[E]ven Nostradamus would have gotten some things wrong if he'd said anything clearly enough to pin down what he meant.
A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes, but to get into accord with them; they are legitimately what directs hi conduct in the world.
A policeman sees a drunk man searching for something under a streetlight and asks what the drunk has lost. He says he lost his keys and they both look under the streetlight together. After a few minutes the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here, and the drunk replies, no, and that he lost them in the park. The policeman asks why he is searching here, and the drunk replies, "this is where the light is".
His father said no more. The next day, he gave his son a pouch that held three ancient Spanish gold coins.
"I found these one day in the fields. I wanted them to be a part of your inheritance. But use them to buy your flock. Take to the fields, and someday you'll learn that our countryside is the best, and our women the most beautiful."
And he gave the boy his blessing. The boy could see in his father's gaze a desire to be able, himself, to travel the world — a desire that was still alive, despite his father's having had to bury it, over dozens of years, under the burden of struggling for water to drink, food to eat, and the same place to sleep every night of his life.
Free people make free choices. Free choices mean you get unequal outcomes. You can have freedom, or you can have equal outcomes. You can’t have both.
I've been thinking. Tomorrow it will be 28 years to the day that I've been in the service. 28 years in peace and war. I don't suppose I've been at home more than ten months in all that time. Still, it's been a good life. I love India. I wouldn't have had it any other way. But there are times when suddenly you realise you're nearer the end than the beginning. And you wonder, you ask yourself, what the sum total of your life represents, what difference your being there at any time made to anything, or if it made any difference at all really. Particularly in comparison with other men's careers. I don't know whether that kind of thinking is very healthy, but I must admit I've had some thoughts on those lines from time to time. But tonight, tonight!
Every time I hear of an entrepreneur going out of business I cheer. He did not serve the consumer and for that he should be a janitor or a worker.
A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought - they must be earned.
Most people go through life thinking that tomorrow they’re going to do something great. Tomorrow will be the day that they wake up and discover what they were put on this earth to do. But then tomorrow comes—and goes. As does the next day. Before long, they realize that there aren’t that many tomorrows left.
A military force has no constant formation, water has no constant shape: the ability to gain victory by changing and adapting according to the opponent is called genius.
The next string theory may well hit someone as they're strolling on the beach, but you can be sure that person will have known his quantum physics - and banged his head for years against the equations he's about to throw out the window.
Success in America today comes more often to groups who resist today's dominant American culture.
When the situation was manageable, it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand, we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in thi sstory. It is as old as the Sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience, and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong - these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.
[Sherman] made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later... that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.
Studies seem to show that those of us who believe we must achieve in order to merit love and respect – not just be ourselves – are vulnerable to emotional troughs when our opportunities to excel are restricted.
You'll never convince me there is a hopeless situation or there is any finality in any success or any failure.
Simons shared a few life lessons with the school’s audience:
Work with the smartest people you can, hopefully smarter than you..
Be persistent, don’t give up easily.
Be guided by beauty... it can be the way a company runs, or the way an experiment comes out, or the way a theorem comes out, but there’s a sense of beauty when something is working well, almost an aesthetic to it.
This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who will decide where to go.
Software contracts are better than first-lien debt. You realize a company will not pay the interest payment on their first lien until after they pay their software maintenance or subscription fee. We get paid our money first. Who has the better credit? He can’t run his business without our software.
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
If you're waiting to have a good idea before you have any ideas, you won't have many.
Thought is useful when it motivates action and a hindrance when it substitutes for action.
Capitalism is what happens when people drop their time preference, defer immediate gratification, and invest in the future. Debt‐fueled mass consumption is as much a normal part of capitalism as asphyxiation is a normal part of respiration.
The test of a first rate mind is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
And remember, decorating your cage with beautiful experiences, fond memories, and great dreams is not the same as going beyond. A cage by any other name is still a cage. You must be willing to go beyond.
You must look inside yourself and determine that from now on pain is not a problem. It is just a thing in the universe. Somebody can say something to you that can cause your heart to react and catch fire, but then it passes. It’s a temporary experience. Most people can hardly imagine what it would be like to be at peace with inner disturbance. But if you do not learn to be comfortable with it, you will devote your life to avoiding it. If you feel insecurity, it’s just a feeling. You can handle a feeling. If you feel embarrassed, it’s just a feeling. It’s just a part of creation. If you feel jealousy and your heart burns, just look at it objectively, like you would a mild bruise. It’s a thing in the universe that is passing through your system. Laugh at it, have fun with it, but don’t be afraid of it. It cannot touch you unless you touch it.
Silicon Valley looked at Jim Barksdale the same way the rest of America looked at Silicon Valley.
