Dr. Herbert Simon

Nobel Laureate

Forget about Nobel prizes; they aren't really very important.

It takes 10 years of extensive training to excel in anything.

It can take 10 years of extensive practice to excel in anything, Mozart was 4 when he started composing, but his world-class music started when he was about 17.

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

One finds limits by pushing them.

The social sciences, I thought, needed the same kind of rigor and the same mathematical underpinnings that had made the "hard" sciences so brilliantly successful.

One of the first rules of science is if somebody delivers a secret weapon to you, you better use it.


The world is vast, beautiful, and fascinating, even awe-inspiring - but impersonal. It demands nothing of me, and allows me to demand nothing of it.

Most of us really aren't horribly unique. There are 6 billion of us. Put 'em all in one room and very few would stand out as individuals. So maybe we ought to think of worth in terms of our ability to get along as a part of nature, rather than being the lords over nature.


I don't care how big and fast computers are, they're not as big and fast as the world.


Memory is like an index; experts have approximately 50,000 chunks of familiar units of information they recognize.

What chiefly characterizes creative thinking from more mundane forms are

  1. willingness to accept vaguely defined problem statements and gradually structure them,
  2. continuing preoccupation with problems over a considerable period of time, and
  3. extensive background knowledge in relevant and potentially relevant areas.

Human knowledge has been changing from the word go and people in certain respects behave more rationally than they did when they didn't have it. They spend less time doing rain dances and more time seeding clouds.

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