Quotes and Passages

There was a time in my life where I didn’t read much, and now I look back on it as the most superficial and bleak point of my existence. Ever since I allowed myself to be pulled down the rabbit hole of books–the endless chain of citation, influence and recommendation–my life has improved exponentially. I read each book with a pen and highlighter, folding the pages I like, and filling the margins with notes. You could say I stopped reading books and started devouring them. So here is the transcribed passages of the books that have been most influential to me, without them I am nothing–and each was read and selected directly by me. I hope you enjoy them.

Note: The list has grown larger than I ever could have imagined–almost 12,000 words–so I had to split it up on two pages. You can view the second half, R-Z, here.

P.S. You can also read an index of my favorite quotes on Quote Catalog as well.

A

“I do not wish to appear to speak favorably of journalism. I have never yet seen a piece of journalism which conveyed more than the slightest fraction of what any even moderately reflective and sensitive person would mean and intend by those inachievable words, and that fraction itself I have never seen clean of one or another degree of patent, to say nothing of essential, falsehood.
Agee, James
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Journalism is true in the sense that everything is true to the state of being and to what conditioned and produced it: but that is about as far as its value goes. This is not to accuse or despise journalism for anything beyond its own complacent delusion, and its enormous power to poison the public with the same delusion, that it is telling the truth even of what it tells of.
Agee, James
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Journalism can within its own limits be ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ ‘true’ or ‘false,’ but it is not then nature of journalism even to approach any less relative degree of truth. Again, journalism is not to be blamed for this; no more than a cow is to be blamed for being a horse. The difference is, and the reason one can respect or anyhow approve of the cow, that few cows can have the delusion or even the desire to be horses… The very blood and semen of journalism, on the contrary, is a broad and successful form of lying. Remove that form of lying and you no longer have journalism.
Agee, James
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

“Most young writers and artists roll around in description like honeymooners on a bed. It comes easier to them than anything else. In the course of years they grow or discipline themselves out of it. But again I suspect that the lust for describing, and that lust in action is not necessarily a vice. Since when has a landscape painter apologized for painting landscapes…?
Agee, James
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology and history, the very first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom. Lucifer.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

These are the days when man has his hands on the sublime while he is up to his hips in the muck of madness.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it as, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be–it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be. That means working in the system.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

History is a relay of revolutions; the torch of idealism is carried by the revolutionary group until this group becomes an establishment, and then quietly the torch is put down to wait until a new revolutionary group picks it up for the next leg of the run. Thus the revolutionary cycle goes on.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

To the questioner nothing is sacred. He detest dogma, defies any finite definition of morality, revels against any repression of a free, open search for ideas no matter where they may lead. He is challenging, insulting, agitating, discrediting. As with all life, this is a paradox for his irreverence is rooted in a deep reverence for the enigma of life, and an incessant search for its meaning.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

Let us look at what is called process. Process tells us how. Purpose tells us why. But in reality, it is academic to draw a line between them, they are part of a continuum. Process and purpose are so welded to each other that it is impossible to mark where one leaves off and the other begins, or which is which. The very process of democratic participation is for the purpose of organization rather than to rid the alleys of dirt. Process is really purpose.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

The rest of the middle class, with few exceptions, reside in suburbia, living in illusions of partial escape. Being more literate, they are even more lost. Nothing seems to make sense. They thought that a split-level house in the suburbs, two cars, two color TVs, country club membership, a bank account children in good prep schools and then in college, and they had it made. They got it–only to discover they didn’t have it. Many have lost their children–they dropped out of sight into something called the generation gap. They have seen values they held sacred sneered at and found themselves ridiculed as squares or relics of a dead world. If one wants to act, the dilemma is how and where; there is no ‘when?’ with time running out, the time is obviously now.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

We should never forget that just as it would be almost impossible to find any man a full and perfect Christian or Jew, so it is impossible to find a radical whose life and character fully measure to these characteristics. People are not all good or all bad, neither angels nor devils. In the actual history of mankind we find few whose thoughts and actions place them even to a microscopic degree beyond the midpoint of the spectrum. There are those who have lived nearly all of their mortal lives at the lower end, but for a fleeting moment, for a month, or for some years, have seen the blinding vision at the other end of the spectrum and risked all in an action or a deed that was unmistakably radical. These men and women are for our purposes radicals.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Reveille for Radicals

To pursue the past is to seek a mirage. The past is dead and men cannot continue to live as ghosts. It is only in the future that we can live. But we cannot see the light of the future if we deliberately close our eyes and turn our heads.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Reveille for Radicals

A routine in which he rots. The dreariest, drabbest, grayest outlook that one can have. Nothing dramatic, nothing exciting, nothing to hope for, no satisfaction of any desire except in one’s own daydreams. Simply a future of utter despair.
And to a large extent–why such a future? Why must life be so drab and dull to the end that it ceases being life and becomes mere physical existence?
Alinsky, Saul D.
Reveille for Radicals

