get real quiet and ashamed, because they
made fun of the soldering iron of justice, and I could probably hit
them up for a free drink. "
"Sometimes when I feel like killing someone, I do a little trick to
calm myself down. I'll go over to the person's house and ring the
doorbell. When the person comes to the door, I'm gone, but you know
what I've left on the porch? A jack-o'-lantern with a knife in the
side of its head, with a note that says You. After that, I usually
feel a lot better, and no harm done."
"We were put on this Earth to help others. Why others were put here is
beyond me. "
-W. H. Auden
"From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs. "
"Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet them
than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years. "
"In many college English courses the words `myth' and `symbol' are
given a tremendous charge of significance. You just ain't no good
unless you can see a symbol hiding, like a scared gerbil, under every
page. And in many creative writing courses the little beasts
multiply, the place swarms with them. What does this Mean? What
does that Symbolize? What is the Underlying Mythos? Kids come
lurching out of such courses with a brain full of gerbils. And they
sit down and write a lot of empty pomposity, under the impression
that that's how Melville did it. "
-Ursula K. LeGuin
"There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn."
"There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must
be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to
begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a
moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As
the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced
proportionately. When the affection *is* the entertainment, we no
longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be
"Programmers are always surrounded by complexity; we cannot avoid
it.... If our basic tool, the language in which we design and code
our programs, is also complicated, the language itself becomes part
of the problem rather than part of its solution. "
-C. A. R. Hoare (1980 Turing Award Lecture)
"Soccer is a gentleman's game played by hooligans. Rugby is a
hooligan's game played by gentlemen."
"Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden
hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for
they are gone forever. "
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
"The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of
enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is
that he wants to believe. "
"With great power comes great responsibility."
"Should one ask anybody who is undertaking a major project in science,
in the heat of the fight, what drives and pushes him so
relentlessly, he will never think of an external goal; it is the
passion of the hunter... "
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad."
-Raphael Sabatini (In _Scaramouche_)
"The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on
an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our
business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land. "
-Thomas H. Huxley
"This topic [the importance of individuality] brings me to that worst
out-crop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor.
That a man can take pleasure in marching to the strains of a band is
enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain
by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of
civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism
by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that
goes by the name of patriotism-- how I hate them! War seems to me a
mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than
take part in such an abominable business. And yet so high, in spite
of everything, is my opinion of the human race that I believe this
bogey would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of the
nations not been systematically corrupted by commercial and political
interests acting through the schools and the press. "
-Albert Einstein (from The World As I See It, pp. 4-5.)
"I may not get there with you, but I believe that we as a people will
someday reach the promised land."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
"It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves
honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings."
"Let no man pull you so low as to make you hate him."
-Booker T. Washington
"You can do more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind
"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
"Music is the space between the notes."
"To attain knowledge, add things every day.
To attain wisdom, remove things every day."
"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their
-Ken Olsen (1977)
"When someone does a good job, applaud; it makes two people happy."
"Both triumph and disaster are impostors."
"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not
certain; as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
"The Riddle we can guess / We speedily despise---
Not anything is stale so long / As Yesterday's surprise---"
"May you live in interesting times."
"All happy families resemble one another; each unhappy family is
unhappy in its own way. "
-Leo Tolstoy (from Anna Karenina)
"The exploitation of graduate students in American universities is the
mental equivalent of the old sweatshops, long endured in silent agony by
-Martin Anderson (from _Imposters in the Temple_)
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
"Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer
falls into the pit which he digs for another."
"Got to eat. Got to keep my strength up, at the conference, so I can
be perky when I give my talk. You want to sound as perky and
enthusiastic as possible, at a conference, so your listening audience
won't suspect that you really, deep down inside, don't want to talk
about your thesis topic ever ever ever ever again. You have come to
hate your thesis. Back at he beginning, you kind of liked it, but now
you think of it as a large repulsive insect that cheerful hosts keep
hauling out and sticking in your face, asking you to pet."
-Dave Barry (on what the last year of grad school will be like)
"Luck is preparation meeting opportunity."