As long as man is an ambiguous creature he can never banish anxiety; what he can do instead is to use anxiety as an eternal spring for growth into new dimensions of thought and trust.
Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is colored by such impressions.
The primary risk of entrepreneurship and other free agent lifestyles is not financial or even social — it is the risk to a person’s very self-concept as someone who does what they set out to do.
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
I wish I could say I felt something different when I was in the presence of a mass murderer, handing me a cup of espresso in an empty convent. In the movies, some foreboding music might play in the background or the light might dim. But there was none of that. Evil has an ordinary face. It laughs, it cries, it deflects, it rationalizes, it makes great pasta.
Nothing happens until somebody sells something. If a company doesn’t have profits over the long haul, then it’s gonna be a short haul.
The key to success is to give society things that it wants, but doesn't know how to get on its own.
"You boys going to get somewhere, or just going?" We didn’t understand his question, and it was a damned good question.
I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was—I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost. I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future, and maybe that’s why it happened right there and then, that strange red afternoon.
We tried never to fall in love with a plan, because that breeds complacency.
I regard it as a criminal waste of time to go through the slow and painful ordeal of ascertaining things for one's self if these same things have already been ascertained and made available by others.
Don't be intimidated by anything. In the vast majority of the professions and vocations, the people who succeed are not any cleverer than you. The adult world is not full of gods, just people who have acquired skills and habits that work for them. And specialize—the great human achievement is to specialize as a producer of goods or services so that you can diversify as a consumer. Self-sufficiency is another word for poverty.
Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.
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, beginning with a working simple system.
I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is so far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me.
Equally in the future one are the milestones by which you measure your financial success will be not just how many zeros you can add to your net worth, rather whether you can structure affairs in a way that enables you to revise full individual autonomy and independence.
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills. There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. [...] So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.
If we can keep competitors focused on us while we stay focused on customers, we'll turn out all right.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Still, as one IBM insider remembered it, 'Every time I talked to Bill, he gave me the impression I was his most important customer.'
Build a little. Test a little. Learn a lot.
Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.
Look at what caused people to make a lot of money and you will see that usually it is in proportion to their production of what the society wanted.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
[A]ll exact science is based on the idea of approximation. If a man tells you he knows a thing exactly, then you can be safe in inferring that you are speaking to an inexact man.
I wasn’t the fastest guy in the world [...] I wouldn’t have done well in an Olympiad or a math contest. But I like to ponder. And pondering things, just sort of thinking about it and thinking about it, turns out to be a pretty good approach.
Creativity is more likely in places where new ideas require less effort to be perceived.
It's not what you say, it's what the other person hears.
And that's one of the key lessons I’ve learned over the years – don't be over-protective of your own work, understand that it might not always be quite right, and that there's always something new to learn or understand.
If you want to build a ship,
don't drum up the people
to gather wood, divide the
work, and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn
for the vast and endless sea.
Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness.
A vision without a task is but a dream,
a task without a vision is drudgery,
a vision and a task is the hope of the world.
Melius est nomen bonum quam divitiae multae: 'A good name is better than great wealth.'
[W]ealthy people tend to have their preferences dictated by a system meant to milk them.
I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.
If anyone can refute me – show me I'm making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective — I'll gladly change.
It's the truth I'm after and the truth never harmed anyone.
What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.
No carelessness in your actions. No confusion in your words. No imprecision in your thoughts.
Any organization that designs a system (defined more broadly here than just information systems) will inevitably produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.
Work is love made visible. And if you can't work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of the people who work with joy.
Everything that happens is either endurable or not.
If it's endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.
If it's unendurable... then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well.
Just remember: you can endure anything your mind can make endurable, by treating it as in your interest to do so.
This is what you deserve. You could be good today. But instead you choose tomorrow.
When you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, remember that your defining characteristic - what defines a human being - is to work with others. Even animals know how to sleep. And it's the characteristic activity that's the more natural one - more innate and more satisfying.
The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.
The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.
Fundamentalism is the philosophy of the powerless, the conquered, the displaced and the dispossessed.
We unplug ourselves from the grid by recognizing that we will never cure our restlessness by contributing our disposable income to the bottom line of Bullshit, Inc., but only by doing our work.
Men of genius themselves were great only by bringing all their power to bear on the point on which they had decided to show their full measure.
The worst fate of any shipping of any product is that nobody cares. You don’t get any feedback at all. That’s what most features or most products do. They’re just dead weight.
Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest. Given two people of approximately the same ability and one person who works ten percent more than the other, the latter will more than twice outproduce the former. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity - it is very much like compound interest. I don't want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime. I took Bode's remark to heart; I spent a good deal more of my time for some years trying to work a bit harder and I found, in fact, I could get more work done.
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.