“Today’s Work, Today’s Finish”

Chinese proverbs:

  • Enough feathers can sink a boat.
  • Laziness in youth spells regret in old age.
  • The dog that bites won’t bare his teeth.
  • Full of courtesy, full of craft.
  • Suspicions create imaginary fears.
  • No clouds, no rain; no rules, no gain.
  • One fight sullies two persons; one compromise benefits two persons.
  • Walk a road and it becomes familiar; do a job and it becomes easy.
  • Worry doesn’t seek out people — people find worry on their own.
  • Three people of a common mind can conquer the world.
  • The going is toughest toward the end of a journey.
  • The guilty party is the first to sue.
  • If you fall down by yourself, get up by yourself.
  • Thieves in the dark hate the moonlight.
  • Every drama requires a fool.
  • Perseverance is worth more than a vast estate.
  • Prolonged illness makes a doctor of a patient.
  • Smart people also do stupid things.
  • The masses decide what is right and wrong.
  • Gossip won’t harm a good person as stirring won’t spoil good wine.

And “Learning is like paddling a canoe against the current — you will regress if you don’t advance.”



“How happy many people would be if they cared about other people’s affairs as little as about their own.” — G.C. Lichtenberg

“Most people enjoy the inferiority of their best friends.” — Lord Chesterfield

“We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others.” — La Rochefoucauld

“I set it down as a fact that if all men knew what each said of the other, there would not be four friends in the world.” — Pascal



“Ideas often flash across our minds more complete than we could make them after much labor.” — La Rochefoucauld

“After investigating a problem in all directions, happy ideas come unexpectedly, without effort, like an inspiration. So far as I am concerned, they have never come to me when my mind was fatigued, or when I was at my working table. … They came particularly readily during the slow ascent of wooded hills on a sunny day.” — Hermann von Helmholtz

“You cannot, with your best deliberation and heed, come so close to any question as your spontaneous glance shall bring you while you rise from your bed or walk abroad in the morning after meditating the matter before sleep on the previous night.” — Emerson



“If a man will be sensible and one fine morning, while he is lying in bed, count at the tips of his fingers how many things in this life truly give him enjoyment, invariably he will find food is the first one.” — Lin Yutang

“Non Cogitant, Ergo Non Sunt”

Aphorisms of 18th-century German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg:

  • “There are people who think that everything one does with a serious face is sensible.”
  • “To read means to borrow; to create out of one’s readings is paying off one’s debts.”
  • “How close may our thoughts come at times to grazing on a great discovery?”
  • “I would often rather read what a famous author has cut from one of his works than what he has let stand.”
  • “A golden rule: one must judge men not by their opinions, but by what their opinions have made of them.”
  • “My body is that part of the world which my thoughts can change. Even imaginary illnesses can become real ones. In the rest of the world, my hypotheses cannot change the order of things.”
  • “It’s questionable whether, when we break a murderer on the wheel we aren’t lapsing into precisely the mistake of the child who hits the chair he bumps into.”
  • “What makes a prolific author is often not his great knowledge but rather that fortunate relation between his abilities and his taste, by virtue of which the latter always approves what the former have produced.”
  • “To make astute people believe that one is what one is not, is harder in most cases than actually to become what one wants to appear.”
  • “Indisputably, masculine beauty has not yet been portrayed enough by those hands which alone could do so — feminine hands.”

“There is a great difference between still believing something and believing it again. Still to believe that the moon affects the plants reveals stupidity and superstition, but to believe it again is a sign of philosophy and reflection.”

“He Who Praises Everybody Praises Nobody”


Observations of Samuel Johnson:

  • “We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know, because they have never deceived us.”
  • “I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.”
  • “Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”
  • “To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.”
  • “In order that all men may be taught to speak truth, it is necessary that all likewise should learn to hear it.”
  • “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”
  • “It is strange that there should be so little reading in the world, and so much writing. People in general do not willingly read, if they can have any thing else to amuse them.”
  • “I live in the crowd of jollity, not so much to enjoy company as to shun myself.”
  • “Example is always more efficacious than precept.”
  • “Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.”
  • “Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the short cut to everything.”
  • “It is very strange, and very melancholy, that the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them.”
  • “No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.”
  • “Every state of society is as luxurious as it can be. Men always take the best they can get.”
  • “Wine makes a man more pleased with himself. I do not say that it makes him more pleasing to others.”
  • “If you are idle, be not solitary; if you are solitary, be not idle.”
  • “The applause of a single human being is of great consequence.”
  • “[S]uch is the delight of mental superiority, that none on whom nature or study have conferred it, would purchase the gifts of fortune by its loss.”
  • “The world is not yet exhausted: let me see something to-morrow which I never saw before.”

Harold Nicolson wrote, “Dr. Johnson is the only conversationalist who triumphs over time.”