Quotes

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.
Reinhold Niebuhr, Serenity Prayer

Still, as one IBM insider remembered it, 'Every time I talked to Bill, he gave me the impression I was his most important customer.'
Stephen Manes, Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry and Made Himself the Richest Man in America

Build a little. Test a little. Learn a lot.
— Rear Admiral Wayne Meyer, Aegis Weapon System Program Manager

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.
— Malcolm Gladwell

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.
Ray Dalio, Principles

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.
— Richard P. Feynman

A problem well stated is a problem half solved.
— Charles Kettering

[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.
— Bertrand Russell

Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.
— Benjamin Graham

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.
Jim Simmons, Seeker, Doer, Giver, Ponderer: A Billionaire Mathematician’s Life of Ferocious Curiosity

The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.
— C.S. Lewis

Creativity is more likely in places where new ideas require less effort to be perceived.
— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Gradatim Ferociter (Step by step, ferociously)
— Latin Proverb

Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.
— Pablo Picasso

It's not what you say, it's what the other person hears.
Frank Luntz, Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear

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.
Andrew Latham, Chief Engineer at McLaren, What I learned from my biggest mistake as an F1 engineer

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.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince

Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness.
Jean de la Bruyere, David Allen, Getting Things Done

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.
Unknown, David Allen, Getting Things Done

Melius est nomen bonum quam divitiae multae: 'A good name is better than great wealth.'
— Latin Proverb

[W]ealthy people tend to have their preferences dictated by a system meant to milk them.
Nassim Taleb, Commencement Address, American University in Beirut, 2016

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.
Tolstoy

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.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

No carelessness in your actions. No confusion in your words. No imprecision in your thoughts.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way...
Virgil, Aeneid

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.
Melvin Conway, How Do Committees Invent

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.
Kahlil Gibran, On Work

The amateur tweets. The pro works.
Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

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.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

This is what you deserve. You could be good today. But instead you choose tomorrow.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

The field is level, only in heaven
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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.
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Fundamentalism is the philosophy of the powerless, the conquered, the displaced and the dispossessed.
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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.
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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.
Antonin-Dalmace Sertillanges, the Intellectual Life

[Great creative minds] think like artists but work like accountants.

Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.
— Ayn Rand

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.
Eric Reis, Minimum Viable Produc: a Guide

All progress depends on the unreasonable [human being].
— George Bernard Shaw

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.
Richard Hamming, You and Your Research

Losers have goals. Winners have systems.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.
— Benjamin Franklin

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
— Ludwig Wittgenstein