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Favourite Quotes #2018

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Reading is as creative a process as writing, sometimes more so. When we read of the dying rays of the setting sun or the boom and swish of the incoming tide, we should reserve as much praise for ourselves as for the author. After all, the reader is doing all the work - the writer might have died long ago.

—Jasper Fforde in First Among Sequels

#life

In an impossibly complex world, we should perhaps shun temporary stability and instead be willing to tolerate a bit of volatility in order to find a greater stability thereafter.

—Emanuel Derman in This Idea Is Brilliant edited by John Brockman

Always expect a kick in the teeth, so that when you get a slap in the chops, it seems like a triumph.

—Jasper Fforde in The Woman Who Died a Lot

If you say yes when no needs to be said, you transform yourself into someone who can only say yes, even when it is very clearly time to say no.

—Jordan Peterson in 12 Rules for Life

What’s the point of making predictions if they cannot change anything?

—Yuval Noah Harari in Homo Deus

Take a moment to imagine your best decision in the last year. Now take a moment to imagine your worst decision. I’m willing to bet that your best decision preceded a good result and the worst decision preceded a bad result.

—Annie Duke in Thinking in Bets

You should never sacrifice what you could be for what you are.

—Jordan Peterson in 12 Rules for Life

You’ve got to be bad before you can be good at anything.

—Rich Cohen in Monsters

The best way to contribute to a brand-new environment is not by trying to prove what a wonderful addition you are. It’s by trying to have a neutral impact, to observe and learn from those who are already there, and to pitch in with the grunt work wherever possible.

—Chris Hadfield in An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

“It’s one thing to see something and another thing to do something with it.”

—Jerry Seinfeld in Seinfeldia by Jennifer Armstrong

What’s our market share? Don’t know, don’t care. It’s irrelevant. Do we have enough customers paying us enough money to cover our costs and generate a profit? Yes. Is that number increasing every year? Yes. That’s good enough for us.

—Jason Fried in It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work

Always present your ideas in the context of alternatives that are clearly worse.

—Scott Adams in Win Bigly

If you actually want to make progress, you have to narrow as you go.

—Jason Fried in It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work

Maybe working on the little things as dutifully and honestly as we can is how we stay sane when the world is falling apart.

—Haruki Murakami in Men Without Women

There is not always a light at the end of the tunnel. That is why you must carry a torch.

—J. Zachary Pike in Son of a Liche

To honour every one of our emotions would be to annul any chance of leading a coherent life.

—Alain de Botton in How to Think More About Sex

Everything comes to an end. A good bottle of wine, a summer’s day, a long-running sitcom, one’s life, and eventually our species. The question for many of us is not that everything will come to an end but when. And can we do anything vaguely useful until it does?

—Jasper Fforde in The Woman Who Died a Lot

#love

And that’s when you know it’s over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it’s the end.

—Junot Diaz in This Is How You Lose Her

We can’t decide whom we are going to be turned on by any more than we can will a certain flavour of ice cream or style of painting to be our favourite.

—Alain de Botton in How to Think More About Sex

Spend a bit of time playing the field when you’re young, rejecting everyone you meet as serious life-partner material until you’ve got a feel for the marketplace. Then, once that phase has passed, pick the next person that comes along who’s better than everyone you met before.

—Hannah Fry in The Mathematics of Love

If you put yourself out there, start at the top of the list and work your way down, you’ll always end up with the best possible person who’ll have you. If you sit around and wait for people to talk to you, you’ll end up with the least bad person who approaches you.

—Hannah Fry in The Mathematics of Love

It is one of the ironies of love that it is easiest confidently to seduce those we are least attracted to.

—Alain de Botton in On Love

The most attractive are not those who allow us to kiss them at once (we soon feel ungrateful) or those who never allow us to kiss them (we soon forget them), but those who know how to carefully administer varied doses of hope and despair.

—Alain de Botton in On Love

Classically beautiful women should be left to men without imagination.

