Quotes

“Morals are the rules by which a society exhorts (as laws are the rules by which it seeks to compel) its members and associations to behavior consistent with its order, security, and growth…

For since the natural inequality of men dooms many of us to poverty or defeat, some supernatural hope may be the sole alternative to despair. Destroy that hope, and class war is intensified. Heaven and utopia are buckets in a well: when one goes down the other goes up; when religion declines Communism grows…

Puritanism and paganism – the repression and the expression of the senses and desires – alternate in mutual reaction in history. Generally religion and puritanism prevail in periods when the laws are feeble and morals must bear the burden of maintaining social order; skepticism and paganism (other factors being equal) progress as the rising power of law and government permits the decline of the church, the family, and morality without basically endangering the stability of the state. In our time the strength of the state has… relax[ed] faith and morals, and to allow paganism to resume its natural sway.” – Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History

“History in large is the conflict of minorities; the majority applauds the victor and supplies the human material of social experiment.” – Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History

“When you dare aspire upward, you reveal the inadequacy of the present and the promise of the future.” – Jordan Peterson, 21 Rules for Life

“People create their worlds with the tools they have directly at hand. Faulty tools produce faulty results. Repeated use of the same faulty tools produces the same faulty results. It is in this manner that those who fail to learn from the past doom themselves to repeat it.” – Jordan Peterson, 21 Rules for Life

“Even the most assiduous of parents cannot fully protect their children, even if they lock them in the basement, safely away from drugs, alcohol and internet porn. In that extreme case, the too-cautious, too-caring parent merely substitutes him or herself for the other terrible problems of life. This is the great Freudian Oedipal nightmare. It is far better to render Beings in your care competent than to protect them. And even if it were possible to permanently banish everything threatening–everything dangerous (and, therefore, everything challenging and interesting), that would mean only that another danger would emerge: that of permanent human infantilism and absolute uselessness.” – Jordan Peterson, 21 Rules for Life (emphasis in the original)

“…we have become wealthy, and wealth is the prelude to art. In every country where centuries of physical effort have accumulated the means for luxury and leisure, culture has followed as naturally as vegetation grows in a rich and watered soil. To have become wealthy was the first necessity; a people too must live before it can philosophize. No doubt we have grown faster than nations usually have grown; and the disorder of our souls is due to the rapidity of our development. We are like youths disturbed and unbalanced, for a time, by the sudden growth and experiences of puberty. But soon our maturity will come; our minds will catch up with our bodies, our culture with our possessions. Perhaps there are greater souls than Shakespeare’s, and greater minds than Plato’s, waiting to be born. When we have learned to reverence liberty as well as wealth, we too shall have our Renaissance.” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“Not perfection as a final goal, but the ever-enduring process of perfecting, maturing, refining is the aim in living… The bad man is the man who, no matter how good he has been, is beginning to deteriorate, to grow less good. The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better. Such a conception makes one severe in judging himself and humane in judging others.” – John Dewey, quoted by Will Durant in The Story of Philosophy

