Here is a collection of quotes I love. Some quotes have videos.
First Publish: 23rd Jan, 2008 Last Update: 14th May, 2017
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead (1901-1978)
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” – Thomas E. Lawrence (1888-1935)
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” – Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
“But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.” – John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) (The concluding sentence of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money) (originally ref Paul Krugman, ref books.google.ca to read)
“If you have to forecast, forecast often.” – Edgar R. Fiedler (1929-2003) in “Across the Board: The Three Rs of Economic Forecasting — Irrational, Irrelevant and Irreverent”
“The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers.” – Edgar R. Fiedler in “Across the Board: The Three Rs of Economic Forecasting — Irrational, Irrelevant and Irreverent”
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
“Life is like a snowball. The really important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill.” — Warren Buffett (1930 -)
“Lose money for the firm and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.” – Warren Buffett (in YouTube clip of Warren Buffett’s Testimony before the subcommittee on the conduct of Salomon Brothers, September 4th, 1991)(full 4+ hours on YouTube or on C-Span)
“People were paralyzed at the end of 2008. They are just plain scared. Treasure bills went to a negative yield. Imagine that. You could put the money under the mattress and get higher yield than you get on treasure bills. When thats going on, you got to be with a great big tub. When it is raining gold, you do not want to be out with a tea spoon. You want to be out there with a big [tub].” – Warren Buffett in (YouTube video “1h coaching with WARREN BUFFETT – Essentials Business/Investment Strategies ADVICES FOR 2015“)
“Money has no utility to me. Time has utility to me.” — Warren Buffett in (YouTube video “Buffett Talks His Early Career in Finance and Advice for Investors on ‘The David Rubenstein Show“)
“Defining your circle of competence is the most important aspect of investing. It is not how large your circle is. You don’t have to be an expert on everything. But knowing where the perimeter of that circle of what you know and what you don’t know is and staying inside of it is all important.” — Warren Buffett in (YouTube video “Warren Buffett speaks to UGA students (2001)“)
“To me young has no meaning, it is something you can do nothing about. Nothing at all. But youth is a quality, and if you have it you never lose it.” — a comment made by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) in an interview with Mike Wallace (posted online at www.hrc.utexas.edu) when Wright was 88 years old
“Successes teach you nothing. Failures teach you everything. Making mistakes is the most important thing you can do.” – James Dyson (1947-)
“The most beautiful make-up of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” – Yves Saint Laurent, (1936–2008) Fashion Designer
“News has become instant as it flows around the e-universe. It has almost become probability news as research and fact checking go out the window. Probability news means that you don’t know whether it is true or not, it probably is true, but then again, probably not. Everything is now gossip around the village pump.” – Margaret Atwood (1939 -), from York University Alumni Matters (May 2009)
“I’m not wealthy, but I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, and I decided not to do anything that doesn’t meet two criteria: expand my understanding of the world, and allow me to apply whatever understanding I have in some productive way.” – Robert McNamara (1916 – 2009) in this Washington Post quote
“新聞是短歷史，歷史是長新聞。” – 許倬雲 (1930 -) (cited in this interview of 金庸 by 時代周報) [The quote very roughly translated by me: “News is brief history, history is in-depth news.” (first translation attempt: “News is short history, history is lasting news.“)]
“金庸：英國報人史各特(C.P.Scott)講：“事實不可歪曲，評論大可自由。”(Comment is free，but the facts are sacred)事實很重要，不能够歪曲，港督講過什麼話，做過什麼事情，或者某某某做過什麼事情，這個事實不能歪曲，但是評論可以自由。我們的意見可以不同，但是根據同樣的一個事實是不能歪曲的。這一點是我們辦《明報》必要的信條。” in this interview “專訪金庸：辦報紙是拼命 寫小說是玩玩“
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man [or one?] persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) (quote source) (see Gutenberg “Maxims for Revolutionists”, readable text here) (few interesting self-portraits of Shaw)
“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.” – Nelson Mandela (1918–2013) (ref: UN. In 2005, Nelson Mandela urged Generation Y to do all they can to make poverty history in London.)
Iris Gaines: You know, I believe we have two lives.
Roy Hobbs: How… what do you mean?
Iris Gaines: The life we learn with and the life we live with after that. – from The Natural (1984)
“Don’t put limitations on yourself. Other people will do that for you. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t bet against yourself. And take risk.
