Quotes I Love

Here is a collection of quotes I love. Some quotes have audio/video clips.

First published: 23 Jan, 2008   Latest Updates: May 31, 2023 Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Jane Fonda episode), Dec 17, 2022 Science, Aug 31, 2022 Mikhail Gorbachev (1931 – 2022), June 26, 2022 Emilia Clarke; Feb 15, 2022 (Link to  Charles Bukowski doc), Jan 14, 2022 Keanu Reeves, Oct 25, 2021 Denis Villeneuve

“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)

Even in the world of stupid men, there would still be profit.” – Armen A. Alchian (1914-2013) in Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory

Science is question-driven. And the more interesting the questions, the more compelling the results.” – Natalie Jeremijenko (1966 -) in Seed Video: Revolutionary Minds

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”

Explicit forecasts are better than implicit forecasts.” – Edgar R. Fiedler in The Future Lies Ahead

“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)(timecode 2m17s)(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)“)

“Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.” — Warren Buffett in his biography“The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” by Alice Schroeder (see my 20190515 post)

‘You can always tell someone to go to hell tomorrow’Warren Buffett

“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

“Together we cannot fail.”Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) (listen to part of his 1933 “On the Bank Crisis” speech here)

“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

“The first job of a citizen is to keep your mouth open.” Günther Grass (1927–2015), from NYT blog

“I don’t give back, I give forward.” Patsy Bullitt Collins (1920 – 2003) , from NYT blog

“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.“)]

Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” – C.P.Scott (1846–1932)

“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 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)

“The important thing is that the new [Obama] administration should not be listening to just one point of view.” – Brooksley Born (1940 -) (see also Stanford alumni article) (Watch Ms. Born in PBS doc “The Warning”)

Worry top-down, invest bottom-up.” – quoted by David Swensen (1954 -) in this Yale Econ 252 Financial Markets guest lecture (~1:06:30)

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)

“An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.” – J. D. Salinger (1919–2010) (quotes)

“We need “soft eyes” that take in everything we see, not just what we are looking for.”Tim O’Reilly (1954 -) [via edge]

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. […]

in whatever you are doing, failure is an option. But fear is not.” – James Cameron (1954 -) at his 2010 TED talk [time code 16:11]

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)

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.” – Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988) from NASA Space Shuttle Challenger explosion investigation report, Appendix F

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

New ideas are most likely to come from the young who are also the group who are most likely to recognize the significance of those ideas.” – Ronald Coase in his 2003 Coase Lecture

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 TweetWhen 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)

“A small act is worth a million thoughts.” “I want people to see their own power.”Ai Wei Wei (quote)

 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

Everything is art. Everything is politics.” – Ai WeiweiThe Independent, February 2010 (via Royal Academy)

The internet is uncontrollable. And if the internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win. It’s as simple as that.” – Ai WeiweiGuardian, April 2012 (via Royal Academy)

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 WeiweiRA Twitter Q&A Sep 2015 (via Royal Academy)

New York City to me is a readymade. The beauty about New York City is co-existence, tolerance and sharing.” “Fences can be solid as a wall. But many fences you can see through. You can have hatred or admiration about the other side.” – Ai Weiwei (Vimeo video @1:47 & @2:42) (ref Public Art Fund)

“People keep asking me: did you know the whole story from the beginning…? (Of course not. Documentaries should be investigative.)” – Errol Morris (1948 -) in this tweet

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

Look at the [Buxton] collection and then try and convince me that our slow rate of progress is due to a lack of technology rather than a lack of imagination.” – Bill Buxton @ [Buxton] collection

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)

Chance favors the prepared mind.” – a quote by Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” – a quote by Arthur Miller (1915-2005)

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)

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.” from Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)‘s poem “If —“, first read in “Hannibal and Me” by Andreas Kluth. (Note: This quote is inscribed above the entrance to Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Quote used in Wimbledon’s video tweet. See also this unverified pix tweet. And this quoted official Wimbledon 2021 Christmas tweet.)

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”.

