More Themes

  • 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)
  • “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
    – Margaret Thatcher (1923-2013)
  • The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.
    – paraphrased from a statement by Margaret Thatcher,in a television interview on February 5, 1976.
  • “Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominate, and then it seeks to silence good.”
    – Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia
  • A job not worth doing is not worth doing well.
  • You cannot unsay an unkind word.
  • “The combination of some data and an aching desire for an answer does not ensure that a reasonable answer can be extracted from a given body of data.”
    – John Tukey
  • “Are the effects of A and B different? They are always different – for some decimal place.”
    – John Tukey
  • Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
    – Mark Twain
  • “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
    – Mark Twain
  • There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact – Sherlock Holmes (The Boscombe Valley Mystery)
  • “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
    -John F. Kennedy
  • “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
    – James Madison, 4th president of US (1751-1836) in a speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 16, 1788
  • “A learning experience is one of those things that says, ‘You know that thing you just did?  Don’t do that.’ ”
    – Douglas Adams
  • Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.
    – Sir Isaac Newton
  • “It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’  But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”
    – Murray Rothbard, (Making Economic Sense, 1995)
  • … I recognized that I held those two views of America (politics, government, corporations, the military).  One was of a state where everything was magically wrong and must be immediately corrected at any cost; and the other – the world in which I actually functioned day to day – was made up of people, most of whom were reasonably trying to maximize their comfort by getting along with each other (in the workplace, the marketplace, the jury room, on the freeway, even at the school-board meeting).  And I realized that the time had come for me to avow my participation in that America in which I chose to live, and that that country was not a schoolroom teaching values, but a marketplace.
    – David Mamet in Why I Am No Longer a “Brain-Dead Liberal”
  • Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
  • “Sometimes the only way you can feel good about yourself is by making someone else look bad.  And I’m tired of making other people feel good about themselves!”
    – Homer J. Simpson
  • “When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.”
    – Abraham Maslow
  • “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat to advance.”
    – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • “No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.”
    – Abraham Lincoln
  • “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”
    –  Thomas Jefferson
  • Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.
    – Benjamin Franklin
  • He heard on the news that obesity is now considered a disease.   So he called in fat.
    (Shoe Thursday, November 11, 2004)
  • “Cursive writing does not mean what I think it means.” – Bart Simpson (writing on the blackboard after school)
  • “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
    – Mark Twain
  • The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
    – Albert Einstein
  • “A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.”
    – Robert Frost
  • … engineering is the art of doing that well with one dollar which any bungler can do with two after a fashion.
    – Arthur Mellen Wellington, The Economic Theory of Railway Location (1891)
  • In these days, a man who says a thing cannot be done is quite apt to be interrupted by some idiot doing it.
    – Elbert Green Hubbard (1865-1915)
  • A great frustration in life is discovering that sometimes those who say something can’t be done turn out to be right.
    – Donald Simanek (1936- )
  • There are two theories to arguing with a woman.  Neither one works.
  • You can’t unsay a cruel thing.
  • Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.
  • If you say “GULLIBLE” slowly it sounds like “ORANGES.”
  • “This above all: to thine ownself be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
    – William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1. Scene III