Quotations of Wisdom

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Edward de Bono

Sometimes it is not enough just to be against something. Pressure groups can be powerful in bringing something to an end. But in many cases there is also a need for constructive ideas. (from the book, I am Right, you are wrong. page 22) [Q2000]


You don't have to like a man to drink his liquor. [Q1557]

Václav Havel

You do not become a "dissident" just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society. [Q1782]

Michael Korda

The freedom to fail is vital if you're going to succeed. Most successful people fail from time to time, and it is a measure of their strength that failure merely propels them into some new attempt at success. [Q457]

Adlai Stevenson

Your days are short here; this is the last of your springs. And now in the serenity and quiet of this lovely place, touch the depths of truth, feel the hem of Heaven. You will go away with old, good friends. And don't forget when you leave why you came. [Q1657]


I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint — 8th Century BC [Q1389]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen. [Q1078]


It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help. [Q801]

Woodrow Wilson

The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it. [Q748]

Senator Paul Simon

[One solution to the trade deficit is to] train our workforce better. How many US-based corporations have moved plants to other countries because of our inadequately trained workforce? No one knows, but the numbers are large. That does not mean Americans have less inherent ability than people in Japan or Germany or Singapore. But privately, and sometimes publicly, industrial leaders are candid about the inadequacy of the educational background of too many Americans. [Q2060]

Nick (Momus) Currie

In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen people. [Q1838]


The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching. [Q862]

Michel de Montaigne

I write to keep from going mad from the contradictions I find among mankind - and to work some of those contradictions out for myself. [Q1170]

William James Durant

It is good that new ideas should be heard, for the sake of the few that can be used; but it is also good that new ideas should be compelled to go through the mill of objection, opposition, and contumely; this is the trial heat which innovation must survive before being allowed to enter the human race. It is good that the old should resist the young, and that the young should press the old ... Out of the strife ... comes a creative tensile strength. [Q1725]

Thomas Paine

Every religion is good that teaches man to be good; and I know of none that instructs him to be bad. [Q263]

David Hartley

Any sensations A, B, C, etc., by being associated with one another a sufficient number of times, get such a power over the corresponding ideas a, b, c, etc., that any one of the sensations A, when impressed alone, shall be able to excite in the mind b, c, etc., the ideas of the rest. [Q1442]

King of Jordan Hussein I

Let me say this loud and clear. There is a world of difference between terrorist acts and the Islamic Shari'a. Islam is not only a religion, but a way of life. And at its heart lie the sacred principles of tolerance and dialogue. [Q1498]

Master Kan

The Yin and the Yang are opposite forces yet they exist together in the harmony of a perfect orb. — "Kung Fu" The Passion of Chen Yi — 1974 Episode 34 [Q631]


There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain. [Q900]


People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die. [Q890]

Mohandas Gandhi

Live simply so that others may simply live. [Q1311]

Nikola Tesla

The spread of civilisation may be likened to a fire; first, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power. [Q1676]


Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind. [Q858]

Edward de Bono

Experience has shown that reason and logic can never change perception, emotions, prejudices, and beliefs. Yet we continue in the pious hope that if everyone would 'see reason' the world would be so much better. As we shall see later, there are very good reasons why logic will never affect emotions and beliefs. The only way to do this is through perception. But we have totally failed to develop an understanding of perception. (from the book, I am Right, you are Wrong. Pg 40) [Q2009]


The only safety for the conquered is to expect no safety. [Q1588]

Henry David Thoreau

I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, to life itself than this incessant business. [Q147]

Thomas Jefferson

My partiality for that division [of every county into wards] is not founded in views of education solely, but infinitely more as the means of a better administration of our government, and the eternal preservation of its republican principles. The example of this most admirable of all human contrivances in government, is to be seen in our Eastern States; and its powerful effect in the order and economy of their internal affairs, and the momentum it gives them as a nation, is the single circumstance which distinguishes them so remarkably from every other national association. [Q532]

Jim Walts

Your presentation of the very tool you hope will help people present their ideas, well, it needs your tool. — In reference to the Do Good Gauge. [Q1659]

H. L. Mencken

A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier. [Q1213]

Ferdinand de Saussure

Outside speech, the association that is made in the memory between words having something in common creates different groups, series, families, within which very diverse relations obtain but belonging to a single category: these are associative relations. [Q1190]

T.S. Elliot

There is no absolute point of view from which real and ideal can be finally separated and labeled. [Q340]

Sheldon Lee Glashow

Today's thinking habits cannot be based on word-play or belief systems but must be attuned to the latest developments in neuroscience and matched to 'the way the human brain creates perception'. Dr de Bono is motivated because 'in democracies it is everyone's business that everyone should think better'. — Prologue to Edward de Bono's I am Right You are Wrong. [Q1989]