Chance favours the connected mind.” – by Steven Johnson (1968 -) in the video “Where Good Ideas Come From” [HT @GreatDismal]

“And I try to be as discreet as I can. My whole thing is to be invisible. You get more natural pictures that way, too.” – Bill Cunningham (1929-2016) in NYT “Bill on Bill”

“Money’s the cheapest thing. Liberty, freedom is the most expensive.” – Bill Cunningham in the fun and deeply insightful documentary “Bill Cunningham New York” (see trailer)

The wider world that perceives fashion as sometimes as frivolity that should be done away with in the face of social upheavals. The problems are enormous. The point is, in fact, fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you can do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization. Thats what I think.” – Bill Cunningham from the documentary Bill Cunningham New York (low quality YouTube video excerpt)

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

The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982)The Fountainhead

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 video. (transcript)

“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)

“It’s not just what you stand for, it’s what you stand up for.” – Rosalie Abella2017 Commencement speech at Brandeis University

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)

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” – Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) (full copyright free project gutenberg text)

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.” – often MIS-attributed (some online info but nothing definitive) to Mark Twain

Be curious. Have empathy. Wonder what it is like to be someone else. Make a friend who is not like you.” – Roger Ebert’s (1942 – 2013) final words from his 1994 PBS 11th Hour speech

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 change: “I change over the time. I don’t have a fixed position. If you do in fashion, you are dead. You have to adapt to the times.”” – Karl Lagerfeld (1933 – 2019), 2013 Paris Master class

On school: “Education is great, but each one needs to find his calling and educate himself. School is not enough if you don’t give it 300 percent.”” – Karl Lagerfeld2013 Paris Master class

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 Lagerfeld2013 Paris Master class

Every book you buy, you should also buy the time to read it but the drama is time is not for sale.” – Karl Lagerfeld quoting a German philosopher in LeWeb 2011 (timecode 2m15s)

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]

We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.” – Tim Cook (1960 -) (CEO of Apple), in “I’m proud to be gay” (2014, Oct 30th)

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’?”)

“All types of knowledge, ultimately mean self knowledge.”Bruce Lee (1940 – 1973) (1971, The Pierre Burton Show, “The Lost Interview” (audio is a bit out of sync))

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)

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – sometimes attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519), Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973), et al (I just find it cool as I finished two documentaries in 2015)

“ As the
– a short poem by Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994) (a brief discussion) (Charles Bukowski Documentary Born Into This)

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)

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” – Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) (The Critic as Artist in Intentions (Gutenberg Project))

That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity.” – Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011) (Business Week 1998 via Guardian)

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” – Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) (random book source)

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

If we start having to apologise for showing a friendly face in emergencies, then this is not my country.” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel (1954 -) during 2015 refugee criss

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 (1933-2020) 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)

“From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly so that you will come to know the value of justice.
I hope that you will suffer betrayal cause that will teach you the importance of loyalty.
Sorry to say but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted.
I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and the failures of others is not completely deserved either.
And when you lose as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship.
I hope you will be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others.
And I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.
Whether I wish these things or not, they are going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will dependent upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.”
– John Glover Roberts Jr. (1955- ) 2017 Cardigan’s Commencement Address by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. (with video)

DRIVE CAREFULLY ME.” – Joanne Woodward (1930 -) (ref: 2017 Oct WaPo, “Paul Newman’s Rolex — with a telling message from his wife — fetches record $17.8 million“)

This is my concern about digital cash [like Bitcoin]. The cryptography can be bulletproof, but the computer security will always be an issue.” – Bruce Schneier (1952- ) (Ref: “Ethereum Hacks” July 20th, 2017)

So in medical school, we learned about the heart and lung and I just fell in love with the heart. I love studying it. I love the physiology.” “Going to medical school I didn’t know any Indigenous surgeons and I didn’t known any female heart surgeons, but I didn’t let that stop me. So please go after your dreams.” – Dr. Donna May Kimmaliardjuk (known to her colleagues as “Dr. K”), an Ottawa woman is set to become Canada’s first Inuk heart surgeon (CTV news report, with video)

I want to write like @jk_rowling or @StephenKing but it’s too hard for me. I’m demotivated. I’ll never finish my book.
– Roi-Sorcier d’Angmar from tweet‏ @_Uruk_Hai_ 7:34 AM – 12 Nov 2017
Don’t write me. Write like you. Nobody else can do that. Finish that book x
J.K. Rowling‏ from tweet @jk_rowling 7:37 AM – 12 Nov 2017

If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison (1931-2019)

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” – Simon Kuper

Jon M. Chu‘s mom: When did you become a snob?!

For the first time in my life, I wasn’t making anything either. I didn’t have a video camera and I wasn’t editing on my own. For those five years, this idea, this carrot of you’re going to make a movie, you’re going to make a movie eluded me. And I didn’t fulfill that part of my body. The longest time in my life that I wasn’t making stuff physically.