NASA has this phrase that they like, “Failure is not an option.” But failure has to be an option.
In art and exploration, failure has to be an option. Because it is a leap of faith. And no important endeavour that required innovation was done without risk. You have to be willing to take those risks. […]
“Never memorize what you can look up in books.” “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. […] The important thing is not to stop questioning; never lose a holy curiosity.” – Albert Einstein (1879–1955)
The following three English quotes have been embedded in the first synthetic cell.
“To life, to err, to fail, to triumph, and to recreate life out of life.” – by James Joyce (1888 – 1941)
“See things, not as they are, but as they might be.” – from “American Prometheus”
“What I cannot build, I cannot understand.” by Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988)
“Ben Hogan said, ‘Golf is a game of luck, the more I practice, the luckier I get.’ The harder you work, the luckier you are. I was 33 years old before I ever went to Washington and New York, 42 before I won my first campaign. […] You’ve been part of something special in my life. I’ll never forget what you’ve done. ” – James Carville (1944 -) in The War Room (1993) (Here is a clip from the movie with the above quote.)
“Principles only mean something if you stick by them when they are inconvenient.” – Senator Laine Hanson in The Contender (2000) [HT imdb memorable quotes] (corrected based on film audio, major spoiler scene/clip with this quote)
“[addressing Congress] Napoleon once said when asked to explain the lack of great statesmen in the world, that “to get power you need to display absolute pettiness; to exercise power, you need to show true greatness.” Such pettiness and greatness are rarely found in one person.” – President Jackson Evans in The Contender (2000) [HT imdb memorable quotes]
“You don’t know what you can learn until you try to learn.” – Nobel Economist Ronald Coase (1910 – 2013), in an interview conducted on 28th & 29th, December 2010 when he was 100 years old
“It takes a few days to get my head around how much I like a film, if I really like it a lot, and longer to start to figure out why.” – William Gibson (1948 -) in this Tweet “When you love a film, as when you love a person, why isn’t necessarily that meaningful.” – [via tweet] “The why’s of disliking something are easier to find, and make for quicker, juicier copy.” – [via tweet] “Michael Mann’s theory: We only begin to really experience the film as we leave the theatre, in memory. And *backward*. I agree.” – [via tweet]
“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” – William Gibson
“Q: Do you ever examine yourself to say, why is that you are so fearless compared to other people?
Ai WeiWei‘s answer: I was so fearful, that’s not fearless. I am more fearful than other people, may be, then I act more brave because I know the danger is really there. If you don’t act, the dangers become stronger.” – Ai WeiWei (1957 -) in PBS Frontline video “Who is afraid of Ai Weiwei?” (time code: ~17:25)
“ Twitter is my city, my favorite city. I can talk to anybody I want to. And anybody who wants to talk to me will get my response. They know me better than their relatives or my relatives. There’s so much imagination there; a lot of times it’s just like poetry. You just read one sentence, and you sense this kind of breeze or a kind of look. It’s amazing.” – Ai Weiwei, Foreign Policy “‘Twitter Is My City’: An Exclusive Interview with Ai Weiwei“
Q: AskAiWeiWei What is your advice for the general, non-famously-dissident public to best affect change?
A: “Be involved. Speak your mind clearly. Let your voice be heard.” – Ai Weiwei, RA Twitter Q&A Sep 2015 (via Royal Academy)
“Those of us in the Internet Age with the most access to search engines have the least knowledge about our past. We’re so obsessed with the future that we only look forwards. I’ve been collecting specifically to counter that – to show how deep the roots go.” – Bill Buxton (1949 -) shows off 35 years of tech devices
“Creativity is the ability to see something obvious before it is obvious.” – Bill Buxton
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay (1940 -)
“Learn First. Accredit Later.” – Tim O’Reilly (1954 -)
“ideas are the currency of the future” – Kevin Roberts (1949 -) (here is a YouTube video of Kevin saying the quote, he first used it earlier than 1991 as I have this quote on my first business card in 1991 (?), I think.)
