Favorite Quotes

Paul Graham recently posted his awesome collection of favorite quotes – I myself have been keeping a list of such quotes, and he inspired me to share them too. I’ll be updating this post from time to time with new additions.

“It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.”
- Deng Xiaoping

“If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.”
- Bob Dylan

“What objectivity and the study of philosophy require is not an “open mind,” but an active mind — a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them critically.”
- Ayn Rand

“If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
- Samuel Adams

“Impermanent, subject to change, are component things. Strive on with heedfulness!”
- Gautama Buddha

“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are”
- Roy E. Disney

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
- Jim Rohn

“Philosophy needs to be brought up to the realm of actual living. I say intentionally brought up to it, not down.”
- Ayn Rand

“If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.”
- Larry Page

“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.”
- Mark Twain

“If you want to build a ship, don’t assign tasks; rather, teach others to long for the endless immensity of the sea”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“One thing people underestimate is how markets don’t allow anyone to do anything except make better and better products.”
- Bill Gates

“Deciding in advance when and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal can double or triple your chances for success.”
- Heidi Grant Halvorson

“Work diligently, work ardently, work intelligently, work patiently and persistently, and you are bound to be successful.”
- Goenka

“When you’re obsessing about one thing, you can reach insights about how to solve hard problems. If you have too many things to think about, you’ll get to the superficial solution, not the brilliant one.”
- Evan Williams

“He who is contented is rich.”
- Lao Tzu

“For the one with no mission, existing is hard; acting, impossible”.
- Emil Cioran

“La sensibilité de l’homme aux petites choses et l’insensibilité pour les grandes choses, marque d’un étrange renversement.”
“Man’s sensitivity to the little things and insensitivity to the greatest are the signs of a strange disorder.”
- Blaise Pascal

“The rabbit runs faster than the fox, because the rabbit is running for his life while the fox is only running for his dinner.”
- Aesop

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
- Winston Churchill

“Innovation is saying no to 1000 things.”
- Steve Jobs

“Dieu se rit des hommes qui déplorent les effets dont ils chérissent les causes.”
“God laughs at those who deplore the effects of which causes they cherish”
- Bossuet

“The human faculties of perception, judgment, discriminative feeling, mental activity, and even moral preference, are exercised only in making a choice. He who does anything because it is the custom, makes no choice. He gains no practice either in discerning or in desiring what is best. The mental and moral, like the muscular powers, are improved only by being used. The faculties are called into no exercise by doing a thing merely because others do it, no more than by believing a thing only because others believe it. “
- John Stuart Mill

“I just take the time to explain it better, so they understand the way it should be”
- Steve Jobs on “resolving” disagreements

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but an habit”
- Aristotle

“This is all your app is: a collection of tiny details.”
- Whil Shipley

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
- Zen proverb

“Pour faire une prison efficace, chauffez la, mettez-y des coussins et de la musique, et surtout : laissez la porte ouverte.”
“To make an effective jail, keep it warm, add pillows, play music, and most importantly: keep the door open.”
- Boulet

“May not music be described as the mathematics of the sense, mathematics as music of the reason? The musician feels mathematics, the mathematician thinks music: music the dream, mathematics the working life.”
- James Joseph Sylvester

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most responsive to change.”
- Leon Megginson

“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.”
- Georges Bernard Shaw

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
- Cecile Beaton

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
- Winston Churchill

“Leadership is the ability to hide your panic from others.”
- Lao Tzu

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
- Winston Churchill

“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.”
- Jan Van De Snepscheut

“A man with two watches never knows what time is it.”
- Segal’s Law

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
- Isaac Asimov

“Life is one damn thing after another.”
- Elbert Hubbard

“The details are not the details. They make the design.”
- Charles Eames

“For 37 years I’ve practiced 14 hours a day, and now they call me a genius. “
- Pablo De Sarasate

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses, long before I dance under those lights.”
- Muhammad Ali

“It ain’t about how hard you hit — it’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
- Muhammad Ali

“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain

“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject… And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them… Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.”
- Seneca

“Reading a rule book is rarely the best approach to learning a complex new game. It usually works better to simply learn the basic guidelines and then start playing.”
- Brian Robertson, in Holacracy

“You’re not entitled to take a view until you can argue better against that view than the smartest guy who holds that opposite view.”
- Charlie Munger

“I’ve lived a long life and seen a lot of hard times…most of which never happened.”
- Mark Twain

“Que de choses il faut ignorer pour agir !”
“How many things one should disregard in order to act!”
- Paul Valéry

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
- Alexander Graham Bell

“The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.”
- E. O. Wilson

“Escaping from mimesis is something only geniuses and saints can do.”
- Rene Girard

“Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.”
- Margaret Thatcher

“Commentary: most debugging problems are fixed easily; identifying the location of the problem is hard.”
- unknown

“Every system is designed perfectly to get the result it gets.”
- W. Edgar Demmings

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
- Mohammed Ali

“Better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.”
- John M Keynes

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”
- Niccolo Machiavelli

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
- John Quincy Adams

“If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and would achieve nothing.”
- Margaret Thatcher

“If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet, you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled — have you no shame in that?”
- Epictetus

“Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“Widespread fear is your friend; Personal fear is your enemy.”
- Warren Buffet

“Doing is one of the best forms of thinking.”
- Tom Chi

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system. “
- John Gall

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”
- Robert McAfee Brown

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.”
- Steve Jobs

“Writing is nature’s way of letting you know how unclear your thinking is.”
- Stephen Wilbers


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