A few words of wisdom

Quote Archive

“It is the consistency of the information that matters for a good story, not its completeness.”

Daniel Kahneman, American Psychologist

“To make anything interesting you simply have to look at it long enough.”

Gustave Flaubert, French Novelist

“There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings.”

Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli Historian

“Human beings innovate by combining and recombining ideas, and the larger and denser the network, the more innovation occurs.”

Matthew Ridley, British Journalist

“And you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments.”

Jonathan Haidt, American Psychologist

“When a fact is plausible, we still need to test it. When a story is plausible, we often assume it’s true.”

Maria Konnikova, Muscovite Magna cum Laude Harvardian

“Nothing is 100% ‘unique.’ Language purists be damned: uniqueness is a matter of degree.”

Philip E Tetlock, Pennsylvanian Professor of Forecasting

“The real test of ‘knowledge’ is not whether it is true, but whether it empowers us. Scientists usually assume that no theory is 100 per cent correct. Consequently, truth is a poor test for knowledge. The real test is utility. A theory that enables us to do new things constitutes knowledge.”

Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli Oxonian Historian

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”

John Maynard Keynes, Cambridge Macroeconomist

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. The more there is to hear, the less we listen.”

Herbert Simon, Carnegie Mellon Cognitive Scientist

“The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.”

Voltaire, Enlightenment writer

“The real problem of humanity is the following: we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology.”

E O Wilson, Harvard biologist

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

Plato, Greek ponderer

“Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.”

Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian Schemer

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris, English Crafts-nut

“No one is smart enough to invent anything in isolation that anyone else would want to use.”

Steven Pinker, Harvard Evolutionary Psychologist

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

“If you were an alien encountering humans for the first time, you’d have to assume that the laughing served as the primary communication method, with spoken words as an afterthought.”

Steven Johnson, Popular Science Journalist

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”

Albert Einstein, Nobel-prizewinning Expert on Extremely Big Things

“More often than not, curiosity is mere vanity. We only want to know something in order to talk about it.”

Blaise Pascal, Parisian Polymath

“Trial and error will always be a part of how any organization solves a complex, ever-shifting problem.”

Tim Harford, British Economist

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”

Kevin Kelly, American Tech Pioneeer

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin, American Novelist

“Something only becomes truly popular when it becomes interesting to those who don’t particularly care.”

Chuck Klosterman, American Essayist

“Unfortunately, our ability to learn from information hasn’t necessarily kept pace with its proliferation.”

Charles Duhigg, American Journalist

“The progress of science, with its dazzling success at explaining and manipulating the world, shows that knowledge of the universe is possible, albeit always probabilistic and subject to revision.”

Steven Pinker, Harvard Evolutionary Psychologist

“Trial and error is a tremendously powerful process for solving problems in a complex world, while expert leadership is not.”

Tim Harford, Financial Times Undercover Economist

“We tend to give too much credit to whichever clever person is standing nearby at the right moment.”

Matt Ridley, House of Lords Wall Street Journalist

“Intelligence selectively destroys information to create knowledge.”

Ray Kurzweil, Singularity Espousing Google Executive

“Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.”

Daniel Kahneman, Judgment and Decision-Making Nobel Laureate

“Real people don’t deal with uncertainty by carefully evaluating all of the relevant information. They stink at statistics and rarely maximize utility. Instead, their choices depend on a long list of mental short cuts and intemperate emotions, which often lead them to pick the wrong options.”

Jonah Lehrer, Columbia plagiarist

“There’s an extreme kind of conformity to all the non-conformity. You realize that in all this rebellion, everyone’s doing the same thing.”

Jason Everman, Nirvana guitarist and US Special Forces operative

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”

Albert Einstein, Nobel-prizewinning Expert on Extremely Big Things

“If you think you understand quantum theory, you don’t understand quantum theory.”

Richard Feynman, Nobel-prizewinning Expert on Extremely Small Things

“Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”

Tennessee Williams, American Word-squirter

“Old words in the service of a new idea aren’t the problem. What inhibits creativity is new words in the service of an old idea.”

Malcolm Gladwell, British Canadian Opiner

“Plans are nothing, planning is everything.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States

“Thinking without doing is of little value or consequence… but a bias toward just “doing” doesn’t necessarily promote precise thinking.”

Roger Martin, Business Guru

“The emotions are mechanisms that set the brain’s highest-level goals. Once triggered by a propitious moment, an emotion triggers the cascade of subgoals and sub-subgoals that we call thinking and acting.”

Steven Pinker, Harvard Evolutionary Psychologist