Themes 2

  • The effort the writer does not put into writing, the reader has to put into reading.
    – Stephen Toulmin
  • For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.
    – H.L. Mencken
  • A theory should not attempt to explain all the facts, because some of the facts are wrong.
    – Francis Crick
  • Science is not about certainty. Science is about finding the most reliable way of thinking, at the present level of knowledge.
    – Carlo Rovelli
  • The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.
    – Gloria Steinem
  • The covers of this book are too far apart.
    – Ambrose Bierce
  • The basic activity of science is confronting ignorance, and often producing more of it.
    – Stuart Firestein
  • The object of mathematics is not certainty. It is explanation.
    – David Deutsch
  • Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.
    – Robert Benchley
  • Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.
    – Robert Hughes
  • Mathematics is the only subject where, once you have proved something, it is true for ever.
    – Marcus du Sautoy
  • Enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?
    – Bette Midler
  • Opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists.
    – Bertrand Russell
  • The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvellously.
    – Henry Kissinger
  • A man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance.
    – Anonymous
  • “Leadership is the ability to engender a following without a means to compel one.”
    – C. Annis
  • An ounce of algebra is worth of a ton of verbal argument.
    – J.B.S. Haldane
  • All my life, I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been more specific.
    – Lily Tomlin
  • An ethicist is someone who sees something wrong with whatever you have in mind.
    – Marvin Minsky
  • There’s so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?
    – Dick Cavett
  • If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?
    – John Cleese
  • Love isn’t love ’til you’ve given it away.
    – Oscar Hammerstein
  • To explode a myth is not to deny the facts, but to re-allocate them.
    – Gilbert Ryle
  • Saying that cultural objects have value is like saying that telephones have conversations.
    – Brian Eno
  • “Taleb Distribution:” Many small gains punctuated by occasional huge losses.
    – John Kay, 16 January, 2003 Financial Times
  • Humans have always found it hard to cope with the idea that every individual has a lifespan even as life itself goes on. The idea of a natural live cycle of a business or industrial centre, is even more difficult to accept.
    – John Kay, 21 August 2013 Financial Times
  • That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.
    – Aldous Huxley
  • Unless you are writing one, a self-help book is an oxymoron.
    – Mohsin Hamid
  • If any past civilization had succeeded in protecting its values, we’d be stuck with values that we would find horrible.
    – Robin Hanson
  • Inevitabilities in history never work out. It’s always something else.
    – Orhan Pamuk
  • The present enables us to understand the past, not the other way round.
    – A.J.P. Taylor
  • Anyone who speaks in the name of others is always an impostor.
    – Emil Cioran
  • At the heart of market thinking is the idea that if two consenting adults have a deal, there is no need for others to figure out whether they valued that exchange properly.
    – Michael Sandel
  • Most of what they call humility is successfully disguised arrogance.
    – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Don’t be so humble – you are not that great.
    – Golda Meir (1898-1978) to a visiting diplomat
  • The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. – Roger “Verbal” Kint in “The Usual Suspects” (1995)
  • Occam’s razor, “Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate” (“Plurality should not be posited without necessity”), is the law of economy or law of parsimony. More colloquially, “Don’t use a more complicated explanation when a simpler one will do the job.” – William of Occam (1285–1347/49)
  • Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats. – Howard Aiken
  • “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.” – Woodrow Wilson
  • “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.”
    – Richard Feynman
  • “If you want something said, ask a man … if you want something done, ask a woman.”
    – Margaret Thatcher (1923-2013)