—Alain de Botton in On Love

I’ve been out with lots of woman who are much prettier than her, better built, with better taste, and more intelligent. But those comparisons are meaningless.

—Haruki Murakami in Men Without Women

My mistake was to confuse a destiny to love with a destiny to love a given person.

—Alain de Botton in On Love

Would it really be possible to trust anyone who never showed any interest at all in being unfaithful?

—Alain de Botton in How to Think More About Sex

Nothing is erotic that isn’t also, with the wrong person, revolting, which is precisely what makes erotic moments so intense: at the precise juncture where disgust could be at its height, we find only welcome and permission.

—Alain de Botton in How to Think More About Sex

There would be so much less to do without sex. No one would bother to open jewellery stores, embroider lace, serve food on silver platters or hoist hotel rooms onto pontoons over tropical lagoons.

—Alain de Botton in How to Think More About Sex

We need both art and sex to make us whole, so it is not surprising if the mechanisms of compensation should be similar in each case. The specifics of what we find ‘beautiful’ and what we find ‘sexy’ are indications of what we most deeply crave in order to rebalance ourselves.

—Alain de Botton in How to Think More About Sex

#reflection

The best way to fix the world—a handyman’s dream, if ever there was one—is to fix yourself.

—Jordan Peterson in 12 Rules for Life

Maybe it’s not the world that’s at fault. Maybe it’s you.

—Jordan Peterson in 12 Rules for Life

We’re all something we’re not. Every one of us is stuck between the person we want to be and the person we can be.

—Jasper Fforde in Early Riser

We all aspire to be ourselves, an original character in a litany of fiction so vast that we know we cannot.

—Jasper Fforde in The Well of Lost Plots

It’s good to realise that we aren’t as remarkable as we might imagine.

—Jonas Karlsson in The Room

Humans are social beings that begin to atrophy—even to physically decay—if they are denied regular contact with other humans.

—David Graeber in Bullshit Jobs

Choosing to narrow reality into a single belief system, based solely on human experience, seems insane to me.

—Jeremy Robinson in Infinite

One can talk problems into existence

—Alain de Botton in On Love

#truth

Every guy can basically be boiled down to what he wants and what he’s afraid of.

—Christopher Moore in Noir

Human life is a process by which we, as humans, create one another.

—David Graeber in Bullshit Jobs

There are times in this world when it’s not enough just not to do the wrong thing.

—Haruki Murakami in Men Without Women

How many wars might not have started if someone had first asked, “We lost. How?”

—Richard Thaler in This Idea Is Brilliant edited by John Brockman

If everyone agreed to suffer pain or death rather than be treated unjustly, greedy people could never again gain power.

—Michael Poore in Reincarnation Blues

As we accumulate more data and increase our computing power, events become wilder and more unexpected. The more we know, the less we can predict.

—Yuval Noah Harari in Homo Deus

Clarke’s Second Law of Egodynamics: For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.

—Jasper Fforde in One of Our Thursdays Is Missing

Just as a panel of hairdressers is likely to recommend that you change your hairstyle, a panel of surgeons is likely to recommend surgery.

—Chris Hadfield in An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

Supply has far outpaced demand in most industries, so now it is demand that is manufactured. My job is a combination of manufacturing demand and then exaggerating the usefulness of the products sold to fix it.

—David Graeber in Bullshit Jobs

Companies don’t exist to make happy employees.

—Patty McCord in Powerful

Before you reach an audience of many, you must first reach an audience of one.

—Jeff Goins in Real Artists Don’t Starve

I’ve always been suspicious of game changers. Sometimes the game doesn’t need changing – or no one has a clear idea of which game will be changed, and for what and how much.

—Jasper Fforde in Early Riser

Friendships nourished solely by occasional dinners will never have the depth of those forged on a trek or at a university.

—Alain de Botton in On Love

#2019

If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction-and ultimately, without a major resolution.

—Jasper Fforde in Something Rotten