"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem
so wonderful after all."
"Vision is the art of seeing things invisible. "
"Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an
exact man. "
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of wise men; seek what they sought."
"If you are 18 and not a liberal, you have no heart;
If you are 38 and not a conservative, you have no brain."
"We are born with our eyes closed and our mouths open, and we spend
our whole lives trying to reverse that mistake of nature."
-Dale E. Turner
"Not everything worth doing is worth doing well."
"Visitors give us pleasures. Some when they arrive; others when they
"Silence is the perfect herald of joy."
-Shakespeare (Much Ado About Nothing)
"While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, another is busy
making mistakes and becoming superior."
-Henry C. Link
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small
people always do that. The really great make you feel that you, too,
can become great."
"Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once."
-William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)
"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either
charming or tedious. "
"Neither genius, fame, nor love show the greatness of the soul. Only
kindness can do that. "
-Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
"Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire."
"To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key
opens the gates of hell. "
"When facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."
"...it doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter
how smart you are -- if it doesn't agree with experiment, it's
-Richard P. Feynman
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that
something else is more important than fear."
"Beware of small expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship."
"You cannot paint Mona Lisa by assigning one dab each to a thousand
-William F. Buckley, Jr. (on parallelism?)
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing
your temper or your self-confidence."
"But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think."
"The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas."
"The only thing one can do with good advice is to pass it on. It is
never of any use to oneself."
"No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings."
"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."
"Observe that for the programmer, as for the chef, the urgency of the
patron may govern the scheduled completion of the task, but it cannot
govern the actual completion. An omelette, promised in two minutes,
may appear to be progressing nicely. But when it has not set in two
minutes, the customer has two choices -- wait or eat it raw. Software
customers have had the same choices."
-Fred Brooks, Jr. (thanks to keith v.)
"Religion keeps the poor from murdering the rich."
"If triangles had a God, he would have 3 sides."
"The worst of all deceptions is self-deception."
"The lust for comfort murders the passions of the soul."
"There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish
things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first
group is less crowded."
"War is politics with bloodshed,
Politics is war without bloodshed."
"He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened."
"If you want truly to understand something, try to change it."
"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing
"Intellect is the ability to avoid belaboring the obvious."
-Alfred Bester (from _The Demolished Man_)
"Pay no attention to what the critics say; no statue has ever been
erected to a critic. "
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned
skyward; for there you have been, there you long to return."
-Leonardo Da Vinci
"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true
"Maturity is the ability to see the beauty in anyone."
"Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward
together in the same direction."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"He looked at the granite. To be cut, he thought, and made into
walls... He looked at a streak of rust on the stone and thought of
iron ore under the ground. To be melted and to emerge as girders
against the sky. These rocks, ... are here for me; waiting for the
drill, the dynamite, and my voice; waiting to be split, ripped,
pounded, reborn; waiting for the shape my hands will give them."
-Ayn Rand from _The Fountainhead_ (thanks to keith vetter)
"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always
declares that it is his duty."
-George Bernard Shaw
"There is nothing so bad or so good that you will not find an Englishman
doing it; but you will never find an Englishman in the wrong. He does
everything on principle. He fights you on patriotic principles; he robs you
on business principles; he enslaves you on imperial principles."
-George Bernard Shaw
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"When professors want your opinion, they'll give it to you."
-Anonymous (must have been a grad student)
"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words
when one will do. "
"Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you are at it."
"It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot,
irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is
known, but to question it."
-J. Bronowski (from _The Ascent of Man_)
"If I listen, I have the advantage. If I speak, the others have it."
"Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress."
-Thomas A. Edison
"When you see something that is technically sweet you go ahead and do it."
"Technological possibilities are irresistible to man. If man can go to
the moon, he will. If he can control the climate, he will."
-John von Neumann
"Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is
ugliness. All can know good as good only because there is
evil. Therefore having and not having arise together. Difficult and
easy complement each other. Long and short contrast each other. High
and low rest upon each other. Voice and sound harmonize each
other. Front and back follow one another. "
-Lao-tzu from _Tao Te Ching_ (Vintage Books, 1972)
"More is revealed from a lie believed
than any truth that is conceived."