But someone may raise a problem about how we can say that, to become just, people need to do what is just, and to do what is moderate in order to become moderate; for if they are doing what is just and moderate they are already just and moderate, in the same way in which, if people are behaving literately and musically, they are already expert at reading and writing and in music.
Aristotle
Nicomanchean Ethics

This is how intellectual accomplishment ‘produces’ happiness; for since it is part of excellence as a whole, it is the possession of it, and its exercise, that make a person happy. Again, the ‘product’ is brought to completion by virtue of a person having wisdom and excellence of character; for excellence makes the goal correct while wisdom makes what leads to it correct.
Aristotle
Nicomanchean Ethics

“What we said, then, was that happiness is not a disposition; for if it were, even a person asleep his whole life might have it, living a plant’s life or someone who was suffering the greatest misfortunes.”
Aristotle
Nicomanchean Ethics

When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surely. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own–not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me.
Aurelius, Marcus
Meditations

 

B
“Few care now about the marches and countermarches of the Roman commanders. What the centuries have clung to is a notebook of thoughts by a man whose real life was largely unknown to his contemporaries, a man who put down in the midnight dimness of not the events of the day or the plans of the morrow, but something of far more permanent interest, the ideals and aspirations that a rare spirit lived by. ”
Brand Blandshard
Four Reasonable Men

“Unique in his inwardness, in the rigor of his self-scrutiny and of his standards, in his humility, in what Christians would call “the hunger and thirst after righteousness.””
Brand Blandshard
Four Reasonable Men

“The temperance of [a] response to raking criticism, the readiness to seize what was just in it and to throw the husks away without undue friction or resentment or los of friendship–these show a kind of character which if it became general could change the course of human affairs.”
Brand Blandshard
Four Reasonable Men

“”History is impossible unless one admits frankly that sincerity must be estimated in different ways. Everything great is the achievement of the people, but one cannot lead the people without lending oneself to
their ideas. The philosopher who, knowing this, isolates himself and entrenches himself in his nobility is genuinely praiseworthy. But he who takes humanity along with its illusions and tries to work upon it and with it is not to be condemned. It is easy for us, feeble as we are, to call this deception, and, proud in our timid honor, to treat with disdain the heroes of who have fought the battle of life under other conditions. When we shall have done with our scruples about what they did with their deceits, we shall have the right to take a high line with them. “ quoting Ernest Renan
Brand Blandshard
Four Reasonable Men

“Unique in his inwardness, in the rigor of his self-scrutiny and of his standards, in his humility, in what Christians would call “the hunger and thirst after righteousness.””
Brand Blandshard
Four Reasonable Men

“No matter what one is seeking in life, it seems there’s always someone, somewhere who makes it his business to be knowledgeable about it.”
Bugliosi, Vincent
And the Sea Will Tell

“I try the case against myself. Reducing what’s in one’s mind to writing is very tedious and time-consuming, of course. In fact, working on my yellow pad is the hardest part of trying a case for me. But in my opinion, it is the only way to try a complex lawsuit, and the only way to make a superior presentation of my case, as opposed to a good or merely adequate one.”
Bugliosi, Vincent
And the Sea Will Tell

“Usually, the very first thing I think about when I get on a case and begin to learn the facts is: what am I going argue and how can I best make the argument to obtain a favorable verdict. In other words, I work backwards from my summation. Virtually all of my questions at the trial and most of my tactics and techniques are aimed at enabling me to make arguments I’ve already determined I want to make.”
Bugliosi, Vincent
And the Sea Will Tell

“Whenever I know the defense is going to present evidence damaging to the prosecution, I try to introduce the evidence myself. That strategy tends to shave a few decibels off the defense’s trumpets, and it conveys to the jury my willingness to see that all evidence, unfavorable to the prosecution as well as favorable, comes out–that I am not trying to suppress it back in the judge’s chambers or in open court.”
Bugliosi, Vincent
Till Death Do Us Part

 