“As experience widens and hope changes, we find more ‘truth’ in the ‘falsehoods’ we denounced, and perhaps more falsehood in our youth’s eternal truths… Philosophy is a function of age.” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“It is with instincts as with organs; they are the tools of the mind; and like all organs that are attached and permanent, they become burdens when the environment that needed them has disappeared. Instinct comes ready-made, and gives decisive–and usually successful–responses to stereotyped and ancestral situations; but it does not adapt the organism to change, it does not enable man to meet flexibly the fluid complexities of modern life. It is the vehicle of security, while intellect is the organ of an adventurous liberty. It is life taking on the blind obedience of the machine.” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“This persistently creative life, of which every individual and every species is an experiment, is what we mean by God; God and Life are one. But this God is finite, not omnipotent,–limited by matter, and overcoming its inertia painfully, step by step; and not omniscient, but groping gradually towards knowledge and consciousness… ‘God, thus defined, has nothing of the ready-made; He is unceasing life, action, freedom. Creation, so conceived, is not a mystery; we experience it in ourselves when we act freely,’ [Bergson] when we consciously choose our actions and plot our lives. Our struggles and our sufferings, our ambitions and our defeats, our yearnings to be better and stronger than we are, are the voice and current of the Elan Vital in us, that vital urge which makes us grow, and transforms this wandering planet into a theatre of unending creation.” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“…at every stage life has had to fight with the inertia of its vehicle, and if it conquers death through reproduction, it does so by yielding every citadel in turn…” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“The mature man accepts the natural limitations of life; he does not expect Providence to be prejudiced in his favor; he does not ask for loaded dice with which to play the game of life. He knows… that there is no sense in vilifying the sun because it will not light our cigars. And perhaps, if we are clever enough to help it, the sun will do even that; and this vast neutral cosmos may turn out to be a pleasant place enough if we bring a little sunshine of our own to help it out. In truth the world is neither with us nor against us; it is but raw material in our hands, and can be heaven or hell according to what we are.” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“And what if desire, fulfilled, leads only to another desire? Perhaps it is better that we should never be content. Happiness, says an old lesson, lies rather in achievement than in possession or satiation. The healthy man asks not so much for happiness as for an opportunity to exercise his capacities; and if he must pay the penalty of pain for this freedom and this power he makes the forfeit cheerfully; it is not too great a price. We need resistance to raise us, as it raises the airplane or the bird; we need obstacles against which to sharpen our strength and stimulate our growth. Life without tragedy would be unworthy of a man.” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“…other people’s heads are a wretched place to be the home of a man’s true happiness.” – Arthur Schopenhaur, quoted by Will Durant in The Story of Philosophy

“When men abandon reason, physical force becomes their only means of dealing with one another and of settling disagreements.” – Ayn Rand, Return of the Primitive

“Minds are conquered not by arms but by greatness of soul.” – Baruch Spinoza, quoted by Will Durant in The Story of Philosophy

“Those who wish to seek out the causes of miracles, and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adore as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that once ignorance is put aside, that wonderment would be taken away which is the only means by which their authority is preserved.” – Baruch Spinoza, quoted by Will Durant in The Story of Philosophy

“Intellectual pride is not—as the mystics imply it to be—a pretense at omniscience or infallibility. On the contrary, precisely because man must struggle for knowledge, precisely because the pursuit of knowledge requires an effort, the men who assume this responsibility properly feel pride. Sometimes, colloquially, pride is taken to mean a pretense at accomplishments one has not in fact achieved. But the braggart, the boaster, the man who affects virtues he does not possess, is not proud; he has merely chosen the most humiliating way to reveal his humility.” – Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem

“A psychologically healthy man does not depend on others for his self-esteem; he expects others to perceive his value, not to create it.” – Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem

“…passions are not of themselves vices, but the raw material of both vice and virtue, according as they function in excess and disproportion, or in measure and harmony.” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly… we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit…” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“How many a debate would have been deflated into a paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms! This is the alpha and omega of logic, the heart and soul of it, that every important term in serious discourse shall be subjected to strictest scrutiny and definition. It is difficult, and ruthlessly tests the mind; but once done it is half of any task.” – Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

“Man’s greatest fear is not of dying, but of feeling unfit to live.” – Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem

“…the things which a man seeks for pleasure or enjoyment are profoundly revealing psychologically: they are the index of his character and soul.” – Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem

“The policy a man adopts in dealing with fear depends on whether he preserves the will to efficacy; it depends on whether he preserves the value of self-confidence as a goal not to be relinquished, and, consequently, regards a state of fear as the temporary and abnormal, as that which he must overcome—or whether he gives up the expectation of achieving efficacy, resigns himself to a sense of impotence, and accepts fear as a basic, unalterable “given” of his existence, to be endured, not to be defeated.” – Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem

“[Man] is the only living species who must make himself competent to live…” – Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem

“Many people believe that the fact of experiencing certain emotions is a moral reflection on them. But a man’s moral worth is not to be judged by the content of his emotions; it is to be judged by the degree of his rationality: only the latter is directly in his volitional control…” – Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem

