Some wise words…

There’s a saying I quite like. In actual fact, there are quite a few. Here are my favourite quotes, and also three entire speeches. What about you? What are your favourite quotes and sayings?

“Life’s a mess”

Adrian Tan gave a great graduation speech. Funny, insightful and inspirational. “Popularity is a sure sign you’re doing something wrong”. It’s hard to summarise, but it articulates a philosophy and perspective I am trying to adopt: Don’t work. Be Hated. Love someone.

“Make me earn it”

Randy Pausch was a Computer Science lecturer at Carnegie-Mellon who was diagnosed with cancer. Just before he died he gave a number of incredible talks. His life philosophy and some practical suggestions inspired by this philosophy especially stuck in my mind.

“Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.”

And then there are the quotes that inspire me or remind me or make me laugh. I measure my collection in megabytes now, but here are a few of my favorites:

You stop having issues when you die.
– Andy Stock

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
– Norwegian saying

Violence is the last resort of the incompetent.
– Isaac Asimov

The hand of man can hold the universe in its palm, if only it can learn to unclench its fist.
– Game Manual, Dark Reign

I always have a quotation for everything – it saves original thinking.
– Dorothy L. Sayers

Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.
– George Jean Nathan

It’s possible to do that. If you’ve got a basket with 3 oranges in it and you take 5 out, then you have to put 2 oranges in again in order for it to be empty.
– Peter Gutmann

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.
– Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
– Marcel Proust

The mind has exactly the same power as that of the hands; not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.
– Colin Wilson

Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can find his way by moonlight, and sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
– Oscar Wilde

We are all in the gutter. But some of us are looking at the stars.
– Oscar Wilde

The problem with quotes on the internet is that you never know if they are genuine
– Joseph Stalin

The most dangerous thing in the world is to try to leap a chasm in two jumps.
– William Lloyd George

Don’t try to achieve things in just one jump. Instead resolve to take that tiny next step, and then renew your resolve.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
– Niels Bohr

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
– Douglas Adams, speech at Digital Biota 2

There is no alternative medicine. There is only medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t work.
– Richard Dawkins

Ships are safe in harbor, but they were never meant to stay there.
– John Shedd

The Earth is the cradle of mankind, but a man cannot stay in the cradle forever.
– Immanuel Velikovsky

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.
– Karen Kaiser Clark

Do not have your feet firmly on the ground. You are faster than you think.
– Nike (slogan)

Dealing with failure is easy: Work hard to improve. Success is also easy to handle: You’ve solved the wrong problem. Work hard to improve.
– Alan Perlis

Vigourous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
– Strunk, Elements of Style

Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it. Extinction is approaching. Fight it.
– Blake Masters

The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.

To light a candle is to cast a shadow
A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula Le Guin

You cross the finish line. Then what?
– Gordon Hamilton

I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger.
~ Mencius

Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets
– Paul Tournier

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.
– George Bernard Shaw

If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.
– John von Neumann

I win every fight by 50m
– Andy Stock

He lifted a hand, his index finger pointing upward. “How many fingers am I holding up?” I paused for a moment, which was more consideration than the question seemed to warrant. “At least one,” I said. “Probably no more than six”
– Kvothe, The Name of the Wind

A physicist is an atom’s way of knowing about atoms.
– George Wald

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results

People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them
– Epictetus

There was a man who sat each day looking out through a narrow vertical opening where a single board had been removed from a wooden fence. Each day a wild ass of the desert passed outside the fence and across the narrow opening — first the nose, then the head, the forelegs, the long brown back, the hindlegs, and lastly the tail. One day the man leaped to his feet with a light of discovery in his eyes and he shouted for all who could hear him: “It is obvious! The nose causes the tail!”
– Heretics of Dune

Mood? What has mood to do with it? You fight when the necessity arises — no matter the mood! Mood’s a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It’s not for fighting.
– Gurney Halleck/Dune

What do you despise? By this you are truly known.
– from “Manual of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan (Frank Herbert)

Subtlety and self-control were, after all, the most deadly threats to us all.
– “In my Father’s House”, by Princess Irulan (Frank Herbert)

And always he fought the temptation to choose a clear, safe course, warning “That path leads ever downwards into stagnation.”
– “Arrakis Awakening”, by Princess Irulan (Frank Herbert)

If you think C++ is not overly complicated, just what is a protected abstract virtual base pure virtual private destructor and when was the last time you needed one?
– Tom Cargill

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems.
– Jamie Zawinski

People say Pandora’s Box was evil, but they’re wrong. The stuff inside it was evil. The box ain’t nothin’ but a box.
– Fundamental Premise of OOD

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