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."
"There are three ways to ruin yourself -- gambling, women, and
technology. Gambling is the fastest. Women are the most
pleasurable. Technology is the most certain. "
-George Pompidou (thanks to steverod)
"My heroes are Larry Bird, Admiral Byrd, Lady Bird, Sheryl Crow, Chick
Corea, the inventor of birdseed, and anyone who reads to you even if
she's tired. "
-Big Bird (in response to a Life magazine poll on heroes)
"Probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than some sort of
striking surface attached to the end of a long stick. "
"If it is fast and ugly, they will use it and curse you;
if it is slow, they will not use it."
-David Cheriton in _The Art of Computer Systems Performance Analysis_
"Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny."
"Only when people learn to converse will they begin to be equal."
-Theodore Zeldin in _An Intimate History of Humanity_
"Theories come and go, but fundamental data always remains."
"All invention and progress comes from finding a link between two
ideas that have never met."
-Theodore Zeldin in _An Intimate History of Humanity_
"Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes. "
"My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people:
those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to
try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. "
"Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the
victims he intends to eat until he eats them. "
"Design is choice. The theory of the visual display of quantitative
information consists of principles that generate design options and
that guide choices among options. The principles should not be
applied rigidly or in a peevish spirit; they are not logically or
mathematically certain; and it is better to violate any principle
than to place graceless or inelegant marks on paper. Most principles
should be greeted with some skepticism, for word authority can
dominate our vision, and we may come to see only through the lenses
of word authority rather than with our own eyes.
What is to be sought in designs for the display of information is the
clear portrayal of complexity. Not the complication of the simple;
rather the task of the designer is to give visual access to the
subtle and the difficult -- that is, the revelation of the complex."
-Edward Tufte in _The Visual Display of Quantitative Data_
"No matter how far you've gone down the wrong road, turn back."
"There is no great beauty that hath not some strangeness to the proportion. "
"Genius is eternal patience. "
"An experimental science is supposed to perform experiments that find
generalities. It's not just supposed to tally up a long list of
individual cases and their unique life histories. That's butterfly
-Richard C. Lewontin
"Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our
grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. "
"This is the true measure of love,
When we believe that we alone can love,
That no one could ever have loved so before us,
And that no one will ever love in the same way after us."
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the
intelligent are full of doubt. "
"Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. "
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than
you need. "
-Kahlil Gibran (in _Sand and Foam_)
"Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their
-Martin H. Fischer
"If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of
yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us."
"Probably, indeed, the larger part of the labor of an author composing
his work is critical labor; the labor of sifting, combining,
constructing, expunging, correcting, testing. This frightful toil is
as much critical as creative. "
-T.S. Eliot (in essay titles _The Function of Criticism_)
"In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place. "
"Allah gives and forgives,
Man gets and forgets."
-Bumper Sticker, New York City (courtesy of one or more of the Hellersteins)
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;
that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."
-H.D. Thoreau (_Walden_)
"True education makes for inequality; the inequality of individuality,
the inequality of success, the glorious inequality of talent, of
genius; for inequality, not mediocrity, individual superiority, not
standardization, is the measure of the progress of the world.""
-Felix Schelling (_Pedagogically Speaking_)
"I hope, there will be no Reason to doubt; Particularly, that where I
am not understood, it shall be concluded, that something very useful
and profound is coucht underneath. "
"No one can write decently who is distrustful of the reader's
intelligence, or whose attitude is patronizing. "
"Every great movement must experience three stages:
ridicule, discussion, adoption. "
-John Stuart Mill
"All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. "
"A good scientist is a person with original ideas.
A good engineer is a person who makes a design
that works with as few original ideas as possible.
There are no prima donnas in engineering."
-Freeman Dyson (from _Disturbing the Universe_)
"I've heard people say that the trouble with the world is that we
haven't enough great leaders. I think we haven't enough great
followers. I have stood side by side with great thinkers -- surgeons,
engineers, economists; people who deserve a great following -- and
have heard the crowd cheer me instead."