“A man’s values are the product of the thinking he has done or has failed to do… If he defaults on the responsibility of reason, if he rebels against the necessity of thought—the distortions, the perversions, the corruption that become his values are still a twisted expression of the fact that his is a conceptual form of consciousness. His values are still the product of his mind, but of a mind set in reverse, set against its own proper function, intent on self-destruction. Like rationality, irrationality is a concept that is not applicable to animals; it is applicable only to man.” - Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem

“…accept the fact that there will be people who will surpass you in some way, and also the fact that you may envy them. But make that feeling a way of pushing yourself to equal or surpass them someday. Let envy turn inward and it poisons the soul; expel it outward and it can move you to greater heights.” – Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

“For mankind censure injustice, fearing that they may be the victims of it and not because they shrink from committing it.” – Thrasymachus, quoted in The Republic by Plato

“…you should not only ask but answer, and you should not seek honour to yourself from the refutation of an opponent, but have your own answer; for there is many a one who can ask and cannot answer.” – Thrasymachus, quoted in The Republic by Plato

“Timid souls often yearn to be their opposite—to be Napoleons.” – Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

“There is nothing which for my part I like better… than conversing with aged men; for I regard them as travelers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom I ought to enquire, whether the way is smooth and easy, or rugged and difficult.” – Plato (quoting Socrates), The Republic

“What can it profit a man to be able to think, if he does not dare to? One must have the courage to go where the mind leads, no matter how startling the conclusion, how shattering, how much it may hurt oneself or a particular class, no matter how unfashionable or how obnoxious it may at first seem. This may require the courage to stand against the whole world.” – Henry Hazlitt, The Way to Will Power

“Lose this day loitering - ‘twill be the same story

To-morrow - and the next more dilatory;

Each indecision brings its own delays,

And days are lost lamenting o’er lost days,

Are you in earnest? seize this very minute -

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Only engage, and then the mind grows heated -

Begin it, and then the work will be completed.”

– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Faust (quoted in The Way to Will Power by Henry Hazlitt)

“You will know that thoughts determine action, and to control your actions you will begin by controlling your thought. You will vivify all the advantages that will come from carrying out your resolution. You will paint them in glowing colors. You will dwell on them constantly. The disadvantages you will ignore. They are disadvantages only to fools; a wise man does not think them so.” – Henry Hazlitt, The Way to Will Power

“…cultivate most your desires for the activities which will best forward your final purposes — those purposes which you have calmly, deliberately and fully reasoned out.” – Henry Hazlitt, The Way to Will Power

“A man ought to make two demands of his ideals; first that they be high enough, and second that they be his own.” – Henry Hazlitt, The Way to Will Power

“…the only way an idea’s strengths and merit can be proven is in the crucible of an open discourse.” – Rollo Tomassi, The Rational Male: Preventative Medicine

“The truth will set you free, but it doesn’t make truth hurt any less, nor does it make truth any prettier, and it certainly doesn’t absolve you of the responsibilities that truth requires.” – Rollo Tomassi, The Rational Male: Preventative Medicine

“Most managers give themselves excellent grades on knowing when to trust their people and when not to. But in our experience, too many managers err on the side of mistrust. They follow the basic premise that their people may operate completely autonomously, as long as they operate correctly. This amounts to no autonomy at all. The only freedom that has any meaning is the freedom to proceed differently from the way your manager would have proceeded. This is true in a broader sense, too: The right to be right (in your manager’s eyes or in your government’s eyes) is irrelevant; it’s only the right to be wrong that makes you free.” – DeMarco and Lister, Peopleware

“Great books are great teachers; they are showing us every day what ordinary people are capable of. These books came out of ignorant, inquiring humanity. They are usually the first announcements of success in learning. Most of them were written for, and addressed to, ordinary people.” – Robert M. Hutchins, The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education

“When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them; and I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything, more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing–then reprove them, as I have reproved you, for not caring about that for which they ought to care, and thinking that they are something when they are really nothing. And if you do this, both I and my sons will have received justice at your hands. The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways–I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.” – Plato, quoting Socrates, Apology

“The reiteration of slogans, the distortion of the news, the great storm of propaganda that beats upon the citizen twenty-four hours a day all his life long mean either that democracy must fall a prey to the loudest and most persistent of propagandists or that the people must save themselves by strengthening their minds so that they can appraise the issues for themselves.” – Robert M. Hutchins, The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education