C

“The whole life of Robert Moses, in fact, has been a drama of the interplay of power and personality. When the curtain rose of the next act of Moses’ life, the idealism was gone from the stage. In its place was an understanding that ideas–dreams–were useless without power to transform them into reality. Moses spent the rest of his life amazing power, brining to the take imagination, iron will and determination.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“Misleading and underestimating, in fact, might be the only way to get a project started What if you didn’t tell the officials how much a project would cost? Once they had authorized that small initial expenditure and you had spent it, they would not be able to avoid giving you the rest when you asked for it. How could they? If they refused to give you the rest of the money what they had given you would be wasted and that would make them look bad in the eyes of the public. “Once you sink that first stake,” he would often say, “they’ll never make you pull it up.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“For once Bob Moses came into possession of power, it began to perform its harsh alchemy on his character, altering its contours, eating away at some traits, allowing others to enlarge. The potential had always been there, like a darker shadow on the edge of the bright gold of his idealism. With each small increase in the amount of power he possessed, the dark element in his nature loomed larger.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“In politics, power vacuums are always filled. And the power vacuum in parked was filled by Robert Moses. The old men saw beauty in their parks. Moses saw beauty there too, but he also saw power, saw it lying there in those parks unwanted. And it picked it up–and turned it as a weapon on those who had thought it not important and destroyed them with it.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“Having a large table instead of a desk was insurance that this procedure would be followed. Since a table has no drawers, there was no place to hide papers; there was no escape from a nagging problem or a difficult to answer letter except to get rid of it one way or another. And there was another advantage: when your desk was table you could have conferences without even getting up.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“The answer to this question lies somewhere deep in Robert Moses’ nature. In pat it lies in the arrogance that was that nature’s most striking manifestation. Robert Moses’ arrogance was first of all intellectual; he had consciously compared his mental capacity to other men’s and had concluded that its superiority was so great that it was a waste of time for him to discuss, to try and understand or even listen to their opinions.
But there was more to his arrogance than that. Had his arrogance been merely intellectual, he could have disciplined himself. But hi arrogance was emotional, visceral, a driving forced created be heredity and hardened by living, a forced too strong to be tamed by intellect, a force that drove him to do thing for which there is no wholly rational explanation.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“The mind was brilliant, but even a brilliant mind is only as good as the material–the input–fed into it. Bob Moses climbed so high on his own ego, had become so hidebound in his own arbitrariness, that he had removed himself almost entirely from reality and had insulated himself within his own individuality.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“Power and Personality. Interplay.
The young Robert Moses, immersed in his dreams had be totally uninterested in power. And if he had, later, sought it, he had for years sought it only for his dreams. The seeking had been solely on behalf of the vision. If, at least, monumental power had been sought–and used–it had been sought and used as a means to a monumental end.
But Moses’ personality made him particularly susceptible to the addiction of power. And now he had been a mainliner for years. And while he had always before sought power for the sake of his dreams, now, for the first time, he began to seek power for power’s own sake, as an end in and for itself.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“But if in the shaping of New York Robert Moses wan an elemental force, he was also a blind force: blind and deaf, blind and dead to reason, to argument, to new ideas, to any ideas except his own.
He made himself blind. He possessed vision in a measure possessed by few men. But he wouldn’t use it. The arrogance which had been his characteristic from youth, the arrogance that had gorged on power, swelling with each increase, had, now that his power in his chosen fields of activity was so absolute, become absolute itself.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“Robert Moses had never, since he has first come to power, allowed himself any time for reflection, for thought. Reflection, thought, is in a sense no more than the putting to use of a mind, and the unique instrument that was Robert Moses’ mind could conceive wonders when it was put to work that way.”
Caro, Robert A.
The Power Broker

“If I let Chance get over on me then that’s who I would be in the streets: the nigga you can get over on. I had to rearrange the discussion to where I was in a position of power, and I had to do it fast. ”
50 Cent
From Pieces to Weight

“That’s when I realized that as long as you don’t broadcast your beefs, you can get away cold with murder. It’s even better if you don’t allow the beef to take place. If someone disrespects you, you can know in your heard that you’re going to get him, but you don’t have to show him there’s a beef. You can just look at it like, Okay, this nigga must not know. And then you fall back and you put it down.”
50 Cent
From Pieces to Weight

“I didn’t hit shit but air because them niggas got to running as soon as they saw me jump out of the car. Still, they got it in their heads that that motherfucker don’t have no restrictions–he’ll air anything out, anytime.
50 Cent
From Pieces to Weight

“What do you mean, I need a rest? No. I don’t need a rest. I’ll rest in between shows, tour dates, and video shoots. Because you know what? On the corner I didn’t need a rest. I didn’t even stop sometimes to change my clothes because I was grinding. There were times I slept outside when I was hustling. I was just out there on the bench like everybody else. It’s summertime, it’s hot, I ain’t gone home last night. I didn’t quit in my old business and I’m not going to quit in my new business either. ”
50 Cent
From Pieces to Weight

“I didn’t survive being shot nine times for nothing. I didn’t claw my way out of the hood just because it was something to do. I know I’ve got a purpose–a reason for being on this planet. I don’t think I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do yet. But I do know this: I ain’t going nowhere ’till I’ve done it all.”
50 Cent
From Pieces to Weight

“It’s the simple things in life that are extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them”
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

“What’s the world’s greatest lie?” the boy asked, completely surprised.
It’s this: That at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That is the world’s greatest lie.”
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possession and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand”
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