-Babe Ruth (N.Y. Yankees, August 1933)
"Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is
mere intellectual play. "
"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them
to become what they are capable of being. "
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"If others would think as hard as I did, then they would get similar
-Sir Isaac Newton
"Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be
first overcome. "
"There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know
how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming. "
"A + B + C = Success if, A = Hard Work, B = Hard Play, C = Keeping
your mouth shut. "
"To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Always do what you are afraid to do."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Our lives are shaped not as much by our experiences as by our expectations. "
-George Bernard Shaw
"The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. "
-Amos Bronson Alcott
"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle. "
"apologize, v.i.: To lay the foundation for a future offence. "
-Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1906)
"If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague."
"What can anyone give you greater than now"
"Have no friends not equal to yourself. "
-Confucius (551-497 BC)
"Everything has been thought of before;
the problem is to think of it again."
"Expectations are powerful, self-fulfilling prophecies."
-Hornbeck, 1992 (courtesy Mehul)
"Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to
make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be
done, whether you like it or not. "
"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even
how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what
you know and what you don't."
"An advisor is someone who shakes you up, without jerking you around."
-Anonymous (courtesy K. Mayer-Patel)
"Write the bad things that are done to you in the sand, but write the good
things that happen to you on a piece of marble. "
"A mind all logic is like a knife all blade:
it bleeds the hand that holds it. "
"Common sense it not so common."
"This playing with words, this hiding of a secret, had a great fascination
for her, as indeed it has for all women. And it was not the necessity of
the concealment, not the aim with which the concealment was contrived, but
the process of concealment itself which attracted her."
"Nothing exists but atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion. "
"No matter how tough, no matter what kind of outside pressure, no matter how
many bad breaks along the way, I must keep my eye on the final goal --
to win, to win, to win."
-Billie Jean King
"Critics are to artists as ornithologists are to birds."
"Architects everywhere have recognized the need of ... a tool which may be
put in the hands of creators of form, with the simple aim ... of making the
bad difficult and the good easy."
-Le Corbusier (from _The Modulor_, foreword of 2nd edition)
"Pain is a relative thing."
-H. Paul Beebe
"What is written without effort is, in general, read without pleasure."
"Everything I've stated may prove to be total poppycock.... Perhaps time
will tell. Perhaps time will do nothing of the kind. "
-Don DeLillo (from _Ratner's Star_)
"Any science in which everyone agrees about everything is dead."
"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. "
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."
"Traveler, there is no path. Paths are made by walking."
"I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Man's;
I will not Reason and Compare: my business is to Create."
-William Blake, Jerusalem
"No matter how long the bark stays in water,
it will never turn into a crocodile."
-Old saying of the Fulah
"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you
and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have
an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. "
-George Bernard Shaw
"If the writer does not cry, the reader does not cry."
"There will be no new architecture for computing for the next 1,000 years."
"Who gossips to you will gossip of you."
"The book was seen by its author as a stupid risk, and an ugly thing, and a
betrayal, and overall, a mistake he would regret for the rest of his life
but a mistake which nevertheless he could not refrain from making, and
worse, a mistake he encourages everyone to make, because everyone should
make big, huge mistakes, because a) They don't want you to; b) Because they
haven't the balls themselves and your doing it reminds them of their status
as havers-of-no-balls; c) Because your life is worth documenting; d)
Because if you do not believe your life is worth documenting, or knowing
about, then why are you wasting your time/our time? Our air? e) Because if
you do it right and go straight toward them you like me will write to them,
and will look straight into their eyes when writing, will look straight
into their f___ing eyes, like a person sometimes can do with another
person, and tell them something because even thought you might not know
them well, or at all, and even if you wrote in their books or hugged them
or put your hand on their arm, you still would scarcely know them, but
even so you wrote a book that was really a letter to them, a messy f___ing
letter that you could barely keep a grip on, but a letter you meant, and
a letter you sometimes wish you hadn't mailed, but a letter you are happy
that made it from you to them."
-David Eggers (from _A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius_)
"For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold
its wings but will not fly."
