Quotations

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“When hungry, eat your rice; when tired, close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean.” — Lin-Chi

Misc

  • Juneau, Alaska, is larger than Rhode Island.
  • After reading Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria, Byron said, “I wish he would explain his explanation.”
  • If A + B + C = 180°, then tan A + tan B + tan C = (tan A)(tan B)(tan C).
  • Five counties meet in the middle of Lake Okeechobee.
  • “Life resembles a novel more often than novels resemble life.” — George Sand

No one knows whether Andrew Jackson was born in North Carolina or South Carolina. The border hadn’t been surveyed well at the time.

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“All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavour to find out what you don’t know by what you do; that’s what I called ‘guessing what was at the other side of the hill.'” — Duke of Wellington

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“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle

“Education enables you to express assent or dissent in graduated terms.” — William Cory

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” — Robert Frost

“To change an opinion without a mental process is the mark of the uneducated.” — Geoffrey Madan

“To have doubted one’s own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

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“An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn’t take his education too seriously.” — Charles F. Kettering

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“There is a danger in being persuaded before one understands.” — Thomas Wilson

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“The success of most things depends upon knowing how long it will take to succeed.” — Montesquieu

You Are Here

Metaphors for life:

“A theater in which the worst people often have the best seats.” — Aristonymus

“A hospital in which every patient is possessed by the desire to change his bed.” — Charles Baudelaire

“A maze in which we take the wrong turning before we have learned to walk.” — Cyril Connolly

“A garish, unrestful hotel.” — Joseph Conrad

“Like eating artichokes — you’ve got to go through so much to get so little.” — Tad Dorgan

“For most men … a search for the proper manila envelope in which to get themselves filed.” — Clifton Fadiman

“A library owned by an author. In it are a few books which he wrote himself, but most of them were written for him.” — Harry Emerson Fosdick

“An onion, and one peels it crying.” — French proverb

“The only riddle that we shrink from giving up.” — W.S. Gilbert

“Life is something like this trumpet. If you don’t put anything in it, you don’t get anything out.” — W.C. Handy

“A succession of frontispieces. The way to be satisfied is never to look back.” — William Hazlitt

“A long headache in a noisy street.” — John Masefield

“A foreign language: all men mispronounce it.” — Christopher Morley

“A party: one arrives long after it’s started, and one’s going to leave long before it’s over.” — Robert Morley

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“Honesty is the best policy: but he who acts on that principle is not an honest man.” — Archbishop Richard Whately

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“There is nothing so easily made offensive as good reasoning.” — Sir Arthur Helps

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“One of my chief objections to the management of the universe is that we suffer so much more from our gentler and more amiable vices than from our darkest crimes.” — A.E. Housman, letter to Grant Richards, 1913

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“It is true that that may hold in these things, which is the general root of superstition; namely, that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss; and commit to memory the one, and forget and pass over the other.” — Francis Bacon

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“What leapings of the heart must there not have been throughout that long warfare! What moments of terror and triumph! What acts of devotion and desperate wonders of courage!” — H.G. Wells, of prehistoric man

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“People who make history know nothing about history. You can see that in the sort of history they make.” — G.K. Chesterton

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“The monuments of wit survive the monuments of power.” — Francis Bacon

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“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” — Bertrand Russell

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“Every time an idiot dies, your IQ goes down.” — Bill Ballance

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“Man is an exception, whatever he is. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head.” — G.K. Chesterton

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“You can tell the character of every man when you see how he gives and receives praise.” — Seneca

“To learn a man’s character, mark how he takes a favour.” — Archbishop Richard Whately

“If all else fails, the character of a man can be recognized by nothing so surely as by a jest which he takes badly.” — G.C. Lichtenberg

“To know a man, observe how he wins his object, rather than how he loses it; for when we fail, our pride supports us — when we succeed, it betrays us.” — Charles Caleb Colton

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” — Voltaire

Also:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Gandhi

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Weil’s Law of University Hiring: “First-rate people hire other first-rate people. Second-rate people hire third-rate people. Third-rate people hire fifth-rate people.” (from French mathematician André Weil)

“Slowness is frequently the cause of much greater slowness.” — Montesquieu

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“Men, who are rogues individually, are in the mass very honorable people.” — Montesquieu

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“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” — Leonardo

“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.” — Nietzsche

“Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours.” — Voltaire

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” — Tolstoy

“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.” — Montaigne

“Opinions are made to be changed, or how is truth to be got at?” — Lord Byron

“Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all.” — G.C. Lichtenberg

Misc

  • Denver International Airport is larger than Manhattan.
  • C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and John F. Kennedy died on the same day.
  • Shakespeare mentions America only once, in Act 3, Scene 2 of The Comedy of Errors.
  • π4 + π5e6
  • “All styles are good except the boring kind.” — Voltaire

(Thanks, Larry.)

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“The really good music, whether of the East or of the West, cannot be analyzed.” — Albert Einstein

“Aside from purely technical analysis, nothing can be said about music, except when it is bad; when it is good, one can only listen and be grateful.” — W.H. Auden