“It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil,” said the alchemist. “It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

“You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit it’s because it wasn’t true love…the love that speaks the Language of the World.”
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

“The wise men understood that this natural world is only an image and a copy of paradise. The existence of this world is simply a guarantee that there exists a world that is perfect. God created the world so that, through its visible objects, men could understand his spiritual teachings and the marvels of his wisdom.”
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

“Even though I complain sometimes,” his heart said, “it’s because I’m the heart of a person, and people’s hearts are that way. People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel they don’t deserve them or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever or of the moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terrible.”
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity”
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him” his heart said. “We, people’s hearts seldom say much about those treasures because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its our direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them–the path to their Personal Legends and to happiness. Most people see the word as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

“Often, when a man is young and idealistic, he believes that if he works hard and does the right thing, success will follow. This was what Boyd’s mother and childhood mentors told him. But hard work and success do not always go together in the military, where success is defined by rank, and reaching higher rank requires conforming to the military’s value system. Those who do not conform will one day realizes that the path of doing the right thing has diverged from the path of success, and then they much decide which path they will follow through life.”
Coram, Robert
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

“Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road,” he said. “And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can do something–for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. “To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?”
Coram, Robert
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

“Generating a rapidly changing environment–that is, engaging in actively that is so quick it is disorienting and appears uncertain or ambiguous to the enemy–inhibits the adversary’s ability to adapt and causes confusion and disorder that, in turn, causes an adversary to overreact or underreact. Boyd closed the briefing by saying the message is that whoever can handle the quickest rate of change is the one who survives.”
Coram, Robert
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

D

“These elements of prediction are the same ones our ancestors relied on to survive. If they seem new to you, it’s because they have been largely ignored by modern Westerners. We perceive less need for them because we are at a point in our evolution where life is less about predicting risks and more about controlling them. Even with all this we have more fear today than ever before, and most of it is fear of each other. To be as free from it as possible, we need to recapture our inherent predictive skills. You’ll see that just as hearing intuition is no more than reading the signals we give ourselves, predicting human behavior is no more than reading the signals others give us.”
De Becker, Gavin
The Gift of Fear

“It is similar to one brother asking another, “Why did you grow up to be a drunk?” The answer is “Because Dad was a drunk.” The second brother then asks, “Why didn’t you grow up to be a drunk?” The answer is “Because Dad was a drunk.”
De Becker, Gavin
The Gift of Fear

“The way circus elephants are trained demonstrates this dynamic well: When young, they are attached by heavy chains to large stakes driven deep into the ground. They pull and yank and strain and struggle, but the chain is too strong, the stake too rooted. One day they give up, having learned they cannot pull free, and from that day forward they can be “chained” with a slender rope. When this enormous animal feels any resistance, thought it has the strength to pull the whole circus tent over, it stops trying. Because it believes it cannot, it cannot.
This opera is being sung in homes all over America right, the stakes driven in to the ground, the heavy chains attached, the children reaching the point they believe they cannot pull free. And at that point, they cannot. ”
De Becker, Gavin
The Gift of Fear

“The old doctrine that submission is the best cure for outrage and wrong, does not hold good on the slave plantation. He is whipped oftenest, who is whipped easiest; and that slave who has the courage to stand up for himself against the overseer, although he may have many hard stripes at first, becomes, in the end, a freeman. When a slave cannot be flogged he is more than half free. He has a domain as broad as his own manly heart to defend and he is really a “power on earth.”
Douglass, Frederick
My Bondage and My Freedom

It rekindled in my breast the smoldering embers of liberty. I was a changed being after that fight. I was nothing before, I WAS A MAN NOW. It recalled to life my crushed self-respect, and my self-confidence, and inspired me with a renewed determination to be A FREEMAN. A man, without force, is without the essential dignity of humanity.
Douglass, Frederick
My Bondage and My Freedom

I was living among freemen; and was, in all respect, equal to them by nature and by attainments. Why should I be a slave? There was no reason why I should be the thrall of any man. To make a contented slave, you must make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and as far as possible, to annihilate his power of reason.
Douglass, Frederick
My Bondage and My Freedom

E

“I had all the characteristics of a human being–flesh, blood, skin, hair–but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that the normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning.”
Easton Ellis, Bret
American Psycho

“I am weeping for myself, unable to find solace in any of this, crying out, sobbing “I just want to be loved,” cursing the earth and everything I have been taught: principles, distinctions, choices, morals, compromises, knowledge, unity prayer–all of it was wrong, without any final purpose. All it came down to was: die or adapt. I imagine my own vacant face, the disembodied voice coming from its mouth: These are terrible times.
Easton Ellis, Bret
American Psycho

“There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. Myself is fabricated, an aberration.”
Easton Ellis, Bret
American Psycho