“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.” – Rollo Tomassi, The Rational Male

“It’s far easier to believe that the world should change for you than to accept the truth that you need to improve yourself to get the things you want. It’s the lazy man’s path to disqualify or cheapen things that he desperately wants, but lacks the motivation to change himself to get.” – Rollo Tomassi, The Rational Male

“We who toil for other people have all in some way been captured by pirates and sold into slavery.” – Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

“Cultivate a habit of impatience about the things you most want to do.” – Paul Graham, Life is Short

“The power of demonstrating your idea is that your opponents do not get defensive, and are therefore more open to persuasion. Making them literally and physically feel your meaning is infinitely more powerful than argument.” – Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

“…to the extent that you are engaged in voluntary interactions with people who correctly perceive what you will or will not do, it is in your self-interest to be committed to act in ways that maximize the summed benefit to the group of people with whom you are interacting. The value to the other people of dealing with someone so committed, which should show up in the terms they are willing to offer you, is greater than the cost to you. Virtue pays.” – David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom

“…people are good at finding exceptions in their own favor to the moral rules they otherwise agree with.” – David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom

“‘But your way isn’t just that set of rules,’ Cord said. ‘It’s who you are—you follow that way for bigger reasons. And as long as you stay true to that, the confusion you’re talking about will sort itself out eventually.’” – Neal Stephenson, Anathem

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark. In the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all, do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

“To understand what either a government or a political party will do we ought to start by assuming that the individuals within the organization rationally pursue their own ends, selfish or otherwise, and then try to predict from that assumption how the organization will act.” – David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom

“…true security comes from self-reliance, from the strength of my skills, from my health, from self-control and self-mastery, from limiting my needs and desires to what is natural and becoming of a liberated individual, from a sense of fellowship with chosen friends who honor the same values I do.” – Peter Saint-Andre, The Tao of Roark

“…most political disagreement is rooted in questions of what is, not what should be. I have never met a [person with opposing ideas] who wanted the kind of society that I think [his ideas] would produce.” – David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom [I have taken the liberty of generalizing this quote. The original refers specifically to Socialism as an idea with which Dr. Friedman disagrees, but I think the intent of the quote is preserved when expanding it to all ideas as well.]

“It is honorable for a man to admit his fears, resistance, and edge of practice. It is simply true that each man has his limit, his capacity for growth, and his destiny. But it is dishonorable for him to lie to himself or others about his real place. He shouldn’t pretend he is more enlightened than he is—nor should he stop short of his actual edge. The more a man is playing his real edge, the more valuable he is as good company for other men, the more he can be trusted to be authentic and fully present. Where a man’s edge is located is less important than whether he is actually living his edge in truth, rather than being lazy or deluded.” – David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man

“It’s never going to be over, so stop waiting for the good stuff. As of now, spend a minimum of one hour a day doing whatever you are waiting to do until your finances are more secure, or until the children have grown and left home, or until you have finished your obligations and you feel free to do what you really want to do.” – David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man

“Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.” – Neal Stephenson, Anathem

“They knew many things but had no idea why. And strangely this made them more, rather than less, certain that they were right.” – Neal Stephenson, Anathem

“…boredom is a mask that frustration wears.” – Neal Stephenson, Anathem

“To vote is to wield authority; it is the supreme authority from which all other authority derives—such as mine to make your lives miserable once a day. Force, if you will!—the franchise is force, naked and raw, the Power of the Rods and the Ax. Whether it is exerted by ten men or by ten billion, political authority is force.” f

“Value has no meaning other than in relation to living beings. The value of a thing is always relative to a particular person, is completely personal and different in quantity for each living human—‘market value’ is a fiction, merely a rough guess at the average of personal values, all of which must be quantitatively different or trade would be impossible… This very personal relationship, ‘value,’ has two factors for a human being: first, what he can do with a thing, its use to him… and second, what he must do to get it, its cost to him…

This was the tragic fallacy which brought on the decadence and collapse of the democracies of the twentieth century; those noble experiments failed because the people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted… and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears. ‘Nothing of value is free. Even the breath of life is purchased at birth only through gasping effort and pain.’