Dalai Lama

The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis. [Q544]

Marshall McLuhan

The medium is the message. [Q1475]

Adlai Stevenson

An Independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics. [Q1645]

Bo Derek

It's really difficult for me. Language, I am sorry that I haven't. I think I just always expected that you learn a word in place of a word and when I discovered how difficult the grammar was and learning that was very discouraging for me. [Q2080]

Dr. Zaius

The Forbidden Zone was once a paradise. Your breed made a desert of it, ages ago. [Q1604]

Henry David Thoreau

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. [Q299]

John F Kennedy

So, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. [Q2064]

Jesse Jackson

No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to fly high. No government, no legislature, has a right to limit your dreams. You should never agree to surrender your dreams. [Q1551]

Václav Havel

The law is only one of several imperfect and more or less external ways of defending what is better in life against what is worse. By itself, the law can never create anything better... Establishing respect for the law does not automatically ensure a better life for that, after all, is a job for people and not for laws and institutions. [Q1783]

Stephen Jay Gould

Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview - nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty. [Q1807]

Edward Teller

The main purpose of science is simplicity and as we understand more things, everything is becoming simpler. [Q739]

Gabrielle Gifford

My position ... is to listen to my constituents; it's to learn from the best information that's available; and then ultimately make sound, rational decisions that's going to be beneficial for the people of the eighth congressional district. That's my job. [Q1263]

T.S. Elliot

I don't believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates. [Q337]


Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments. [Q881]

Óscar Romero

If God accepts the sacrifice of my life, may my death be for the freedom of my people ... A bishop will die, but the Church of God, which is the people, will never perish. [Q1072]

Senator Paul Simon

The words of Jesus about helping the hungry, the naked, those in prison, and others desperate seem to me to ring true and are so contrary to the actions taken over the centuries by so many in the name of Jesus. [Q1700]

Edward de Bono

The false dichotomies we constructed in order to operate the logic principles of contradiction have been so especially disastrous. (from the book, I am right, you are wrong. page 37) [Q2007]


All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by self-respecting persons as final. [Q1237]

Herbert Simon

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. [Q641]


I have gained this from philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law. [Q847]

Maurice Strong

One of the things that I've always thought I would like to do is to develop an environmental index. Then people can measure their own environmental performance on an index as they do in other ways. [Q452]

Mohandas Gandhi

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. [Q66]

Isaac Asimov

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. [Q700]

Michel de Montaigne

If ordinary people complain that I speak too much of myself, I complain that they do not even think of themselves. [Q1171]

Blaise Pascal

Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth. [Q585]


From a single action, you draw an entire universe. Could you not see I had nothing to protect? — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q519]

Brian Kernighan

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. [Q1408]

Thomas Jefferson

The object [of my education bill was] to bring into action that mass of talents which lies buried in poverty in every country for want of the means of development, and thus give activity to a mass of mind which in proportion to our population shall be the double or treble of what it is in most countries. [Q530]


Every man makes a god of his own desire. [Q1576]

Richard M Nixon

Solutions are not the answer. [Q306]

Craig Venter

If their not butting up against dogma, against bureaucracies, against the static state of thinking in our society they are not doing the right things. We can't keep doing what we are doing in society and expect to survive long term on this planet. To me it is a more of a shame there is not more radical thinking. That is certainly how science moves forward. It goes by people having new ideas to take the hole field in a new direction. [Q1496]

Alan Alda

Flatow: What was it like playing Richard Feynman? Alda: It was just great, because you couldn't get to the bottom of who he was. He is so many people in one. A friend of mine who is a mathematician, Steve Shrogets, said the central image for him is his idea that a particle takes every possible path, and then most of them cancel themselves out except for the path you observe. — From Science Friday, March 23, 2012 [Q1920]

Theodore Roosevelt

The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. [Q1286]

Buckminster Fuller

The youth of humanity all around our planet are intuitively revolting from all sovereignties and political ideologies. The youth of Earth are moving intuitively toward an utterly classless, raceless, omnicooperative, omniworld humanity. Children freed of the ignorantly founded educational traditions and exposed only to their spontaneously summoned, computer-stored and -distributed outflow of reliable-opinion-purged, experimentally verified data, shall indeed lead society to its happy egress from all misinformedly conceived, fearfully and legally imposed, and physically enforced customs of yesterday. They can lead all humanity into omnisuccessful survival as well as entrance into an utterly new era of human experience in an as-yet and ever-will-be fundamentally mysterious Universe. — The Wellspring of Reality [Q180]


Pleasant it is, when over a great sea the winds trouble the waters, to gaze from shore upon another's great tribulation; not because any man's troubles are a delectable joy, but because to perceive you are free of them yourself is pleasant. [Q1561]