“Define reason. Desire–meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one really felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is its only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface was all that anyone found meaning in.”
Easton Ellis, Bret
American Psycho

“Freedom” I said. “Maybe Freedom lie in hating” “Naw son, its in loving”
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

“Power doesn’t have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting, and self-stopping, self warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it”
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

“Come out of the fog, young man. And remember you don’t have to be a complete fool in order to succeed. Play the game but don’t believe in it–that part you owe yourself. Even if it lands you in a straight jacket or a padded cell. Play the game, but play it your own way-part of the time at least. Play the game, but raise the ante, my boy.”
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

” And now I looked up through a pain so intense now that the air seemed to roar with the clanging of metal, hearing HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE FREE OF ILLUSION…
And now I answered “Painful and empty”
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

There is, by the way, an area in which a man’s feelings are more rational than his mind, and it is precisely in that area that his will is pulled in several directions at the same time. You may sneer at this, but I know now. I was pulled this way and for that, longer than I can remember. And my problem was that I always tried to go n everyone’s way but my own. I have also been called one thing and then another while no really wished to hear what I called myself. So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man”
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

“All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do. Adam called his house, heaven and earth, Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours, a cobbler’s trade, a hundred acres of ploughed land; or a scholar’s garret. Yet line for line your dominion is as great as theirs, though without the fine names. Build therefore your own world.”
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful. And the stimulus it affords to the sense, and a sort of infinitude which it hath, like space and time, make all matter gay. Even the corpse has its own beauty.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

“Hence, good writing and brilliant discourses are perpetual allegories. This imagery is spontaneous. It is the blending of experience with the present action of the mind. It is proper creation. It is the working of Original Cause through the instruments he has already made.”
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

“In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.”
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take for himself for better or for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot ground which is given to him to till.”
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

“I shall endeavor to nourish my parents, to support my family, to be the chaste husband of one wife–but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from your customs. I must be myself. I cannot break myself any long for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not I will not hurt you or myself with hypocritical attentions.”
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

“Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon or Newton? Every great man is unique. Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Phocion, Socrates, Anaxagoros, Diogenes, are great men but they leave no class. He who is really of their class will not be called by their name but will be his own man, and in turn the founder of a sect.”
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

“Pride is the rope that God allows us all”
Enger, Lief
Peace like a River

“Having someone point out constellations is pleasant as long as they don’t insist that you actually see them. Aside from the Dipper and Orion and the Teapot, constellations tend to hide in the stars”
Enger, Lief
Peace like a River

“Weeping tends to accompany repentance most times. No wonder. Could you reach deep in yourself to locate that organ containing delusions about your general size in the world–could you lay hold of this and dredge it from your chest and look it over in daylight–well it’s no wonder people would rather not. Tears seem a small enough thing”
Enger, Lief
Peace like a River

“Getting into action generates inspiration. Don’t cop out waiting for inspiration to get you back into action. It won’t! …I leave you with one thought: It’s not a compliment when someone tells you you’re a survivor. It’s bullshit. We’re all survivors till we die. Get out there, go for it, don’t be afraid. Be a winner–that’s what it’s all about.
Robert Evans
The Kid Stays in the Picture

“I’m not disagreeing with your philosophy, Stanley. Let’s get down to facts–like agents managers, lawyers, money. Writing about it’s at is easy pocket money; about how it feels, that’s different. Not only does it take talent, which most of these penholders don’t have, but writing about feelings takes a helluva lot more time. Stanley, you know better than me–we’re in the business of deals, not excellence. The ten percenters know their clients can write three concept scripts is what pays their light bills.”
“You’re right, Peter. That’s why we’re overpaid. If we can’t accomplish what we think is right, let someone else be overpaid. We don’t deserve it.”
Robert Evans
The Kid Stays in the Picture

With the production costs inflated and the price tag for television advertising obscene, the final product is not left to the opinion of its maker, nor for that matter to the audience, but to “invitees.” (screeners, test audiences).
If you are invited to my home for dinner and the roast beef is served cold and dry, you don’t complain since you are a guest. If the roast beef is served the very same way in a fine restaurant, back to the kitchen it goes. Why? When you pay the two bucks, your opinion matters. No different in film. Shopping malls are canvassed, invitees are picked. If you hate the film, you don’t walk out if you love the film, you don’t stand and applaud. In day of old, we’d test the response in the theatres. Many a time, the audience would stand and shout “we want out” or stand and shout “we want more.” Today, the emotion is no longer there, only the invitee numbers telling us how our film fared. It’s called the age of marketing. In reality, it is the age of despair.”
Robert Evans
The Kid Stays in the Picture

