It is tempting to quote authors when they express our very own thoughts but with a clarity and psychological accuracy we cannot match. They know us better than we know ourselves.

—Alain de Botton in The Consolations of Philosophy

Things I learned this past year

Writing helps me decide what I want to say.

—Ted Chiang in Exhalation

Believing it will all work out helps it all work out.

—Sheryl Sandberg in Option B

Every minute doing one thing is a minute not doing something else. Every choice is another choice not made another path grown over lost.

—Jerry Weintraub in When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead

What's really important in life is always the things that are secondary.

—Haruki Murakami in Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

As time goes on, you'll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn't, doesn't. Time solves most things. And what time can't solve, you have to solve yourself.

—Haruki Murakami in Dance Dance Dance

I remember, as a kid, when I first understood that only half of every tree is visible, that the roots in the soil are equal to the branches in the sky, that a whole other half is underground. It took me a lot longer, well into adulthood, to realize people are like that too.

—Elan Mastai in All Our Wrong Todays

Words can wound—but they’re bridges, too.

—Max Gladstone in This Is How You Lose the Time War

Hardly anyone has just one identity. Nobody is just a Muslim, or just an Italian, or just a capitalist.

—Yuval Noah Harari in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

He fell for phrenology for the reason confused people tend to fall for ideas that make too much sense. It explained everything. No more mystery or confusion. No more sin or redemption. No more free will or guilt.

—Rich Cohen in The Last Pirate of New York

We used to think that kids were safer playing with technology than playing outdoors. We were wrong.

—Roger McNamee in Zucked

Too little information and you're blind, too much and you're blinded.

—Stuart Turton in The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Sex isn’t what makes a relationship real; the willingness to expend effort maintaining it is.

—Ted Chiang in Exhalation

Potential is a foul fucking temptation.

—Matt Goldman in Gone to Dust

It is not always possible to restore one's boundaries after they have been blurred and made permeable by a relationship: try as we might, we cannot reconstitute ourselves as the autonomous beings we previously imagined ourselves to be.

—Mohsin Hamid in The Reluctant Fundamentalist

It's easier to have parents if you've got a girlfriend.

—Nick Hornby in High Fidelity

The emotionally intelligent person knows that love is a skill, not a feeling, and will require trust, vulnerability, generosity, humour, sexual understanding and selective resignation.

—The School of Life in An Emotional Education

Things to be mindful of in this present

Being properly mature involves a frank, unfrightened relationship with one’s own darkness, complexity and ambition. It involves accepting that not everything that makes us happy will please others or be honoured as especially ‘nice’, but it can be important to explore and hold on to it nevertheless.

—The School of Life in An Emotional Education

You need to come face-to-face with the past, not as some naive, easily wounded boy, but as a grown-up, independent professional. Not to see what you want to see, but what you must see. Otherwise, you’ll carry around that baggage for the rest of your life.

—Haruki Murakami in Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.

—Ted Chiang in Exhalation

It’s terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, branches into a new world.

—Blake Crouch in Dark Matter

I know everything feels hopeless to you in this moment, but this is just a moment, and moments pass.

—Blake Crouch in Recursion

To calm us down in noisy streets, we should trust that those making a noise know nothing of us.

—Alain de Botton in The Consolations of Philosophy

Your brain collects up all the information from the senses before it decides upon a story of what happens. The strange consequence of all this is that you live in the past.

—Annaka Harris in Conscious

If something exciting happens, the gut instinct of Facebook users is to pull out their smartphones, take a picture, post it online, and wait for the ‘likes’. In the process they barely notice what they themselves feel. Indeed, what they feel is increasingly determined by the online reactions.

—Yuval Noah Harari in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Ultimately, saying that you don't care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don't care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say.

—Edward Snowden in Permanent Record

Privacy is the ability to make our own choices without fear.

—Roger McNamee in Zucked

A man who works for the immediate present and its immediate rewards is nothing but a fool.

—David McCullough in The Wright Brothers

Our positive opportunities in life often matter more than the amount of cash in our bank accounts.

—Tyler Cowen in Stubborn Attachments

It is wrong to punish, demean or look down on people for characteristics over which they have no control.

—Douglas Murray in The Madness of Crowds

The key to life is to care, but not that much.

—Rich Cohen in The Last Pirate of New York

Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery.

—Aldous Huxley in Brave New World

Happiness is the joy you find on hundreds of forgettable Wednesdays.

—Sheryl Sandberg in Option B

Things to remember for the future

Life is like reading a novel or running a marathon. It’s not so much about reaching a goal but rather about the journey itself and the experiences along the way.

—Edward O. Thorp in A Man for All Markets

The future is less a noun than a verb, a thing we do.

—Douglas Rushkoff in Team Human

This is a common theme in human progress. We make things beyond what we understand, and we always have done.

—Matt Parker in Humble Pi

When you invent a new technology you also invent the accident of that technology. When you invent the car, you also invent the car accident.

—Elan Mastai in All Our Wrong Todays

We must learn that technology’s problems can’t always be solved with more technology.

—Douglas Rushkoff in Team Human

Is there a place for our past in our future?

—Christine Finn in The Last Unknowns edited by John Brockman

If you think anyone is sane you just don’t know enough about them. The key — and this is very relevant in our case — is to find someone whose insanity dovetails with your own.

—Christopher Moore in The Stupidest Angel

Two people should see a relationship as a constant opportunity to improve and be improved.

—The School of Life in An Emotional Education

Turn not thine eyes, but love the one thou’rt with.

—Ian Doescher as William Shakespeare in Get Thee Back to the Future!

Cause none of us is just the numbers on the back of our baseball cards.

—Rich Cohen in The Chicago Cubs

I've always believed that you have to train harder than you play. That's how you win—so that the match, when it comes, comes as a kind of break.

—Maria Sharapova in Unstoppable

No matter how vivid they were in life, no matter how brilliant, no matter the wonders they made, they came to dust and smoke.

—Madeline Miller in Circe

If you want power, at some point you will have to spread fictions. If you want to know the truth about the world, at some point you will have to renounce power.

—Yuval Noah Harari in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

The thing about knowledge and power is that there’s always more of both to be had and each increases the other.

—Jeffery Russell in The Dungeoneers

The entire world is built on the work of some fool too dumb to put his name on it.

—Rich Cohen in Sweet and Low

It is not clear why a generation which can’t accumulate capital should have any great love of capitalism.

—Douglas Murray in The Madness of Crowds

We might quickly find ourselves about as important to the algorithms as animals currently are to us.

—Niall Ferguson in The Square and the Tower

YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have made it explicitly clear which opinions you are allowed to have. If you don’t want to be censored, don’t say the wrong things. It really is that simple.

—Titania McGrath in Woke

For the next 52 books

He soon came to learn that books were not the solution in entirety. They were about life, but they were not life itself, and he closed them up and put them away.

—Patrick deWitt in French Exit