Then this script comes across my desk. This is literally five years later. And I’m in the condo that the pair play price (???) bought for me. I’m out of money basically. And I get a script for Step Up 2. I’m like what’s Step Up 2? Oh, it’s a direct-to-dvd sequel to this dance movie. I was like, oh yeah, I think I saw that. And I was like I don’t do direct-to-dvd. And I was like, you know, Steven Spielberg saw my short, he loved it. I’m gonna make features. I’ve been working on it for over five years. It’s only six months away. And I talked to my mom. And she was like, when did you become a snob?!
What are you talking about? She’s like “you trained to be s storyteller and a storyteller can use anything even if it’s campfire. So what makes you think you’re so good and you’re like on the bench of a great team but you’ve never played. Like get your two minutes prove what you can do.”
And I was like, yeah, you’re right. I’m gonna make the best damn direct-to-dvd dance movie sequel ever.”Jon M. Chu (1979- ) in this 2015 Film Independent Forum Keynote which Chu shared in a tweet “Ironically, I was on THE EXACT same stage that only 2.5 years ago I was giving a painful speech about what it was like for my movie to BOMB its opening weekend. But I think back &that is also the exact moment my #CrazyRichAsians journey began. #persevere” after Crazy Rich Asians opened massively with a box office of $35M+ in a 5-day opening. (see longer transcript here)

When you discover you were wrong about something, don’t fight it. Treasure the moment: you’ve learnt something.” – Simon Kuper

I mean, I don’t really think too much about my identity or whatever. For me, I’m just me.
And I know the way that I was brought up, I don’t know, people tell me I act kind of Japanese so I guess there is that. But other than that, if you were talking about my tennis, I think my tennis is very … not very Japanese.” – Naomi Osaka (1997 -) at 2018 US Open victory press Conference in Japan 

“Any healthy country, like any healthy individual, should be in perpetual revolution.” – Jane Fonda (1937- ) in documentary Jane Fonda In Five Acts (2018) | HBO trailer@1:28

“I’m proud of most of what I did. And I’m very sorry for some of what I did. – Jane Fonda at trailer@0:59

I would much rather feel comfortable and feel beautiful, than to feel uncomfortable, but look fantastic.” – Penny Marshall (1943 – 2018)

I want you to laugh and cry. That’s what I do.” – Penny Marshall

I have a strange combination of fearlessness and massive insecurity.” – Penny Marshall

[Stephen Colbert asked:] “What do you think happens when we die Keanu Reeves?”

[After a long pause.] “I know that the ones who love us will miss us.” – Keanu Reeves (1964- ) (YouTube video The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) (Colbert Questionert was inspired by this Q&A) (Ref: 20190515 post)

“But the moral is not to have as many referendums as possible. The moral is to have none at all.”Lord Jonathan Sumption (1948- ) (I wrote a post re: BBC Radio audio reference 2019 Reith Lectures by Jonathan Sumption, Lecture 2, In Praise of Politics, timecode 40:01)

“In my experience at SNL, there really could be no creativity without structure and boundaries. Every week we go from a blank page to on the air in six days, never knowing for sure what the final show will look like. I say every week, we don’t go on because it’s ready. We go on because it’s 11:30.” – Lorne Michaels (1944- ) (Quote starts at the 12s mark)

“For 17 seasons you have been my partners in listening. In fact the most important thing I have learned in hosting The Current is how to listen, not how to talk, not how to ask questions, but how to listen. How to say nothing even and hear what someone else is really saying because I learn not in the asking but in the hearing. I learn about someone or something in the words that are spoken and then how they’re spoken and the words that are used in the exuberance, in the hesitation, in the emotion. Even the silences tell me something and they tell me something loudly.

At a world where so many people are shouting at each other, where so many refuse to hear anything but their own voice, the ability to hear another side to think differently, to question yourself, to learn something new, that is a gift.” – Anna Maria Tremonti (1957- ) (AMT’s final edition, timecode (~1hr 08m 38s))

I wish people understood just how hard we have to work, even the guys who never touch the floor, because you never know when you’re gonna get that opportunity. You have to do everything to be ready to play.” – Jeremy Lin (1988 -) [Love the context and video clip!]