“Technology alone doesn’t solve problems. Social media does not create revolutions. Its a tool. Nothing more or less. Real revolutions are born out of righteous anger and courage and vision. […] The issue is not how accurate a bomb is. The issue is what to do the bombs you have. And more importantly, whether to use bombs at all. Technological problems are not the hardest part of the future. They are the easiest part. The hard part are the human problems that accompany the rise of technology.” – Malcolm Gladwell (1963 -) at University of Toronto: Malcolm Gladwell, Convocation 2011 Honorary Degree speech video (starts at about time code 6:38)
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.“ – from Jack Layton (1950 – 2011)‘s last letter to Canadians released on his passing on Aug 22, 2011
“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” “Art is anything you can get away with.” “The medium is the message.” – Marshall McLuhan (1911 – 1980)
“You can’t be above the stories people choose to follow.” – Brian Williams (1959 -) on David Letterman 2011/10/03
“The enormous success of information theory came from Shannon’s decision to separate information from meaning. His central dogma, “Meaning is irrelevant,” declared that information could be handled with greater freedom if it was treated as a mathematical abstraction independent of meaning. The consequence of this freedom is the flood of information in which we are drowning. The immense size of modern databases gives us a feeling of meaninglessness. Information in such quantities reminds us of Borges’s library extending infinitely in all directions. It is our task as humans to bring meaning back into this wasteland. As finite creatures who think and feel, we can create islands of meaning in the sea of information.” – From a Freeman Dyson (1923 -)‘s NYT book review of James Gleick‘s “The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood” First heard the last bit at the end of the speech video “Big Ideas: Freeman Dyson on Living Through Four Revolutions“.
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) via Judge John Reilly‘s Bad Medicine: A Judge’s Struggle for Justice in a First Nations Community
“You know and I know that we can’t tell you what to print or what not to. We hope you people in the press will act responsibly, but when you don’t, there ain’t a hell lot anybody can do about it. But we can’t have people going around leaking stuff for their own reasons. It ain’t legal. And worse than that, by God, it ain’t right.” – monologue in the movie Absence of Malice by Assistant U.S. Attorney General James A. Wells (played by Wilford Brimley) to newspaper reporter Megan Carter (played by Sally Field)
“At 40 I was addicted. Not to success. I was addicted to trying my hardest. That’s the reward in itself. It’s what life’s about. The struggle. It’s the only way you can be proud. You can’t be proud of luck. Born clever? So what? What are you going to do with it? Your best, I hope, and no less.” – by Ricky Gervais (1961 -) in Huffington Post “On Fame”.
“In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962), You Learn by Living
“Everything I do is purpose driven. … Meaning that when I do things I do them with the intention of benefiting others. When I cut my hair I did it so that a child would benefit from it. Whether they had cancer or some other diseases that made them loose their hair, I wanted to give up mine so they could enjoy it.” – Michele Spry
“… make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.” – Neil Gaiman (1960 -)‘s (author of Stardust (love the film) and Coraline (love the film also)) University of the Arts Class of 2012 Commencement speech.
“I know women look at me and just say, why is she … why doesn’t she do anything to her face. I know people say that. And I know they think that. And I understand that they do that. But I have made that choice, my eyes are my soul. The other day I saw a flower, a faded rose. It was very faded. And it was very brown. And very rogue (?) and all of that. But I thought and you know what, it’s still beautiful.” – Diane Von Furstenberg (1946 -) (via The Conversation)
“If there is any real advice I can give you, it is this. College is something you complete. Life is something you experience. So don’t worry about your grade. Or the results. Or success. Success is defined in myriad ways. And you will find it. And people will no longer be grading you but it will come from your own internal sense of decency.” – Jon Stewart (1962 -) (via 2004 College of W&M)
“Everything is copy. Everything is material. Some day this will be a funny story. Doesn’t seem funny now, but trust me, someday it will be funny.” – Nora Ephron (1941 – 2012) via Conversations at KCTS 9 (YouTube video)
Kathi Goertzen (1958-2012) ““I don’t take anything for granted,” she said. “Last night I watched the moon set, and this morning I saw the mountains, clear with snow, and I don’t ever take that for granted. Not for one moment.” […] “Oddly enough, this whole catastrophe with this brain tumor business has been a wonderful experience in many ways,” she said. “It’s changed my life and a lot of people I love. And we’ve learned what’s really important.”
