This excellent collection of quotations came from here. The organization by topic is helpful.


Inside every large program, there is a small program trying to get out.
—Tony Hoare

The job of formal methods is to elucidate the assumptions upon which formal correctness depends.
—Tony Hoare

* It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
* If you have a procedure with 10 parameters, you probably missed some.
* Every program has (at least) two purposes: the one for which it was written and another for which it wasn't.
* A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.
* There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.
* Don't have good ideas if you aren't willing to be responsible for them.

—Alan J. Perlis, Epigrams, 1970s

We don't manage our time as well as we manage our space. There's an overhead of starting and an overhead of stopping a project because you kind of lose your momentum. And you've got to bracket and put aside all the things you're already doing. So you need reasonably large blocks of uninterrupted time if you're going to be successful at doing some of these things. That's why hackers tend to stay up late.

If you stay up late and you have another hour of work to do, you can just stay up another hour later without running into a wall and having to stop. Whereas it might take three or four hours if you start over, you might finish if you just work that extra hour. If you're a morning person, the day always intrudes a fixed amount of time in the future. So it's much less efficient. Which is why I think computer people tend to be night people — because a machine doesn't get sleepy.
—Bill Joy

The standard definition of AI is that which we don't understand.
—Bill Joy

Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid: humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.
—Albert Einstein

I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.
—Bjarne Stroustrup (originator of C++ programming language)

Testing can show the presence of errors, but not their absence.
— E. Dijkstra

Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow (e.g., given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone).
—Eric Raymond

Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.
—H. Abelson and G. Sussman

There's no obfuscated Perl contest because it's pointless.
—Jeff Polk

The competent programmer is fully aware of the strictly limited size of his own skull; therefore he approaches the programming task in full humility, and among other things he avoids clever tricks like the plague.
—Edsger Dijkstra

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.
—T.S. Eliot


Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
—Aldous Huxley

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I've found it!), but "That's funny…".
—Isaac Asimov

When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
—R. Buckminster Fuller

A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
—Douglas Adams

Shall I tell you the secret of the true scholar? It is this: every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.
—G.K. Chesterton

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.
—Leonardo Da Vinci

Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. As a result, genius is often a talented person who has simply done all of his homework.
—Thomas Edison

One who makes no mistakes, never makes anything.
—English proverb

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
—Linus Pauling

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.
—Niels Bohr

A problem well stated is a problem half solved.
—Charles F. Kettering


It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
—Mark Twain

Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
—William Strunk Jr.

I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.
—Blaise Pascal

A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.
—Wilson Mizner


The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
—Chinese Proverb

It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
—Walt Disney

Doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things.
—Stephen R. Covey

At every crossroads on the path that leads to the future, tradition has placed 10,000 men to guard the past.
—Maurice Maeterlink

It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
—Grace Murray Hopper

A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.
—Fred Allen

* You can drive a car by looking in the rear view mirror as long as nothing is ahead of you. Not enough software professionals are engaged in forward thinking.
* Sometimes the easiest way to get something done is to be a little naive about it.
* Most of the bright people don't work for you — no matter who you are.

—Bill Joy

It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
—W. Somerset Maugham

Those who failed to oppose me, who readily agreed with me, accepted all my views, and yielded easily to my opinions, were those who did me the most injury, and were my worst enemies, because, by surrendering to me so easily, they encouraged me to go too far… I was then too powerful for any man, except myself, to injure me.
—Napoleon Bonaparte

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
—Yogi Berra

If you've always done it that way, it's probably wrong.
—Charles Kettering

Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.
—James Bryant Conant, Past President of Harvard University

Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, 'We've always done it this way.' I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.
—Grace Hopper

A ship in port is safe but that's not what ships are for —- sail out —> —to see and do new things.
—Grace Hopper

You can't escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
—Abraham Lincoln

Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.
—Peter Drucker

Nostalgia is a seductive liar. —Mike Schmoker

Reforms often fail because politics favors symbols over substance. —Mike Schmoker

In a healthy system, there is no blame. —Mike Schmoker

In the presence of greatness, pettiness disappears.
In the absence of a great dream, pittiness prevails. —Robert Fritz


They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
—Carl Buchner

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.