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:
now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known."
-1 Corinthians 13:11-12
"Those who are willing to give up essential liberties to obtain temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but rising every time we fall."
"No pressure, no diamonds."
"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's
ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a
complete standstill today. "
"Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic
hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.
There's also a negative side."
-Hunter S. Thompson
"When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how
to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not
beautiful, I know it is wrong."
-Richard Buckminster Fuller
"It's hard to make something that's interesting... Basically, anything that
anyone makes... It's like a law of nature, a law of aerodynamics, that
anything that's written or anything that's created wants to be mediocre.
The natural state of all writing is mediocrity. It's all tending toward
mediocrity the way that all the atoms are sort of dissipating out toward
the expanse of the universe. Everything wants to be mediocre, so what it
takes to make anything that is more than mediocre is such a f___ing act
of will. You just have to exert so much will into something for it to
-Ira Glass (from an interview in the Onion)
"Never hate your enemies; it clouds your judgement."
-Michael Corleone (from the Godfather 3)
"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference."
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we.
They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country
and our people, and neither do we."
-George W. Bush
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed
in overalls and looks like work."
-C. F. Edison
"In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them. "
-Johann von Neumann
"You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it."
"A true gentleman is one who knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn't."
-R. Acket (thanks to T. Griffin)
"...genuine trust implies the opportunity, of checking wherever it may
be wanted... That is why it is the evidence, the experience itself and
the argument that gives it Order, that we need to share with one another,
and not just the unsupported final Claim."
"I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the
American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone."
-Jack Valenti (late president of the Motion Picture Association of America)
"Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion"
"The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing
that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may
lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss
your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil
lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds.
There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and
what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust,
never alienate, never dream of regretting."
-T. H. White (Once and Future King, Merlin speaking)
"Blame no one. Expect nothing. Do something. "
-Motto of the New York Giants
"I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
"Those who do good science do so because they choose problems that
are suited to them. "
-Lee Smolin (from _The Trouble with Physics_)
"I've had the chance, in the world of mathematics, to meet quite a number of
people, both among my elders and amoung young people in my general age
group, who were much more brilliant, much more "gifted" than I was. I
admired the facility with which they picked up, as if at play, new ideas,
juggling them as if familiar with them from the cradle -- while for myself
I felt clumsy, even oafish, wandering painfully up an arduous track, like a
dumb ox faced with an amorphous mountain of things I had to learn (so I was
assured), things I felt incapable of understanding the essentials or
following through to the end. Indeed, there was little about me that
identified the kind of bright student who wins at prestigious competitions
or assimilates, almost by sleight of hand, the most forbidding subjects.
In fact, most of these comrades who I gauged to be more brilliant than I
have gone on to become distinguished mathematicians. Still, from the
perspective of thirty or thirty-five years, I can state that their imprint
upon the mathematics of our time has not been very profound. They've all
done things, often beautiful things, in a context that was already set out
before them, which they had no inclination to disturb. Without being aware
of it, they've remained prisoners of those invisible and despotic circles
which delimit the universe of a certain milieu in a given era. To have
broken these bounds they would have had to rediscover in themselves that
capability which was their birthright, as it was mine: the capacity to be
"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens."
"Success requires a persistent misreading of the odds."
"The only truly failed project is the one where you didn't learn anything
along the way."
-Jeff Atwood (Coding Horror)
"There is a magic in graphs. The profile of a curve reveals in
a flash a situation wholethe life history of an epidemic, a
panic, or an era of prosperity. The curve informs the mind,
awakens the imagination, convinces.
Graphs carry the message home. A universal language, graphs
convey information directly to the mind. Without complexity
there is imaged to the eye a magnitude to be remembered. Words
have wings, but graphs interpret. Graphs are pure quantity,
stripped of verbal sham, reduced to dimension, vivid, unescapable.
Graphs are all inclusive. No fact is too slight or too great to
plot to a scale suited to the eye. Graphs may record the path of an
ion or the orbit of the sun, the rise of a civilization, or the accelera-
tion of a bullet, the climate of a century or the varying pressure of
a heart beat, the growth of a business, or the nerve reactions of a
The graphic art depicts magnitudes to the eye. It does more.