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968) (VF article, see quote from “Keep Moving From This Mountain (1965)” and also from Wikiquote) (video clip speech supposedly at Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965)
“The arc of the moral universe may be long, but it decidedly and increasingly does not always bend toward justice. Why does that matter? Because it means that too many children will never get to grow up, period. Let alone grow up in a moral universe that bends towards justice.” – Canadian Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella (1946 -), Closing Remarks at 2016 Nuremberg Symposium (May 4, 2016)
“War is the the kind of thing where we know how it starts, but not how it will end” – Meir Dagan (1945 – 2016) (watch “Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon Google+ Hangout at Fox LA“) (Dagan obit: Telegraph, NYT, WaPo)
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Attributed to Mark Twain
“Whatever you do in your career, make it matter and make it count.” – Jeff Daniels (1955 -) quotes playwright Lanford Wilson (1937 – 2011) as he accepted his 2013 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for “The Newsroom” (2012) (see this YouTube video) (2016 update: Bloomberg Business 32 minutes, “How ‘The Newsroom’ Changed Jeff Daniels’ Career“)
“On his daily rituals: “I tend to prefer mornings for designing. And always after reading the papers, because I like to be informed. Paper is at the root of everything. Fashion starts with a sketch and ends up with photos. I don’t like computers for designing. It’s a craft. You have to know how to draw. I sit at several drawing boards at home, listening to music. Time flies. Then, I am served lunch. In the afternoon, I go distribute my work, my portfolio under the arm, like a young student.”” – Karl Lagerfeld, 2013 Paris Master class
“It is up to us to adjust to our times. And the minute you think the past was better, your present is second hand, and yourself becomes vintage. Its ok for cloths. It is not that great for people.” – Karl Lagerfeld (video interview)
“Correctly accounted, the company [Twitter] makes not a dime. But who cares when circumspection is the investment equivalent of tuberculosis.” – John Gilbert, Chief Investment Officer, GR–NEAM (General Re-New England Asset Management) (confirmed via Gurufocus)
“Deploy or Die.” (instead of “Demo or Die” – Nicholas Negroponte (1943 -); or “Publish or Die” in the old days) – Joi Ito at 2014 TED Talk “Want to innovate? Become a “now-ist”” (transcript via TED)
“Learning over Education. To me, Education is what people do to you. And Learning is what you do to yourself.” – Joi Ito (1966 -) at 2014 TED Talk “Want to innovate? Become a “now-ist”” (transcript via TED)
“Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.” – Bruce Mau (1959 -) [via his 1998 classic 43 points Incomplete Manifesto for Growth, downloaded via CBC]
“I’d been waiting decades for a speech like that.” – Jeff Daniel (1955 -) (Source THR: Jeff Daniels’ Two Faces: “How Many Guys Can Go From ‘Newsroom’ to ‘Dumb and Dumber’?”)
“The true measurement of a person’s worth isn’t what they say they believe in, but what they do in defense of those beliefs. If you’re not acting on your beliefs, then they probably aren’t real.” – Edward Snowden (1983 -) said in No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald
“I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.” – Neil Gaiman (1960 -) (Keynote Address 2012 at The University of the Arts, with video)
“It is not how many ideas you have, it is how many you make happen.” – Accenture “I am your idea – Use me!” 2002 advertising campaign (link)
“I’ve said many times over the course of this campaign: Conservatives are not our enemies, they’re our neighbours. Leadership is about bringing people of all different perspectives together.“- Justin Trudeau (1971 -) (ref: full victory speech video (24 minutes) and transcript)
“You want a Prime Minister who knows Canada is a country strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of them, a PM who never seeks to divide Canadians, but takes every single opportunity to bring us together. You want a Prime Minister who knows that if Canadians are to trust their government, their government needs to trust Canadians, a PM who understands that openness and transparency means better, smarter decisions. You want a Prime Minister that knows that a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples that respects rights and honours treaties must be the basis for how we work to close the gap and walk forward together.” – Justin Trudeau (ref: full victory speech video (24 minutes) and transcript)
“Have faith in your fellow citizens, my friends. They are kind and generous. They are open-minded and optimistic. And they know in their heart of hearts that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.” – Justin Trudeau, prime minister-designate
“My friends, we beat fear with hope. We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together. Most of all, we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less, that good enough is good enough and that better just isn’t possible. Well, my friends, this is Canada, and in Canada better is always possible.“- Justin Trudeau, prime minister-designate
“By building solid relationship, this would just automatically happen. Another example was we used to have ambushes occurred on certain places. I once did something and went up to General [David] Fraser and said your ambushes are not longer. And this was without firing a shot. I said, “Don’t worry, I know a guy.” And it was simply just as that. And the ambush disappeared.” – Harjit Sajjan (1970 -) (Canada’s new Minister of National Defence) at Sam Sullivan’s Public Salon in 2010
Q: What’s the word you would use to describe the death [of Hodor]?