Dream big to get big! And don’t forget who you are. Don’t forget your roots! She [Bianca’s mom] has been telling me that ever since I was a little kid.” – Bianca Andreescu (2000- ) (Ref link with video)

“I haven’t ever changed who I am. I’ve just gotten more accepting of it. Being happy isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” – Carrie Fisher (1956 – 2016) (ref: source of quotes)

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” – Carrie Fisher

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” – Carrie Fisher

“Going through challenging things can teach you a lot, and they also make you appreciate the times that aren’t so challenging.” – Carrie Fisher

“No motive is pure. No one is good or bad — but a hearty mix of both. And sometimes life actually gives to you by taking away.” – Carrie Fisher

“It’s the most amazing thing to be able to forgive.” – Carrie Fisher

“I heard someone say once that many of us only seem able to find heaven by backing away from hell. And while the place that I’ve arrived at in my life may not precisely be everyone’s idea of heavenly, I could swear sometimes — I hear angels sing.” – Carrie Fisher

‘The most personal is the most creative.’Martin Scorsese. As Bong Joon-ho, Oscar winning director of Parasite, quoted his film-making hero Scorsese in Bong‘s acceptance speech (~1:13).

“”This is a virus (#SARS-CoV-2 / #covid19) that once it does take off, it is going to move and increase exponentially, … your control measures have got to be exponential as well to get in front of it. So small incremental measures won’t work.”” – Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO

It is a strange thing to have to say in this world today that it takes courage to be a scientist. I used to think that it only took brains. And now you need to be brave and courageous as well to do science in the face of the anti-science movement that we see. And the ideologic politics that has come to this process.” – Dr. Mike Ryan (1965- ), WHO (video source: 2020 Nov 23, WHO Media briefing on COVID-19 (time code 39m 24s))

“Pierre Cardin, What is Modernity? [A:] It is what didn’t exist.” – Pierre Cardin (1922–2020) (interview)

“If I have to describe myself, I am a handyman. I can draw and design dresses, furniture, houses … I am very flexible and I don’t take myself too seriously.” – Pierre Cardin (interview, tweet)

“It is about putting the right people together. […] Cast your crew like you cast your actors. […] I’m talking about everyone from the studio level to the PA [Production Assistant] have to be excited about the risk you want to take. [special note re: grandmother with ring … hurricane]“ – Chloé Zhao (1982 – ) in a Conversation with actor/director Olivia Wilde

For the first time, I think I did this movie for a single audience member, which is me. I read the book 40 years ago. I deeply fall, felt in love with it. I was aware that there are millions of hardcore fan of the book out there, but I took up in my shoulder to deal with the one that I was the most afraid of, which is me. I was a teenager. That was a totalitarian dreamer. I was arrogant. I was pretentious. I had big dreams. It was kind of frightening for me. And I will say that the truth is as any movies, it’s movies are made of victories and failures. There’s some moments in Dune that I knew I was not good enough. There’s others that I feel that it was very close to the original dream. And the Gom Jabbar scene is definitely one that I knew that at 14 years old, I will have been okay with that.” – Denis Villeneuve (1967 – ) in ‘Dune’ Director Denis Villeneuve Breaks Down the Gom Jabbar Scene (Vanity Fair)

“In stage work, it’s every cell of your body, it’s a 360 feeling. On screen, it’s so often your left eyeball, your right shoulder – it fractures you as a human.”Emilia Clarke (1986- ) (interview) (Ref: 20220626 post)

Werner Herzog Question: “I would like to hear what should be on your gravestone?”

Mikhail Gorbachev (1931 – 22022) Answer: “We tried.” – Meeting Gorbachev (2019) (Trailer)

“No one is safe until we are all safe” – Science Translational Medicine (Oct 6, 2021)

“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.” –from Little Gidding by T.S. Eliot – as quoted in Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (by Jane Fonda episode April 11, 2023)

Quotes I coined:

Reason alongside Passion” – Kempton (2008/10/10)

“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)

“FOREVER is overrated, long live NOW!” – Kempton (2012/02/26) – The closing in my answer to “does friendship need to be forever?

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“)

“Museums: Inspirations from artists of the past (and present).
Inspirations from living artists’ #experiments and dialogue with the artists themselves.
Experiments by the artists in us all.”
 – Kempton (2017/11/03)

Only in a global pandemic like #Covid19 do you discover a country’s true character and if her better angels have been swimming naked.” – Kempton (20200320)

Poems I wrote:

Colourful Dresses & Colourful Flowers – A 2020 Mother’s Day Poem 彩裙 彩花 – 2020 母親節詩” by Kempton (2020/05/10)

I am the F**King Virus – a Pandemic #Covid19 Documentary Poetry short film” by Kempton (2020/04/09)

2 Responses to Quotes I Love

  1. I saw this one at the YMCA:

    “Falling down is not failure, not getting up is.”

  2. kempton says:


    Nice quote.

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