I kind of wish I had taken a broader set of courses in college. If you can get that first semester of it, then you can see other things about it and add to your knowledge, but if you don't have the basic breadth in your education, you won't improve on anything very easily. You have to make that investment to learn a little bit in each field and also to learn the great ideas, in the Mortimer Adler sense, not figure out how you're going to make the most money. I know an awful lot of unhappy people who have an obscene amount of money, and it's because they didn't get a certain balance much earlier.
—Bill Joy

The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery. —Mark Van Doren

To teach is to learn again. —Oliver Wendell Holmes

Much have I learned from my teachers,
more from my colleagues,
but most from my students. —Talmud

Practice is the best of all instructors. —Publilius Syrus

The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn. —Alvin Toffler

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. —Martin Luther King, Jr.

The best kind of education prepares students not merely for the first job they will hold, but for the last one. —Jim Appleton, President, University of Redlands

As you enter a classroom ask yourself this question: "If there were no student in the room, could I do what I am planning to do?" If your answer to the question is yes, don't do it.
Gen. Ruben Cubero, Dean of the Faculty, United States Air Force Academy

The American university is built on two false premises: that all teachers must add to the existing stock of knowledge by research, and that all self-respecting institutions fulfill this role only by employing productive scholars…Of course, the teacher must keep reading and thinking abreast of his time, but this does not mean that he must write and publish. The confusion hides a further absurd assumption, which is that when a man writes a scholarly book that reaches a dozen specialists he adds immeasurably to the world's knowledge; whereas if he imparts his thoughts and his reading to one hundred and fifty students every year, he is wasting his time and leaving the world in darkness. One is tempted to ask what blinkered pedant ever launched the notion that students in coming to college seceded from the human race and may therefore be safely left out when knowledge is being broadcast.
—J. Barzun


The secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
—Albert Einstein

It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed … The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. All history will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues.
—Abigail Adams, letter to her son John Quincy Adams

There are only two rules for success:

1. Never tell everything you know.


The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.
—G.K. Chesterton

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.
—Bill Cosby

Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.
—Booker T. Washington

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pay no attention to what the critics say; there has never been set up a statue in honor of a critic.
—Jean Sibelius

All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. —James Thurber

You don't get to choose how you're going to die, or when. You can only decide how you're going to live now. —Joan Baez

The Church is the only fellowship in the world where the one requirement for membership is the unworthiness of the candidate. —Robert B. Munger

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing. —Benjamin Franklin

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently. —Warren Buffett

Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. —David Frost

Alexander, Charlemagne and myself all tried to found an empire on force and we failed. Jesus Christ is building an empire on love, and today there are millions of people who would gladly die for His sake. —Napoleon

If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting? —Stephen Levine

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters. —Alan Simpson

I've missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot… and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. —Michael Jordan

You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event — it is a habit. —Aristotle

Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion. —Martha Graham

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed, to consider well [that] the maine end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternall life, Jn. 17:3, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. —Founding mission statement of Harvard University, 1643

I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act, even with insufficient tools. —Pope Benedict XVI

No one will pay you to solve a non-problem. —Vinod Kosla, co-founder, Sun Microsystems

Find the intersection between you interests, your skills, and the market. That's what a career is. Tina Seelig

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep. —Scott Adams

Despire our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin's womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked "No Entrance" and left through a door marked "No Exit." —Peter Larson

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. —Vincent Van Gogh

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. —Edmund Burke

The life which is unexamined is not worth living. —Socrates

It is possible to learn all about the mysteries of the Bible and never be affected by it in one's soul. Great knowledge is not enough. —John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress


If you like laws and sausage, you should never watch either being made.
—Otto von Bismarck

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
—A. A. Milne

For I am well aware that scarely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done.
—Charles Darwin, "Introduction", Origin of Species (185)

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
—A. Maslow

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
—Albert Einstein

It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper. —Rod Serling

In great affairs men show themselves as they wish to be seen; in small things they show themselves as they are. —Nicholas Chamfort

Thinking is the hardest work there is. That is why so few people engage in it. —Henry Ford

Trust your hunches. They're usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.
—Dr. Joyce Brothers

Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.
—Mark Twain

It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time in which to read them; but generally the purchase of a book is mistaken for the acquisition of its contents.
—Arthur Schopenhauer

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