See Also Longer Quotes | Trivia


Ego

"Don’t be so humble - you are not that great."
- Golda Meir (1898-1978), to a visiting diplomat

"I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better."
- A. J. Liebling (1904-1963)

"It is time I stepped aside for a less experienced and less able man."
- Scott Elledge, on his retirement as a Professor at Cornell

"The average person thinks he isn’t."
- Father Larry Lorenzoni

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important."
- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

"To sit alone with my conscience will be judgment enough for me."
- Charles William Stubbs

"Give me a museum and I’ll fill it."
- Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

"Plato was a bore."
- Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

"The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time."
- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

"You proceed from a false assumption: I have no ego to bruise."
- Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

"How can I lose to such an idiot?"
- Aaron Nimzovich (1886-1935), Chessmaster

Logic

"For there is nothing either good or bad, thinking makes it so."
- William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Hamlet, II.ii

"Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong."
- Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

"I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts."
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), Sherlock Holmes

"We must have strong minds, ready to accept facts as they are."
- Harry S Truman (1884-1972)

"317 is a prime, not because we think so, or because our minds are shaped in one way rather than another, but because it is so, because mathematical reality is built that way."
- Godfrey Hardy (1877-1947)

"Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems."
- Rene Descartes (1596-1650), Discours de la Methode

"If two things don’t fit, but you believe both of them, thinking that somewhere, hidden, there must be a third thing that connects them, that’s credulity."
- Umberto Eco (1929-), Foucalt's Pendulum

"A problem well stated is a problem half solved."
- Charles Franklin Kettering (1876-1958)

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944)

"Plurality is not to be posited without necessity."
- William of Ockham (?-1349)

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake."
- Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956), Chessmaster

Science

"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
- H. H. Munro (Saki) (1870-1916)

"A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines."
- Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959)

"There is nothing that living things do that cannot be understood from the point of view that they are made of atoms acting according to the laws of physics."
- Richard Feynman (1918-1988)

"A goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid."
- James D. Watson (1928-)

"I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
- Thomas Edison (1874-1931)

"All science is either physics or stamp collecting."
- Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)

"The only possible conclusion the social sciences can draw is: some do, some don’t."
- Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)

"Religion hinges upon faith, politics hinges upon who can tell the most convincing lies or maybe just shout the loudest, but science hinges upon whether its conclusions resemble what actually happens."
- Ian Stewart (1945-)

"Religion ends and philosophy begins, just as alchemy ends and chemistry begins, and astrology ends and astronomy begins."
- Richard Dawkins (1941-)

Religion

"A religion contradicting science and a science contradicting religion are equally false."
- P. D. Ouspensky (1878-1947)

"Science is the record of dead religions."
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

"Consider for a moment this notion that you should respect other people’s beliefs. Where else in our discourse do we encounter this? I mean, when was the last time anyone in this room was admonished to respect another person’s beliefs about history, or biology, or physics? We do not respect people’s beliefs; we evaluate their reasons."
- Sam Harris (1967-)

"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
- Denis Diderot (1713-1784)

"Faith: not wanting to know what is true."
- Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

"Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof."
- Ashley Montague (1905-1999)

"Hell is paved with good samaritans."
- William M. Holden

"We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we have only one."
- Confucius (551-479 B.C.)

God

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and is widely regarded as a bad move."
- Douglas Adams (1952-2001)

"I contend 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."
- Stephen F. Roberts

"The being we call god is merely a pawn working for a powerful and rational force in some far-off galaxy. This force is trying to weed out people who are irrational by seeing who would be stupid enough to believe in his god illusion so easily. Those that believe in this illusion, he will send to eternal damnation and he will deliver the rational beings, those who stoically refused to believe in a god, to heaven."
- Nicholas Yee

"Your Highness, I have no need of this hypothesis."
- Pierre Laplace (1749-1827), to Napoleon on why his works on celestial mechanics make no mention of God.