It compels the seeing of relations. We may portray by simple
graphic methods whole masses of intricate routine, the organization
of an enterprise, or the plan of a campaign. Graphs serve as storm
signals for the manager, statesman, engineer; as potent narratives
for the actuary, statist, naturalist; and as forceful engines of
research for science, technology and industry. They display
results. They disclose new facts and laws. They reveal discoveries
as the bud unfolds the flower.
The graphic language is modern. We are learning its alphabet.
That it will develop a lexicon and a literature marvelous for its
vividness and the variety of application is inevitable.
Graphs are dynamic, dramatic. They may epitomize an epoch,
each dot a fact, each slope an event, each curve a history.
Wherever there are data to record, inferences to draw, or facts
to tell, graphs furnish the unrivalled means whose power we are
just beginning to realize and to apply. "
-Henry D. Hubbard (preface to Graphic Presentation, by W.C. Brinton)
"Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential
things in rationality."
"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the
air. You name them - Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit and you're
keeping all of these in the Air. You will soon understand that work is a
rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four Balls
- Family, Health, Friends and Spirit - are made of glass. If you drop one
of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even
shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive
-Bryan Dyson (CEO, Coca-Cola)
"My name is Stephen Colbert, and tonight it is my privilege to celebrate
this President. Because, we're not so different, he and I. We both get
it. Guys like us, we're not some brainiacs on the nerd patrol.
Were not members of the 'fact'-o-nista. We go straight from the gut.
Right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut.
Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your
head? You can look it up. Now I know some of you are going to say 'I did
look it up and that's not true.' That's cause you looked it up in a
book. Next time, look it up in your gut. "
-Stephen Colbert (2006, White House Correspondents Dinner)
"Imitate nothing except principle."
-Frank Lloyd Wright (1931, Letter to Richard Crews)
"All creativity is an extended form of a joke. Most creativity is a
transition from one context into another where things are more
surprising. There's an element of surprise, and especially in science, there
is often laughter that goes along with the "Aha." Art also has this
element. Our job is to remind us that there are more contexts than the one
that we're in - the one that we think is reality."
-Alan Kay (from ACM Queue, 12/04)
"There is always one thing to be grateful for - that one is one's self and not
"Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high.
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came.
And he pushed.
And they flew."
"We were together. I forget the rest."
"Every significant invention must be startling, unexpected, and must come
into a world that is not prepared for it. If the world were prepared for
it, it would not be much of an invention."
-Edwin H. Land
"We want the Big Ten championship and we're gonna win it as a team.
They can throw out all those great backs and great quarterbacks and
great defensive players throughout the country and in this conference.
But there's gonna be one team that's gonna play solely as a team.
No *man* is more important than the team.
No *coach* is more important than the team.
The team, the team, the team.
And if we think that way, all of us -- everything that you do, you take
into consideration: what effect does it have on my team?
Because you can go into professional football, you go anywhere you want to
play after you leave here -- you will *never* play for a team again.
You'll play for a contract, you'll play for this, you'll play for that,
you'll play for everything except the team.
Now think what a great thing it is to be a part of something that is THE TEAM.
We're gonna win it.
We're gonna win the championship at the end, because we're gonna play as a team.
Better than anybody else in this conference, we're gonna play together as a team.
We're going to believe in each other, we're not going to criticize each other,
we're not going to talk about each other, we're going to *encourage* each other!
And when we play as a team, when the old season is over, you and I know,
it's gonna be Michigan again.
-Bo Schembechler (the "team" speech)
"You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a
situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've,
would've happened... or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move
the f___ on."
"It is comparatively easy to prosper by trickery, the violation of confidence,
oppression of the weak, sharp practices, cutting corners – all of those
methods that we are so tempted to emulate and condone as "business shrewdness."
It is difficult to prosper by the keeping of promises, the delivery of value
in goods and services, honorable deeds and in the meeting of so-called
"shrewdness" with sound merit and good business ethics.