The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion… and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself—ultimate cost for perfect value.” – Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

“Always something new, always something I didn’t expect, and sometimes it isn’t horrible.” – Robert Jordan, The Great Hunt

“Part of freedom is the right of each of us to go to hell in his own fashion.” – David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom

“Doing better next time. That’s what life is.” – Joe Abercrombie, Before They Are Hanged

“So much of what happens emotionally between men isn’t spoken aloud, and so the outsider, especially the female outsider who is used to emotional life being overt and spoken (often over-spoken), tends to assume that what isn’t said isn’t there. But it is there, and when you’re inside it, it’s as if you’re suddenly hearing sounds that only dogs can hear.” – Norah Vincent, Self Made Man

“…they seemed to have a competitive stake in my doing well and in helping me to do well, as if beating a man who wasn’t at his best wasn’t satisfying. They wanted you to be good and then they wanted to beat you on their own merits. They didn’t want to win against a plodder or lose to him on a handicap.” – Norah Vincent, Self Made Man

“Politics does not run on altruism or pious intentions. Politics runs on power… A politician who can regulate an industry gets much more by helping the industry, whose members know and care about the effects of the regulation, than by helping the mass of consumers, who do not know they are being hurt and who would not know if they were being protected. An astute politician can—as many have—both help the industry and get credit for protecting the consumers. The consumers, whose relationship to the industry is a very small part of their lives, will never know what prices they would have been paying if there were no regulation.

The same principles apply to licensing. Once it exists, it must almost inevitably be taken over by the profession. Who else has either the concentrated interest in how it is done or the special knowledge required to do it? And the interest of the profession is directly contrary to the interest of the rest of us—in favor of keeping down its numbers instead of expanding them.” – David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom

“…since law cannot operate without the sanction and support of a dominating force, this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws. This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law. Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice. It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.” – Frederic Bastiat, The Law

“There’s no surer way to destroy a man than to force him into a spot where he has to aim at not doing his best.” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

“The patterns that crop up again and again in successful [work] space[s] are there because they are in fundamental accord with characteristics of the human creature. They allow him to function as a human. They emphasize his essence—he is at once an individual and a member of a group. They deny neither his individuality nor his inclination to bond into teams. They let him be what he is.” – DeMarco and Lister, Peopleware

“All I know is that I think, and therefore I’m exceedingly angry.” – Alastair Reynolds, Revelation Space

“This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” – George Bernard Shaw

“The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.” – Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power

“Beyond improvement in the material life of man and beyond satisfaction of intellectual curiosity, the study of nature offers intangible values of another sort, especially the abolition of fear and terror and their replacement by a deep, quiet satisfaction in the ways of nature.” – Morris Kline, Mathematics for the Nonmathematician

“The human mind gets used to strangeness very quickly if [strangeness] does not exhibit interesting behavior.” – Dan Simmons, Hyperion

“Here is the essence of mankind’s creative genius: not the edifices of civilization nor the bang-flash weapons which can end it, but the words which fertilize new concepts like spermatazoa attacking an ovum.” – Dan Simmons, Hyperion

“…history viewed from the inside is always a dark, digestive mess, far different from the easily recognizable cow viewed from afar by historians.” – Dan Simmons, Hyperion

“Meaning emerges through an interaction between my choices and my actions, in the self-directed achievement of what I have chosen as good or important.” - Peter Saint-Andre, The Tao of Roark

“Productivity is not a duty, but a desire for something higher and greater in my life: a matter of aspiration, constructive passion, and positive energy applied to the great task of making my values real on this earth. At root, productivity is an expression of love, for to be a person who gets things done I must above all love the doing.” – Peter Saint-Andre, The Tao of Roark

“Respect is my recognition that you too are a choosing being, that you too must make your own decisions and select your own values and achieve your own happiness, that you too have the same desire that I do to succeed in living a fully human life.” – Peter Saint-Andre, The Tao of Roark

