Archive of posts with tag 'quotes'

Are They Funny?

August 25, 2023 • #


From an interview with Jerry Seinfeld at HBR:

HBR: You and Larry David wrote Seinfeld together, without a traditional writers’ room, and burnout was one reason you stopped. Was there a more sustainable way to do it? Could McKinsey or someone have helped you find a better model?

Jerry: Who’s McKinsey?

HBR: It’s a consulting firm.

Jerry: Are they funny?

HBR: No.

Jerry: Then I don’t need them. If you’re efficient, you’re doing it the wrong way. The right way is the hard way. The...

Popper on Great Man Theory

September 27, 2022 • #

This just showed up in my Readwise highlights today, from Karl Popper’s The Open Society and its Enemies:

It springs rather from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break with the habit of deference to great men. Great men may make great mistakes; and as the book tries to show, some of the greatest leaders of the past supported the perennial attack on freedom and reason.

Popper opposes the historicist Great man theory, where we attribute outsized impact on the...

Ask Fewer Questions

August 16, 2019 • #

Seneca had great advice 2000 years ago on how to calm ourselves down:

“It is not to your benefit to see and hear everything. Many injuries ought to pass over us; if you ignore them, you get no more injury from them. You want to be less angry? Ask fewer questions.”

I read “ask fewer questions” metaphorically as “don’t feel compelled to engage in every single dialog”. Much of the media discourse fans these flames: show everyone incendiary content, get them annoyed, make it easy to respond, beget another response — an ever increasing turning of...

The Quality of Your Thoughts

March 28, 2019 • #

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.

— Marcus Aurelius

Form Defining Function

February 16, 2017 • #

I’m currently reading Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene, a history of the building block of living things. A great read, the right mix of history and discussion of future possibilities like gene manipulation, splicing, and cloning (good or bad).

This bit struck me about the construction of anything, not just living organisms. It’s not the parts, but the relationship between parts that gives a structure its function:

A boat is not made of planks, it’s the relationship between planks. If you hammer a hundred strips on top of each other you get a wall, side to side you get...

Table Alphabeticall

October 7, 2011 • #

Gentle reader, thou must learne the Alphabet, to wit, the order of the Letters as they stand, perfectly without booke, and where every Letter standeth: as b neere the beginning, n about the middest, and t toward the end. Nowe if the word, which thou art desirous to finde, begin with a then looke in the beginning of this Table, but if with v looke towards the end. Againe, if thy word beginne with ca looke in the beginning of the letter c but if with cu then looke toward the end of that letter. And so of all...

The Modern World

March 14, 2011 • #

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.

— G.K. Chesterton

Spending Money

November 3, 2010 • #

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m...

The 72-hour Expert

September 22, 2010 • #

P.J. O’Rourke on his time in Afghanistan:

“Traditionalism being one of the things that makes Afghanistan so hard for Americans to understand. We Americans have so many traditions. For instance our political traditions date back to the 12th-century English Parliament if not to the Roman Senate. Afghans, on the other hand, have had the representative democracy kind of politics for only six years. Afghanistan’s political traditions are just beginning to develop. A Pashtun tribal leader told me that a ‘problem among Afghan politicians is that they do not tell the truth.’ It’s a political system so new that...