"If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is ‘God is crying’. And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is ‘Probably because of something you did’."
- Jack Handey, Deep Thoughts

"God for you is where you sweep away all the mysteries of the world, all the challenges to our intelligence. You simply turn your mind off and say God did it."
- Carl Sagan (1934-1996), Contact

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."
- William Shakespeare (1564-1616), The Merchant of Venice, I.iii

"Not only is there no God, but try finding a plumber on Sunday."
- Woody Allen (1935-)

Society

"The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."
- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

"The percent likelihood of a society becoming physically violent if it is physically affectionate towards its infants and tolerant of premarital sexual behavior is 2 percent. The probability of this relationship occurring by chance is 125,000 to one. I am not aware of any other developmental variable that has such a high degree of predictive validity."
- James W. Prescott, 1975

"All for one; one for all."
- Alexander Dumas (1824-1895)

"You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."
- Unknown

"Vote early and vote often."
- Al Capone (1899-1947)

"If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me."
- Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980)

"The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them."
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"Men have become the tools of their tools."
- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

"When they took the Fourth Amendment, I was silent because I don’t deal drugs. When they took the Sixth Amendment, I kept quiet because I know I’m innocent. When they took the Second Amendment, I said nothing because I don’t own a gun. Now they’ve come for the First Amendment, and I can’t say anything at all."
- Tim Freeman

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are acutally rearranging their prejudices."
- William James (1842-1910)

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."
- Talmud

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935)

"Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions - it only guarantees equality of opportunity."
- Irving Kristol (1920-)

"I think it would be a good idea."
- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), when asked what he thought of Western civilization

"Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."
- Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Stupidity

"Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence."
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

"NEW YORK, NY. A man was knocked down by a car and got up uninjured, but lay back down in front of the car when a bystander told him to feign injury in order to collect insurance money. The car rolled forward and crushed him to death."
- Associated Press, 1977

"If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?"
- Will Rogers (1879-1935)

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former."
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"What do you take me for, an idiot?;"
General Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), when a journalist asked him if he was happy

"Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung."
- Voltaire (1694-1778)

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
- Jane Austen (1775-1817), Pride and Prejudice

"You can pretend to be serious; you can’t pretend to be witty."
- Sacha Guitry (1885-1957)

"A word to the wise ain’t necessary, it is the stupid ones who need all the advice."
- Bill Cosby (1937-)

"It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid."
- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

"I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to."
- Elvis Presley (1935-1977)

"It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is."
- William Jefferson Clinton (1946-), August 17, 1998

"The only stupid question is the question you don't ask."
- Unknown

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."
- Stephen Hawking (1942-)

Proverbs

"A witty saying proves nothing."
- Voltaire (1694-1778)

"Hunger is the best sauce."
- Proverb

"Better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
- Chinese Proverb

"Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."
- Proverb

"A pint of sweat saves a gallon of blood."
- George S. Patton (1885-1945), US Army General

"Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
- Proverb

"99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name."
- Unknown

"Don't spend all your money on a safe."
- Unknown

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, prepare to die."
- Klingon Proverb, Star Trek

"The greatest strength is gentleness."
- Iroquois Proverb

"Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."
- Proverb

"If you lose your temper, you’ve lost the argument."
- Proverb

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
- Proverb

Miscellaneous

"I heard someone tried the monkeys-on-typewriters bit trying for the plays of W. Shakespeare, but all they got was the collected works of Francis Bacon."
- Bill Hirst

"Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are good is like expecting the bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian."
- Dennis Wholey (1937-)

"I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television."
- Gore Vidal (1925-)

"Why don’t you write books people can read?"
- Nora Joyce, to her husband James (1882-1941)

"They write about these kind of cases in the Private Eye Handbook, Lady! Something about a ten foot pole..."
- Andrew Dice Clay, in The Adventures of Ford Fairlane

"Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you."
- C. G. Jung (1875-1961)

"If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?"
- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

"Few things are harder to put up with than a good example."
- Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

"Sometimes when reading Goethe I have the paralyzing suspicion that he is trying to be funny."
- Guy Davenport (1927-)

"In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him."
- Dereke Bruce

"You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there."
- Yogi Berra (1925-)

"I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known."
- Walt Disney (1901-1966)

"I have an existential map; it has ‘you are here’ written all over it."
- Steven Wright

"When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before."
- Mae West (1892-1980)

"I would like to be able to admire a man’s opinions as I would his dog - without being expected to take it home with me."
- Frank A. Clark

"I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying."
- Woody Allen (1935-)

"The fellow that agrees with everything you say is either a fool or he is getting ready to skin you."
- Kin Hubbard

"You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant (excepting Alice)."
- Arlo Guthrie (1947-)

"As I get older I notice the years less and the seasons more."
- John Hubbard (1973-)

"Why do men fear the dark?
Because darkness is ignorance made visible.
And do men despise ignorance?
No, they prize it above all things, all things! But only so long as it remains invisible."
- R. Scott Bakker (1967-)

"Write drunk. Edit sober."
- Peter De Vries (1910-1993)

Definitions

"Wit is educated insolence."
- Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

"Criticism is prejudice made plausible."
- H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
- H. G. Wells (1866-1946)