“Fuck being artsy-craftsy, let’s talk down and dirty and pragmatic. When you’ve only got one shot–that’s it! Either you pull down that beautiful brass ring or you get them brass knuckles in the balls. No second time around, pal! That’s the flick business.
Why then, if for no other reason than caution, shouldn’t striving for excellence prevail over making a release date?”
Robert Evans
The Kid Stays in the Picture

F

” A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: ‘There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired'”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby

“If that was true he must have felt he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about…like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning–
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby

“Don’t aim at success–the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success like happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensure, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Meaning

“To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of the suffering is absolutely relative”
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Meaning

“The way, in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross gives him ample opportunity–even under the most difficult circumstances–to add deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his suffering or not”
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Meaning

“The existential vacuum is a widespread phenomenon of the 20th century. This is understandable; it may be a twofold loss which man has had to undergo since he become a truly human being. At the beginning of human history, man lost some of the basic animal instincts in which an animal’s behavior is imbedded and by which it is secured. Such security, like paradise, is close to man forever; man has to make choices. In addition to this however, man has suffered another loss in his most recent development inasmuch as the traditions which buttressed his behavior are now rapidly diminishing. No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he to do. Instead, he either wished to do what others people wish to do (conformism) or he does what other people wish him to do (totalitarianism).
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Meaning

“As each situation in life represent a challenge to man and presents a problem for him to solve, the question of the meaning of life may actually be reversed. Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that he is who is being asked. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life–daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. ”
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Meaning

If I take man as he is, I make him worse; if I take him as he ought to be, I make him become what he can be.
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning

Today, man’s will to meaning is frustrated on a worldwide scale. Ever more people are haunted by a feeling of meaninglessness which is often accompanied by a feeling of emptiness. It mainly manifests itself in boredom and apathy. While boredom is indicative of a loss of interest in the world, apathy betrays a lack of the initiative to do something in the world, to change something in the world.
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning

No doubt, our industrialized society is out to satisfy all human needs, and its companion, consumer society, is even out to create ever new needs to satisfy; but the most human need–the need to find and fulfill a meaning in our lives–is frustrated by this society.
Viktor E. Frankl
Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning

The only person who can truly persuade you is yourself. You must turn the issues over in your mind at leisure, consider the many arguments, let them simmer, and after a long time turn your preferences into convictions
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

The existences of a free market does not of course eliminate the need for government. On the contrary, government is essential both as a forum for determining the “rules of the game” and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided on. What the market does is to reduce greatly the range of issues that must be decided through political means, and thereby to minimize the extent to which government need participate directly in the game.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

A liberal is fundamentally fearful of concentrated power. His objective is to preserve the maximum degree of freedom for each individual separately that is compatible with one man’s freedom not interfering with other men’s freedom. He believes that this objective requires power to be dispersed. He is suspicious of assigning to government any functions that can be performed through the market, both because this substitutes coercion for voluntary co-operation in the area in question and because, by giving government an increased role, it threatens freedom in other areas.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

We could say to the rest of the world: We believe in freedom and intend to practice it. No one can force you to be free. That is your business. But we can offer you full co-operation on equal terms to all. Our market is open to you. Sell her what you can and wish to. Use the proceeds to buy what you wish. In this way co-operation among individuals can be world wide yet free.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

It is important to distinguish between ‘schooling’ and ‘education.’ Not all schooling is education nor all education, schooling.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

Those of us who believe in freedom must believe also in the freedom of individuals to make their own mistakes. If a man knowingly prefers to live for today, to use his resources for current enjoyment, deliberately choosing a penurious old age, by what right do we prevent him from doing so? Is there not always the possibility that he is right and we are wrong? Humility is the distinguishing virtue of the believing in freedom; arrogance, of the paternalist.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

We shall be able to do so only if we awake to the threat that we face, only if we persuade our fellow men that free institutions offer a surer, if perhaps at times a slower, route to the ends they seek than the coercive power of the state.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

H

“But there is a fatality, a feeling so irresistible and inevitable that it has the force of doom with almost invariably compels human being to linger around and haunt, ghost-like, the spot where some great and marked event has given color to their lifetime; and still even more irresistibly, the darker tinge that saddens it”
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter

“Though must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee”
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter

“None!–nothing but despair!” he answered. “What else could I look for, being what I am, and leading such a life of mine? Were I an atheist–a man devoid of conscience–a wretch with coarse and brutal instincts–I might have found peace, long ere now. Nay, I never should have lost it! But as matters stand with my soul, whatever good capacity there originally was in me, all of God’s gifts that there the choicest have become ministers of spiritual torment. Hester, I am most miserable!”
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter

“It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at the bottom. Each, in it utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his subject. Philosophically considered, therefore, the two passions seem essentially the same, except that one happens to be seen in a celestial radiance, and the other in a dusky and lurid glow.”
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter

So that in the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death. And the cause of this is not always that a man hopes for a more intensive delight than he has already attained to, or that he cannot be content with a moderate power, but because he cannot assure the power and means to live well, which he hath present, without the acquisition of more.
Hobbes, Thomas
Leviathan

J

“Let no one think these are just word changes. Word changes are concept changes and concept changes are behavioral changes. The entire history of religions and of politics and even of science stands shrill witness to that.Without words like soul, liberty, or truth, the pageant of this human condition would have been filled with different roles, different climaxes. And so with the words we have designated as preconscious hypostases, which by the generating process of metaphor through these few centuries unite into the operator of consciousness.”
Jaynes, Julian
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

“But for the rest of us, who must scuttle along on conscious models and skeptical ethics, we have to accept our lessened control. We are learned in self-doubt, scholars of our very failures, geniuses at excuses and tomorrowing our resolves. And so we become practiced in powerless resolution until hope gets undone and dies in the unattempted. At least that happens to some of us. And then then to rise above this noise of knowings and really change ourselves, we need an authorization ‘we’ do not have.”
Jaynes, Julian
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

L

“Wall Street makes its best producers into managers. The reward for being a good producer is to be made a manager. The best producers are cutthroat, competitive, and often neurotic and paranoid. You turn those people into managers and they go after each other. They no longer have the outlet for their instincts that producing gave them. They usually aren’t well suited to be managers. Half of them get thrown out because they are bad. Another quarter get muscled out because of the politics. The guys left behind are the most ruthless of the bunch. That’s why there are cycles on Wall Street–because the ruthless people are bad for the business but can only be washed out by proven failure.
Lewis, Michael
Liar’s Poker

“There are all sorts of guys who will show up because they can’t think of anything else to do,” he said. “Those are exactly the people you don’t want. I have a strategy for dealing with these people. When they come by to apply for a job I tell them, ‘We’re all confused here. We don’t know what we’re going to do yet.’ But when you find someone you want, I tell them, “Here’s exactly what we’re going to do and it is going to be huge and you are doing to get very, very rich.”
Lewis, Michael
The New New Thing

M

So, as a prince is forced to know how to act like a beast he must learn from the fox and the lion; because the lion is defenseless against traps and a fox is defenseless against wolves. Therefore one must be a fox in order to recognize traps and a lion to frighten off wolves. Those who act simply like lions are stupid. So it follows that a prudent cannot, and must not honour his word when it places him at a disadvantage and when the reasons for which he made his promise no longer exist. If all men were good, this precept would no be good; but because men are wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need not keep your word to them”
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

“A prince must consider it of little importance if he incurs the name of a miser, for this is one of those vices that permits him to rule.
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

“This institution was a good one so long as the citizens were good: for it is always beneficial for a citizen to be able to propose something he felt was for the public good; it was equally beneficial everyone to be able to express his opinion on the proposal so that the people, after hearing them all, could then select the best one. But when the citizens became wicked, such an institution became most harmful: for only the powerful were proposing laws, not in the name of common liberty but rather for their own power, and no one spoke against them these men because they feared them. In such a way, the people were deceived or forced into decreeing their own ruin”
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

“He was so skillful that while still a private citizen someone who wrote about him said “that he lacked nothing save a kingdom to reign.”
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

“Still it cannot be called skill to kill one’s fellow citizens, to betray friends, to be without faith, without mercy, without religion; by these means one can acquire power but not glory.”
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

“The same things happen where Fortune is concerned: she shows her force where there is no organized strength to resist her; and she directed her impact there where she knows that dikes and embankments are not constructed to hold her.”
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

“We now see extraordinary, unprecedented signs brought about by God: the sea has opened up: a cloud has shown you the path; the rock pours forth water; it has rained manna here; everything has converged for your greatness.”
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

I was going through the hardest thing, also the greatest thing, for any human being to do; to accept that which is already within you, and around you.
Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

I certainly wasn’t seeking any degree, the way a college confers a status symbol upon its students. My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America. Not long ago, an English writer telephoned me, asking questions. One was, “What’s your alma mater?” I told him, “Books.”
Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

When you recognize who your enemy is, he can no longer brainwash you, he can no longer pull wool over your eyes so that you never stop to see that you are living in pure hell on this earth, while he lives in pure heaven right on this same earth.
Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

“The real advantage which truth has, consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it, until some one of it it reappearance falls on a time when favourable circumstances it escapes persecution until it has made such head as to withstand all subsequent attempts to suppress it. ”
John Stuart Mill
On Liberty

“Who can compute what the world loses in the multitude of promising intellects combined with timid characters, who dare no follow out any bold, vigorous, independent train of thought, lest it should land them in something which would admit of being considered irreligious or immoral?”
John Stuart Mill
On Liberty

