Some of my favorite quotes are collected below. Randomly selected quotes appear in Random Quote box on most pages, which provides a good reminder of the wisdom I’ve found over the years.
One of the greatest human failings is to prefer to be right than to be effective.
Existence is discovery.
When we see our uniqueness as a virtue…only then do we find peace.
Feral nastiness with relentless juvenile self-pity.
Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations we can perform without thinking about them.
When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.
Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.
As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice they are not.
Universal laws are for lackeys. Context…is for Kings.
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
The problem with humanity….We have Paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and God-like technology.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
A meta-system provides the reason for doing something which does not lie in the immediate situation itself.
We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself.
Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.
Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.
“At least three times every day take a moment and ask yourself what is really important. Have the wisdom and the courage to build your life around your answer.”
I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.
A child’s feeling of self-esteem is centered on the experience for which he/she is noticed most intently.
Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins.
An expert is an ordinary man away from home giving advice.
The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.
What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what gets you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evening, how you spend your weekend, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart—it will decide everything.
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
There was once a time when nothing was explained. Ever since that time, everything we have explained has been found to be the product of mindless forces acting on inanimate objects. How will all the rest turn out?
Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.
More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the world justifies.
The Muse visits during the act of creation, not before. Don’t wait for her. Start alone.
I’m not rich enough to be eccentric.
Time heals what reason cannot.
The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.
If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness.
If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.
A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.
Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.
It’s not your fault; it’s your journey.
When religion dictates that we intentionally discriminate against others, it’s time to question our religion.
Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” said Alice. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the cat. “We’re all mad here.”
I err therefore I am.
If you love something, let it go…That’s exactly what I did with my body.
In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer
It’s not that we disagree. It’s that we let different people do our thinking for us.
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.
Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t go anywhere till you change it.
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
The perspective you are judging from is inferior to the perspective that can help you the most.
The perception of beauty is a moral test.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can.
I am a religious agnostic because of science, an atheist because of probability, and an anti-theist because of religion.
Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.
Claiming that someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like being angry at someone for eating a donut because you’re on a diet.
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are ‘It might have been.’
The US will only get serious about the war on obesity if it turns out that fat people have oil.
Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.
Once the game is over, the king & the pawn go back in the same box.
Wanting to be someone you’re not is a waste of the person you are.
Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.
If you do not study hard when young you’ll end up bewailing your failures as you grow up.
The worst thing about being lied to is simply knowing you weren’t worth the truth.
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
Facebook went public this week. It wasn’t a business decision as much as a malfunction in their privacy settings.
Treasure your doubts. Our souls feed off mysteries
The journey is the reward.
Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.
The way to succeed is to double your error rate.
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.
There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.
If you can’t solve a problem, it’s because you are playing by the rules.
In modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful.
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.
Perfection is the enemy of the good.
Insanity in individuals is something rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.
Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.
War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.
Which is it, is man one of God’s blunders or is God one of man’s?
Knowledge, idea, belief stands in the way of wisdom.
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
You know your god is man-made when he hates all the same people you do.
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.
We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.
I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
All great truths begin as blasphemies.
The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
When all else fails, men turn to reason.
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.
It’s good to have the things money can buy, provided we do not lose the things money cannot buy.
Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder. Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.
Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.
Don’t worry about avoiding temptation! As you grow old, it starts avoiding you!
Most problems are created not by circumstances but by a particular perception of them.
The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.
The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserved their neutrality.
He who buys what he does not need steals from himself.
Adolescents sense a secret, unique greatness in themselves that seeks expression. They gesture toward the heart when trying to express any of this, a significant clue to the whole affair.
I don’t develop; I am.
One always learns one’s mystery at the price of one’s innocence.
In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.
Neither in environment nor in heredity can I find the exact instrument that fashioned me, the anonymous roller that passed upon my life a certain intricate watermark whose unique design becomes visible when the lamp of art is made to shine through life’s foolscap.
There is more in a human life than our theories of it allow.
Death is an enemy because we have too much unlived life within us.
Start before you are ready.
It is not enough to add years to one’s life, one must also add life to those years.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.
I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.
You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.
To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.
I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man’s being unable to sit still in a room.
Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
The price of freedom of religion, or of speech, or of the press, is that we must put up with a good deal of rubbish.
True greatness is measured by how much freedom you give to others, not by how much you can coerce others to do what you want.
The desire to protect ourselves is what stands in our way of being fully able to respond.
Do not protect yourself by a fence, but rather by your friends.
Effectiveness without values is a tool without a purpose.
Perception is real even when it is not reality.
If you never change your mind, why have one?
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Aristotle was famous for knowing everything. He taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.
The great thing about being the only species that makes a distinction between right and wrong is that we can make up the rules for ourselves as we go along.
To be pleased with one’s limits is a wretched state.
Snowmen fall from Heaven, unassembled.
Grant me the Serenity to prioritize things I cannot delegate, the Courage to say No when I need to, and the Wisdom to know when to go home.
Your question is [your quest]. No questions — no journey. Timid questions — timid trips. Radical questions — an expedition to the root of your being. Bon voyage.
If someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
To find your true self, you need to cultivate your eccentricities.
One useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, three or more is a congress.
I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.
He who dies with the most stuff … obviously didn’t have enough hit points.
Love is what is left in a relationship after all the selfishness is taken out.
Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Not all who wander are lost.
An enemy is one whose story we have not heard.
I married my wife for her looks… but not the ones she’s been giving me, lately!
Every time I walk into a singles bar, I can hear Mom’s wise words: “Don’t pick that up, you don’t know where it’s been!”
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.
Please remember that law is the wise restraint that make men free.
Be generous in the bedroom — share your sandwich.
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
…but chaos is stimulating, provocative, if only to strengthen our resolve to create order.
The law is what we live with. Justice is something harder to achieve.
If all the insects on earth disappeared, within 50 years all life on earth would disappear. If all humans disappeared, within 50 years all species would flourish as never before.
It is the responsibility of the living to make meaningful the sacrifices of the dead.
A wise person knows when to make the exception to every rule.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
All of nature is the conjugation of the verb “to eat.”
Play is the highest form of research.
Just because it’s not true, doesn’t mean it’s not helpful.
I was reading about how countless species are being pushed toward extinction by man’s destruction of forests….Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
We do not stop playing because we grow old, We grow old because we stop playing!
The taming and domestication of religious faith is one of the unceasing chores of civilization.
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think.
You are born an original, don’t die a copy
All models are wrong. Some models are useful.