“To know myself means to know my measure, my limits, my powers, my abilities, my special talents; to know my strengths and weaknesses; to know my place, my role, my context, my calling; to know what I can and cannot do; to know what I can and cannot be; to know the limits of my knowledge and wisdom, what I know and do not know; to know what I truly want in life; to know the name of my soul, my real identity, my true self; to know how easy it is to sell my soul and how hard it is to keep it; to know human nature; to know divinity.” – Peter Saint-Andre, The Tao of Roark

“There is a physical and mental and spiritual enjoyment that comes from a consciousness of being the absolute master of one’s work, in all its details, that is very satisfactory and inspiring.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

“…the thing to do, when one feels sure that he has said or done the right thing, and is condemned, is to stand still and keep quiet. If he is right, time will show it.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

“…joy is not a mere surface phenomenon, but something deep and serious: it is the benefit that all my efforts go to pay for, the cash value of honoring my true interests in thought and choice and action.” – Peter Saint-Andre, The Tao of Roark

“Choice implies self-respect in the deepest sense: honoring what I hold to be important, having strength of will and the courage of my convictions, giving my attention to what interests me, devoting my life energy to that which matters most, trusting in my evaluations, spending my precious time on tasks that are consistent with my values, doing what brings me happiness, concentrating on ways to create significant value in the world, focusing on what is under my control and ignoring what is not under my control, seeking to master myself but not anyone else, and never letting go of my vision of what is possible to me.” – Peter Saint-Andre, The Tao of Roark

“…it is a hard matter to convert an individual by abusing him… this is more often accomplished by giving credit for all the praiseworthy actions performed than by calling attention alone to all the evil done.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

“Nothing ever comes to me, that is worth having, except as the result of hard work.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

“…all worry simply consumes, and to no purpose, just so much physical and mental strength that might otherwise be given to effective work” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

“Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

“It means a great deal, I think, to start off on a foundation which one has made for one’s self.” – Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery

“…only because men are in fact unequal can we treat them equally. If all men were completely equal in their gifts and inclinations, we should have to treat them differently in order to achieve any sort of social organization.” – Friedrich Hayek

“There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal.” – Friedrich Hayek

“If you make a fool of yourself, the world will move on. And so will you. But if you succeed… well, the world will stop for a moment and take notice. And neither you nor them will ever forget that.” – Hugh Howey, Do you not believe in yourself?

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

“Lift up your eyes discouraged one. When you feel like giving up, when they say it can’t be done it’s up to you to show them why they’re wrong.” – Memphis May Fire, Challenger

“He who accepts life for what it is and never allows himself to be overwhelmed by it does not need to seek refuge for his crushed self-confidence in the solace of a ‘saving lie’. If the longed-for success is not forthcoming, if the vicissitudes of fate destroy in the twinkling of an eye what had to be painstakingly built up by years of hard work, then he simply multiplies his exertions. He can look disaster in the eye without despairing.” – Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism

“The reaper does not give notice, nor does it discriminate. All you can do is give it a story worthy of life well lived.” – StuHardy

“We are defined by what we make time to do, not by what we do when we have time.” – Kate Matsudaira, Who Doesn’t Want to Believe in Magic?

“Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.” – Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

“Let those who attempt to invalidate concepts by declaring that they cannot find ‘manness’ in men… invalidate algebra by declaring they cannot find ‘a-ness’ in 5 or 5,000,000.” – Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology

“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” – Douglas Adams

“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.” – Douglas Adams

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” – Douglas Adams

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” – Douglas Adams

“He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.” – Douglas Adams

“Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” – Douglas Adams

“You live and learn. At any rate, you live.” – Douglas Adams

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” – Douglas Adams

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” – Isaac Asimov

“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” – Isaac Asimov

“Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.” – Isaac Asimov

“‘It’s better to be safe than sorry’ is such crap. You know what’s better than being safe? Being AWESOME.” – Jeff Atwood

“Life, faculties, production–in other words, individuality, liberty, property–this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation and are superior to it.” – Frederic Bastiat

“If you wish to prosper, let your customer prosper. When people have learned this lesson, everyone will seek his individual welfare in the general welfare. Then jealousies between man and man, city and city, province and province, nation and nation, will no longer trouble the world.” – Frederic Bastiat