A: I think…I think “heroic.” I like that one. Because not all heroes hold weapons. Some hold doors. – Kristian Nairn (1975 -), the Northern Ireland actor who’s played Hodor in Game of Thrones in a THR interview
“To be faithful to the book, you have to betray the book. Really. You can replicate the tone of the book but in detail you cannot. Because the two media are so different. A book is not a movie.” – David Cronenberg (1943 -) (interview on Strombo)
“I met my wife on ‘Match.com’. My profile said, ‘I am a medical student with only one eye, an awkward social manner, and $145,000 in student loans.’ She wrote back, ‘You’re just what I’ve been looking for.’ She meant honest.” – Michael Burry (1971 -) (in The Big Short (2015)) (Vanity Fair book excerpt)
“I don’t do movies because I think generally the size of that content does not lend itself to great comedy; it lends itself to people saying, “Hey, I made a movie.” To me, the funniest things are shorter, so I think TV series or comedians in cars, I think I have a better chance of making you laugh.” – Jerry Seinfeld (1954 -) from his 2016 Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)
“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” – Sonmi-451 in Cloud Atlas (2012) (quote) (YouTube clip)
“Finally, I think there are ways in which a stronger relationship makes it easier for our two countries to have regular, frank discussions on issues like good governance, human rights, and the rule of law. Freedom of expression is a true Canadian value, one protected by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You see, Canada has succeeded, culturally, politically, economically because of our diversity, not in spite of it. […] And I remind everyone that as a country that has seen first-hand the benefits of free expression and good governance, Canada encourages China to do more to promote and protect human rights.” – Justin Trudeau in Shanghai, China (transcript) (YouTube clip)
“Creativity, I think, is based on risk. Only way to make something good is to flirt with disaster. You must walk on the edge of failure in order to succeed. It is a very dangerous position for me but I feel alive when I do that.” – Denis Villeneuve (1967 -) (Arrival video interview with AP)
“If you could see your whole life laid out in front of you, would you change things?” – Dr. Louise Banks asks her future husband Ian Donnelly in the 2016 movie Arrival (review with spoilers, “If we could see our lives laid out before us, would we change anything? Story of Your Life — and by extension Arrival — is telling us to live as if the answer is, and always will be, a resolute no.“)
“ None of my photographs are great photographs – they’re just pictures that hopefully record a moment to make you laugh, or smile, and sometimes cry.” – Lord Snowdon (1930-2017) (my note, quote source)
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” – Mark Twain (1835 -1910), Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World (Gutenberg Project) (ref other formats)
//“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” “Write with the door closed. Rewrite with the door open.”
Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words. But then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right, as right as you can anyway, it belongs to anyone who wants to read it or criticize it.// – Stephen King (1947-) (On Writing, Audio book) As King retold what he learned from John Gould, editor of Lisbon Weekly Enterprise, a newspaper King wrote for in his high school years. (note: With minor edits and paraphrasing.)
“A great man once said that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle. It is the pendulum. And when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it will go back.” – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) stated in a 2017 BBC interview (video) that US is “not experiencing the best of times”. Justice Ginsburg also used the idea in this quote in a 1999 forum (video) with UK Supreme Court Justice Baroness Hale of Richmond.
“Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result. Trust your gut. Keep throwing darts at the dartboard.” – Will Ferrell (1967- ) 2017 USC Commencement Speech (with video)
Quotes I coined:
“Why think about a half full or half empty glass when you are next to a lake?” – Kempton (2009/09/17)
“A soulless newspaper, I suppose, is a nation injecting cancerous cells into her citizens.” – Kempton (2014/01/22)
“A small act is worth a thousand Facebook Likes.” – Kempton (2015/10/09)
“If attention is primary currency of campaigns [as a wise Facebook friend said], then #ridicule should be dye-packed currency that stains campaigns.” – Kempton (2016/07/21) (How I reacted after reading CBC news: “Border wall built around Donald Trump’s Walk of Fame star – Complete with barbed wire and American flags, it was allegedly built by L.A. street artist Plastic Jesus“)