"Imitation is the sincerest form of television."
- Fred Allen (1894-1956)

"Happiness is good health and a bad memory."
- Ingrid Bergman (1917-1982)

"Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers."
- T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

"Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt."
- Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting."
- Gloria Leonard

"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense."
- Tom Clancy (1947-), paraphrasing Mark Twain

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."
- Sun Tzu

"Men are like steel. when they lose their temper, they lose their worth."
- Chuck Norris (1940-)

Foresight

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
- Thomas Watson (1874-1956), Chairman of IBM, in 1943

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible."
- A Yale University management professor, in response to student Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service (Smith went on to found Federal Express)

"640K ought to be enough for anybody."
- Bill Gates (1955-), in 1981

"This antitrust thing will blow over."
- Bill Gates (1955-), on July 11, 1995

"We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."
- Decca Recording Company, rejecting the Beatles, in 1962

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
- Harry Morris Warner (1881-1958), co-founder of Warner Brothers, in 1927

Motivation

"Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’."
- Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

"It’s easier to seek forgiveness than ask for permission."
- Proverb

"Be lions roaring through the forests of knowledge."
- Bahá'í Scriptures

"Become who you are."
- Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

"Ideas are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny."
- Carl Schurz (1829-1906)

"Destiny is not a matter of change, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
- William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925)

"They say time is the fire in which we burn."
- Dr. Tolian Soran, Star Trek: Generations

"If everything is under control, you are going too slow."
- Mario Andretti (1940-)

"If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944)

"Never forget that it is the spirit with which you endow your work that makes it useful or futile."
- Adelaide Hasse (1868-1953)

"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."
- Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

"Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows."
- Kelly McGonigal

Politics

"I don't know the key to success but I know the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
- Bill Cosby (1937-).

"We ought to be more focused on enemies without than preoccupied with finding them within."
- Alan Wolfe (1942-)

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government."
- Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

"Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains."
- Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

"I would have made a good Pope."
- Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994)

"Laws change more slowly than custom, and though dangerous when they fall behind the times are more dangerous still when they presume to anticipate custom."
- Marguerite Yourcenar (1903 - 1987)

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
- Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)

"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservative."
- John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

"I like to play poker with politicians. They’re easy to beat. Sometimes in poker it’s smarter to lose with a winning hand so that you can win later with a losing hand. Politicians can’t accept that."
- Havana (1990)

"The worst part about politics is that you're always right and no one ever knows it."
- Unknown

Conflict

"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock."
- Orson Welles (1915-1985)

"Its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog."
- Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail."
- Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."
- Robert J. Oppenheimer (1904-1967) (citing the Bhagavadgita, about witnessing the world’s first nuclear explosion)

"It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument."
- William Gibbs McAdoo (1863-1941)

"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone."
- Al Capone (1899-1947)

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

"Heav’n hath no rage like love to hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d."
- William Congreve (1670-1729)

"Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."
- Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

"The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for his."
- General George Patton (1885-1945)

Doctor Juliet Parish: "Things have gotten totally out of control."
Chris Faber: "Well you see, war has a tendency to do that, ma’am."
- V: The Final Battle

"A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic."
- Joseph Stalin (1879-1953)

"Man’s highest joy is in victory: to conquer one’s enemies; to pursue them; to deprive them of their possessions; to make their beloved weep; to ride on their horses; and to embrace their wives and daughters."
- Genghis Khan (c.1155/1162/1167-1227)

"It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."
- Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), The Prince

Humility

"After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC, AKA Marcus Porcius Cato)

"When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package."
- John Ruskin (1819-1900)

"I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don’t need."
- Rodin (1840-1917), when asked how he managed to make his remarkable statues

Education

"Good teaching is one-forth preparation and three-fourths theater."
- Gail Godwin

"Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research."
- Wilson Mizner (1876-1933)

"University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."
- Henry Kissinger (1923-)

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
- Mark Twain (1835-1910)

"Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century."
- Perelman

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
- Derek Bok (1930-), Harvard University President

"A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students."
- John Ciardi (1916-1986)

"Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire."
- William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

"The objective of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives."
- Robert Maynard Hutchins (1899-1977)

Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

Last Words

"I don’t feel good."
- Luther Burbank (1849-1926), last words

"They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist..."
- General John Sedgwick (1813-1864), last words

"Ask her to wait a moment - I am almost done."
- Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), when informed that his wife was dying

"Show my head to the people, it is worth seeing."
- Georges Danton (1759-1794), to his executioner

"Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something."
- Pancho Villa (1877-1923), last words


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