Mohandas Gandhi

I believe that a man is the strongest soldier for daring to die unarmed. [Q565]

René Descartes

The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. [Q1123]

John Boyd Orr

After the First World War the economic problem was no longer one of production. It was the problem of finding markets to get the output of industry and agriculture dispersed and consumed. [Q1150]

Leo Tolstoy

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. [Q1060]

Charles Lindbergh

It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane. [Q1938]

Daniel H. Pink

We know from statisticians that demographics is destiny. And we know from the Rolling Stones that you can't always get what you want. What we don't know is what happens when these two indomitable principles sit down, pour themselves a drink, and get to know each other better. [Q492]

Woodrow Wilson

Since I have entered politics I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States are afraid of something. They know there is a power somewhere. A power so subtle, so organised, so complete and pervasive that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. [Q1971]


Our sins are more easily remembered than our good deeds. [Q770]

T.S. Elliot

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? [Q343]

Clarence Darrow

Depressions may bring people closer to the church but so do funerals. [Q1094]

John Steinbeck

It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. [Q1369]


Begin thus from the first act, and proceed; and, in conclusion, at the ill which thou hast done, be troubled, and rejoice for the good. [Q923]


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. [Q853]

J. William Fulbright

Our elected representatives ... study and analyze public attitude by sophisticated new techniques, but their purpose has little to do with leadership. ... Their purpose, it seems, is to discover what people want and fear and dislike, and then to identify themselves with those sentiments. They seek to discover which issues can be safely emphasized and which are more prudently avoided. This approach to politics is the opposite of leadership; it is followership, for purpose of self-advancement. ... [Q1821]

Mohandas Gandhi

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position. [Q559]

Will Rogers

A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people. [Q1188]

Abraham Lincoln

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion. [Q1241]


Not every difficult and dangerous thing is suitable for training, but only that which is conducive to success in achieving the object of our effort. [Q819]

Richard P. Feynman

The old problems, such as the relation of science and religion, are still with us, and I believe present as difficult dilemmas as ever, but they are not often publicly discussed because of the limitations of specialization. [Q969]


Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech. [Q784]


What each man feared would happen to himself, did not trouble him when he saw that it would ruin another. [Q1592]

REO Speedwagon

Golden country your face is so red. With all of your money your poor can be fed. You strut around and you flirt with disaster. Never really carin' just what comes after. Well your blacks are dyin' but your back is still turned. And your freaks are cryin' but your back is still turned. You better stop your hidin or your country will burn. The time has come for you my friend. To all this ugliness we must put an end. Before we leave we must make a stand. — Lyrics from Golden Country [Q2104]

Senator Paul Simon

Cynicism is contagious, just as enthusiasm is. When reporters who constantly question everyone's motives convey that cynicism in their stories, the public is soon afflicted with the same disease. Reports should be skeptical, ask questions, dig for the facts, and where appropriate make judgements on motivation. But to assume that no public official ever has any aim other than being reelected is a inaccurate as assuming that it is never a motivating factor.

Where public officials make mistakes — and we all do — we should be taken to task both in articles and in editorials. But painting the political horizon as too bleak discourages citizens from using the tools of democracy to improve our communities and our nation. Cynicism by the media produces cynical citizens.


Dante Alighieri

The more perfect a thing is, the more susceptible to good and bad treatment it is. [Q1515]


He was a wise man who invented beer. [Q883]


To accuse others for one's own misfortunes is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one's education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one's education is complete. [Q825]

Thomas Jefferson

The bill for establishing religious freedom... I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it's protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word 'Jesus Christ,' so that it should read 'a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.' The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination. [Q609]

Leo Tolstoy

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. [Q1061]


You may be always victorious if you will never enter into any contest where the issue does not wholly depend upon yourself. [Q831]

Franklin Roosevelt

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. [Q496]

Ward Cunningham

In the months before I made wiki, we had been having an argument. I think Kent Beck and I were on one side. People who had a lot of faith in the prevailing dogma of software engineering were on the other side. We said, “Collective code ownership is good.” They said, “That’s ridiculous. You’ll never get responsibility. You’ll never get quality if you don’t have responsibility. And the only way you’ll get responsibility is ownership. You have to pin the bugs back on somebody if you want them to ever rise above producing bugs.” And I said, “Well that’s wrong.” [Q1011]

John Boyd Orr

When the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century brought a rapid increase in wealth, the demand of workers for a fair share of the wealth they were creating was conceded only after riots and strikes. [Q1159]

Edwin Hubbel Chaplin

Through every rift of discovery some seeming anomaly drops out of the darkness, and falls, as a golden link into the great chain of order. [Q1738]

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