“There is not a tool, an implement, or a machine that has not resulted in a decrease in the contribution of human labor. Labor is not made permanently idle [though]; when replaced in one special category… it turns its attack against other obstacles on the main road to progress.” – Frederic Bastiat

“[To learn] is to harness Nature; to spare man all that is most physical, backbreaking, and brutish in the work of production; to make mind master over matter.” – Frederic Bastiat

“Man acquires wealth in proportion as he puts his labor to better account.” – Frederic Bastiat

“The creation of new capital always… releases… labor. Its actual effect [though] is not to make jobs scarce, but to free men’s labor for other jobs.” – Frederic Bastiat

“Live as brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blows with brave hearts.” – Cicero

“Everyone has the obligation to ponder well his own specific traits of character. He must also regulate them adequately and not wonder whether someone else’s traits might suit him better. The more definitely his own a man’s character is, the better it fits him.” – Cicero

“It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.” – Joseph Conrad

“My theory of self-made men is, then, simply this; that they are men of work. Whether or not such men have acquired material, moral or intellectual excellence, honest labor faithfully, steadily and persistently pursued, is the best, if not the only, explanation of their success… All human experience proves over and over again, that any success which comes through meanness, trickery, fraud and dishonour, is but emptiness and will only be a torment to its possessor.” – Frederick Douglas

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” – Amelia Earhart

“I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose which is the way it really is… It doesn’t frighten me.” – Richard Feynman

“One who fears the future, who fears failure, limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again. There is no disgrace in honest failure; there is disgrace in fearing to fail.” – Henry Ford

“Someone who’s scrappy manages to be both threatening and undignified at the same time. Which seems to me exactly what one would want to be, in any kind of work. If you’re not threatening, you’re probably not doing anything new, and dignity is merely a sort of plaque.” – Paul Graham

“An organization that wins by exercising power starts to lose the ability to win by doing better work. And it’s not fun for a smart person to work in a place where the best ideas aren’t the ones that win.” – Paul Graham

“A man is a fool not to put everything he has, at any given moment, into what he is creating.” – Frank Herbert

“…the pattern and original of all dictatorship is the surrender of reason to absolutism and the abandonment of critical, objective inquiry.” – Christopher Hitchens

“Perhaps above all, we affirm life over the cults of death and human sacrifice and are afraid, not of inevitable death, but rather of a human life that is cramped and distorted by the pathetic need to offer mindless adulation, or the dismal belief that the laws of nature respond to wailings and incantations.” – Christopher Hitchens

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs

“Never ask someone to give up on their dreams just so you can feel more stable. It’s his choice and his choice alone, no matter how ridiculous his dream may seem to you, or to society, or even to himself. Dreams make humans into self-realized individuals. Your only responsibility is to love everything about him, including his dreams. The idea of ‘making this work’ sounds more like a way to make his life more boring and predictable. At worst, it’s a genuine sadistic desire to control someone else because your own life feels out of control – or a cruel need to dominate and break someone’s spirit for the sake of your own peace of mind. Look for stability and peace of mind inside yourself, and not in your relationships or dreams of others.” – Andrew W. K.

“Take bacon for example - bacon is the most wonderful food in all of human history and probably will never be displaced from that status. Bacon is crunchy and tasty and fatty and delicious. A salad with bacon is just a game of hide-and-seek the bacon.” – Athol Kay

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C. S. Lewis

“‘Mediocrity’ does not mean an average intelligence; it means an average intelligence that resents and envies its betters.” – Ayn Rand

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.” – Ayn Rand

“Competition is a by-product of productive work, *not* its goal. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, *not* by the desire to beat others.” – Ayn Rand

“Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of man’s values, it has to be earned.” – Ayn Rand

“You must be the kind of [person] who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences.” – Ayn Rand

“The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man’s power to conceive–a definition that invalidates man’s consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence. Man’s mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God. Man’s standard of value, say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure of God, whose standards are beyond man’s power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith. The purpose of man’s life is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question.” – Ayn Rand