The easy way is slippery and quick – the hard way is arduous and long. But,
as the clock ticks, the easy way becomes harder and the hard way becomes
easier. And as the calendar records the weeks, months and years, it becomes
increasingly evident that the easy way rests hazardously upon shifting sands,
whereas the hard way builds solidly a foundation of confidence and trust that
cannot be swept away.
Thus We Builded
-Colonol Harlan Sanders (KFC)
"If a society does not wage a common struggle to attain a common goal with
its women and men, scientifically there is no way for it to become
civilized or developed."
-Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
"I always say to people, 'No one earns $100 million. You steal $100
million.' People earn $10 an hour. People earn $40,000 a year. Earn means
work. Okay? It doesn't mean steal, which with these vast amounts of money,
of course you steal them. There's also the idea in this country, it's not
wholly new, but it's a kind of purity, in that you have to be really smart
to be really rich. I always say to people, the reason people believe this
is a) they've never met a really smart person, and b) they've never met a
really rich person. I have met both, and I cannot see the crossover. You do
not have to be a genius to get rich. You have to be ruthless."
"You know, one of the things that really hurt Apple was after I left John
Sculley got a very serious disease. It's the disease of thinking that a really
great idea is 90% of the work. And if you just tell all these other people
'here's this great idea,' then of course they can go off and make it happen.
And the problem with that is that there's just a tremendous amount of
craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product. And as you evolve
that great idea, it changes and grows. It never comes out like it starts
because you learn a lot more as you get into the subtleties of it. And you
also find there are tremendous tradeoffs that you have to make. There are just
certain things you can't make electrons do. There are certain things you can't
make plastic do. Or glass do. Or factories do. Or robots do.
Designing a product is keeping five thousand things in your brain and fitting
them all together in new and different ways to get what you want. And every
day you discover something new that is a new problem or a new opportunity to
fit these things together a little differently.
And it's that process that is the magic.
And so we had a lot of great ideas when we started [the Mac]. But what I've
always felt that a team of people doing something they really believe in is
like is like when I was a young kid there was a widowed man that lived up the
street. He was in his eighties. He was a little scary looking. And I got to
know him a little bit. I think he may have paid me to mow his lawn or
And one day he said to me, 'come on into my garage I want to show you
something.' And he pulled out this dusty old rock tumbler. It was a motor and
a coffee can and a little band between them. And he said, 'come on with me.'
We went out into the back and we got just some rocks. Some regular old ugly
rocks. And we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and little bit
of grit powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on and he
said, 'come back tomorrow.'
And this can was making a racket as the stones went around.
And I came back the next day, and we opened the can. And we took out these
amazingly beautiful polished rocks. The same common stones that had gone in,
through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a
little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these
beautiful polished rocks.
That's always been in my mind my metaphor for a team working really hard on
something they're passionate about. It's that through the team, through that
group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having
arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together
they polish each other and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these
really beautiful stones."
"Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either,
you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this
fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I
wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and
if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still
standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't
just another bum from the neighborhood."
-Rocky Balboa (from the movie Rocky)
"Let me tell you something, all of my life people have said to me, 'You're
too small, Pre. You're not fast enough, Pre. Give up your foolish dreams,
Steve.' But you know what, they forgot something: I have to win."
-Steve Prefontaine (in movie Prefontaine)
"The devil frequently fills our thoughts with great schemes, so that instead
of putting our hands to what work we can do ..., we may rest satisfied with
wishing to perform impossibilities."
-Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle
"When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I
realised God doesn't work that way, so I stole one and prayed for
"If you apply experience, dedication, time, creativity, carelessness and
care, study, patience and just tough hard work to standup [comedy], you get
better at it. If you apply all of that to parenting, you get worse. "
"You want it to be one way. But it's the other way."
-Marlo (from the TV show The Wire)
"You come at the king, you best not miss."
-Omar (from the TV show The Wire)
"You want to bury him
bury into the dirt
but you forget
he is a seed."
-Anonymous Poem (origin may be poem by Dinos Christianopoulos)
"I hate quotations. Just tell me what you know!"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson