My Favorite Quotes

  • To know all is to forgive all.
    • This is the big lesson I got from reading Frankenstein: the world is deterministic like a bunch of billiard balls knocking into each other.  If someone does something that upsets you, it's because of the combination of their genes and the environment, and once you understand what is leading a person to behave in a certain way, you may find your angry feelings towards that person dissipate.  I don't fully understand why this happens, but I've experienced it many times.
  • If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.
    • Frank Zappa
    • I don't agree with the "then you deserve it", but I agree with the underlying idea that if you unthinkingly follow whatever the authority figures are telling you to do with your life, you may end up less happy (perhaps significantly less happy).  So if your happiness is your main objective in life, then you should spend a lot of time making up your own mind about how to live.
  • [Bill Gates Sr.] had us, a group of about 20, write down on a sheet of paper one word that they thought accounted for their success. And Bill [Gates] and I, who may have only met twice, didn't know what the other one was writing down, we both wrote down the same word, which was 'focus'.
  • Focusing is about saying 'No'.
  • A couple days ago I finally got being a good startup founder down to two words: relentlessly resourceful. Till then the best I'd managed was to get the opposite quality down to one: hapless.

  • Successful people do what unsuccessful people don't want to do, or have a very difficult time doing, and that is: keeping yourself going when nothing's working, when everyone else is saying 'No, no, no, no, no'.
  • To get what you've never had, you're going to have to do what you've never done.
    • put another way: If you do what everyone else does, you're going to end up with what everyone else has.
    • put another way: Yes, this [thing I'm doing] is weird. What I'm doing is weird. And that's the point. If it wasn't weird, there wouldn't be as much of an advantage to it.
  • In the first fire-engines, a boy was constantly employed to open and shut alternately the communication between the boiler and the cylinder, according as the piston either ascended or descended. One of those boys, who loved to play with his companions, observed that, by tying a string from the handle of the valve which opened this communication to another part of the machine, the valve would open and shut without his assistance, and leave him at liberty to divert himself with his playfellows. One of the greatest improvements that has been made upon this machine, since it was first invented, was in this manner the discovery of a boy who wanted to save his own labour.

    All the improvements in machinery, however, have by no means been the inventions of those who had occasion to use the machines. Many improvements have been made by the ingenuity of the makers of the machines, when to make them became the business of a peculiar trade; and some by that of those who are called philosophers or men of speculation, whose trade it is not to do anything, but to observe everything; and who, upon that account, are often capable of combining together the powers of the most distant and dissimilar objects. In the progress of society, philosophy or speculation becomes, like every other employment, the principal or sole trade and occupation of a particular class of citizens.

    • Source: Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

    • I like this quote because it describes a strong interest of mine.
  • It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
    • Teddy Roosevelt
  • "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

    So, is that Tyson's favorite all-time quote of his own? Actually, no.

    "Mine is, 'A man that’s a friend of everyone is an enemy to himself,' " he said.

  • Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.
    • What I take away from this quote is: life goes by quickly.  It's easy to let it slip by without achieving your long-term goals.  So be vigilant about how you spend your time.
  • We must remember that one man is much the same as another, and that he is best who is trained in the severest school.
    • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War
  • Yes actually this is a buds student in second phase you will soon find out that pst scores don't matter at all when you get there. the best thing you can do to prepare yourself Is to not think "just do." when you start thinking that's when you fuck yourself mentaly.
    • This was taken from the comments on a YouTube video showing a BUD/S student doing the famous "o-course" (obstacle course) on the San Diego beach in a very short amount of time.
    • This really resonated with me because I think one of my major weaknesses is overthinking things and not actually doing things.  Related: IBM's "say:do ratio".
    • On the other hand, I have heard from others who went through BUD/S who said that thinking about what you're doing can give you a big edge over others.  For example, you should not just go all-out for every exercise, just focus on not being the guy at the back who is going to get singled out for punishment.  And you should not let others take advantage of you, for example by having you bear more of the weight of the boat/log.
  • Courage doesn't always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."
    • Mary Anne Radmacher
    • I first saw this as a chapter-opening quote in the book 'Bigger, Leaner, Stronger'.
  • Balzac said that for writers, including novelists, the most essential and necessary thing is the forbearance to face the dull task of writing one word at a time. That is the first requirement for any writer. (...) The most essential thing [in Balzac's success in writing a lot] was to have the patience to write one word at a time until you reach the required length. Too many people lack that patience. Once you get used to it, you'll be able to write with no trouble. (...) The tedious task of writing has to become second nature to you. If you sit down and write quietly the whole day, you'll have written at least two or three pages, even if it's a struggle. And if you keep at it, you'll eventually have a couple hundred pages. I think young people today don't know the trick of it. They start and want to get to the end right away. When you go mountain climbing, the first thing you're told is not to look at the peak but to keep your eyes on the ground as you climb. You just keep climbing patiently one step at a time. If you keep looking at the top, you'll get frustrated. I think writing is similar. You need to get used to the task of writing. You must make an effort to learn to regard it not as something painful but as routine. But most people tend to give up halfway. I tell my Assistant Directors that if they give up once, then that'll be it, because that becomes habit, and they'll give up as soon as it gets hard. I tell them to write all the way to the end no matter what, until they get to some sort of end. I say, "Don't ever quit, even if it gets hard midway". But when the going gets tough, they just give up.
    • Akira Kurosawa on the mental fortitude it takes to finish screenplays.
    • My thoughts:
      • How should a person decide it's not worth the effort?  Surely 'never give up on your projects' can't always be the right path to follow to live your happiest life.