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.” – Ayn Rand

“Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.” – Ayn Rand

“Honor is self-esteem made visible in action.” – Ayn Rand

“Progress cannot be achieved by forced privations, by squeezing a ‘social surplus’ out of starving victims. Progress can come only out of individual surplus, i.e., from the work, the energy, the creative over-abundance of those men whose ability produces more than their personal consumption requires, those who are intellectually and financially able to seek the new, to improve on the known, to move forward. In a capitalist society, where such men are free to function and to take their own risks, progress is not a matter of sacrificing to some distant future, it is part of the living present, it is the normal and natural, it is achieved as and while men live–and enjoy–their lives.” – Ayn Rand

“I am profoundly opposed to the philosophy of hedonism. Hedonism is the doctrine which holds that the good is whatever gives you pleasure and, therefore, pleasure is the standard of morality. Objectivism holds that the good must be defined by a rational standard of value, that pleasure is not a first cause, but only a consequence, that only the pleasure which proceeds from a rational value judgment can be regarded as moral, that pleasure, as such, is not a guide to action nor a standard of morality. To say that pleasure should be the standard of morality simply means that whichever values you happen to have chosen, consciously or subconsciously, rationally or irrationally, are right and moral. This means that you are to be guided by chance feelings, emotions and whims, not by your mind. My philosophy is the opposite of hedonism.” – Ayn Rand

“Man has a single basic choice: to think or not, and that is the gauge of his virtue. Moral perfection is an unbreached rationality—not the degree of your intelligence, but the full and relentless use of your mind, not the extent of your knowledge, but the acceptance of reason as an absolute.” – Ayn Rand

“You love people, not for what you do for them or what they do for you. You love them for their values; their virtues.” – Ayn Rand

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark. In the hopeless swamps of the not quite, the not yet, and the not at all, do not let the hero in your soul perish and leave only frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” – Ayn Rand

“I want to see, real, living, and in the hours of my own days, that glory I create as an illusion. I want it real. I want to know that there is someone, somewhere, who wants it, too. Or else what is the use of seeing it, and working, and burning oneself for an impossible vision? A spirit, too, needs fuel. It can run dry.” – Ayn Rand

“If a man wants love he should correct his weaknesses, or his flaws, and he may deserve it. But he cannot expect the unearned, either in love or in money; either in matter or in spirit.” – Ayn Rand

“The future belongs to those who show up to build it. Shut up and show us the code.” – Eric Raymond

“You will know me for the things that I make, not the things that I say.” – John Sheehan

“I’m always right. This time I’m just even more right than usual.” – Linus Torvalds

“Some people have told me they don’t think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They’d be a lot more careful about what they say if they had.” – Linus Torvalds

“The first thing [people get wrong about open source projects] is thinking that you can throw things out there and ask people to help… That’s not how it works. You make it public, and then you assume that you’ll have to do all the work, and ask people to come up with suggestions of what you should do, not what they should do. Maybe they’ll start helping eventually, but you should start off with the assumption that you’re going to be the one maintaining it and ready to do all the work… If you start off with some ‘kumba-ya feeling’ where you think people from all the world are going to come together to make a better world by working together on your project, you probably won’t be going very far.” – Linus Torvalds

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

“The first thing a genius needs is to breath free air.” – Ludwig von Mises

“…the only means to well-being is to increase the quantity of products. This is what business aims at.” – Ludwig von Mises

“He who accepts life for what it is and never allows himself to be overwhelmed by it does not need to seek refuge for his crushed self-confidence in the solace of a ‘saving lie’. If the longed-for success is not forthcoming, if the vicissitudes of fate destroy in the twinkling of an eye what had to be painstakingly built up by years of hard work, then he simply multiplies his exertions. He can look disaster in the eye without despairing.” – Ludwig von Mises

“Even if you aren’t in doubt, consider the mental welfare of the person who has to maintain the code after you, and who will probably put parens in the wrong place.” – Larry Wall

“I find this a nice feature but it is not according to the documentation. Or is it a BUG? Let’s call it an accidental feature.” – Larry Wall

“That which hits the fan tends to get flung in all directions.” – Larry Wall

“There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” – Daniel Webster