“No one can be a great thinker who does not recognize that as a thinker it is his first duty to follow his intellect to whatever conclusions it may lead. Truth gains more even by errors of one who, with due study and preparation thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those who only holds them because they do not suffer themselves to think.”
John Stuart Mill
On Liberty

“From time to time little men will come along to find fault with what you have done…they will go down the stream like bubbles, they will vanish; but the work you have done will remain for the ages.”
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

“I have enjoyed in greatly, yet the more I see the better satisfied that I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit.”
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

“Black care,” Roosevelt wrote, “rarely sites behind a rider whose pace is fast enough.”
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

“Like all American, I like big things; big prairies, big forests and mountains, big wheat fields, railroads, and herds of cattle too, big factories, steamboats and everything else. But we most keep steadily in mind that no people were ever benefited by riches if their prosperity corrupted their virtue…each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worth of its good fortune. When we rule ourselves, we have the responsibilities of sovereigns, not of subjects.”
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

“The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages, though it is apt to be also the most terrible and inhuman. The rude, fierce settles who drove the savage from the land lays all civilized mankind a debt to him. American and Indian, Boer and Zulu, Cossack and Tartar, New Zealander and Maori–in each case the victor, horrible though many of his deeds are, has laid deep foundations for the future greatness of a mighty people.”
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

“Diplomacy,” Roosevelt insisted, “is utterly useless when there is no force behind it; the diplomat is the servant, not the master of the soldier.”
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

P

“Now you can see that men are not mortal creatures, but it is only their flesh that dies. A Man’s appearance is not his true nature. A man’s worth depends on his mind; if he nourishes in properly, he will eventually join God and live forever as an eternal being. Nothing on earth is nobler than exercising our minds through arts and excellent deeds. No action among men can be said to be worthier than taking care of one’s own country, protecting one’s city and preserving well-organized societies in unity and peace. Whoever practices such things will be the first, before anyone else, to inhabit this heavenly abode as his home in eternal joy with the other blessed, for this is the place whence all the souls of statesmen left to descent to earth, and whither they all must return after death and remain for eternity.” Dante as quoted by
Palmieri, Matteo
Vita Civile

One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection. You wake up, and that’s enough.
Palahniuk, Chuck
Fight Club

“Disaster is a natural part of my evolution,” Tyler whispered, “toward tragedy and dissolution”…
“I’m breaking my attachment to physical power and possessions,” Tyler whispered, “because only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit”…
“The liberator who destroys my property,” Tyler said “is fighting to save my spirit. The teacher who clears all possessions from my path will set me free.”
Palahniuk, Chuck
Fight Club

“Every addiction, she said, was just a way to treat this same problem. Drugs or overeating or alcohol or sex, it was all just another way to find peace. To escape what we know. Our education. Our bite of the apple. Language, she said, was just a way to explain away the wonder and the glory of the world. To deconstruct. To dismiss. She said people can’t deal with how beautiful the world really is. How it can’t be explained or understood.”
Palahniuk, Chuck
Choke

“I admire addicts. In a world where everybody is waiting for some blind, random disaster or some sudden disease, the addict has the comfort of knowing what will most likely wait for him down the road. He’s taken some control over his ultimate fate, and his addiction keeps the cause of his death from being a total surprise. In a way, being an addict is very proactive.”
Palahniuk, Chuck
Choke

“Our decisions should be made on the basis of what’s most healthy, not what will satisfy me the quickest. Live with integrity and a clear sense of right and wrong. Consider consequences. Listen to the inner voice of your instinct as carefully as a doctor checks your heartbeat.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky
Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again

“To me, mental health isn’t always about feeling good. Nor is it always about avoiding depression. As I define it, mental health is about accepting reality on reality’s terms.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky
Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again

“As a culture, we are woefully disconnected from the biological realities of our lives. We are born, and then, at some point we can’t predict, we die.” Like Dr. Finely reminds me, “There’s never a perfect time to be born, to die or to have a child.” We are biological organisms that operate for a finite amount of time. Those are the facts of the human condition and we don’t have any control over then. The one thing we can do is exert some control over what we do with our lives between birth and death.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky
Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again

“That’s my biggest concern. Our culture has taken its great founding principle, the pursuit of happiness, and twisted it into an obsession with instant gratification, the quick fix, getting what’s mine. The most successful creative figures in our culture, from the producers of reality TV to the editors of Maxim to the directions of music videos, have created an orgiastic mythos of sex, mayhem and cool clothes.
But none of this has anything to do with happiness. In truth, it’s just a setup for disappointment frustration and failure. It’s why so many people complain about depression or insist they just don’t feel good. Lacking adequate attachments, they feel empty. They try to feel better by grasping at the solutions the culture offers, only to find those solutions turn into the problem; then they get caught up in a continued need for arousal, to escape their emptiness.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky
Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again

I run to avoid defeat, to prove myself, to show I can. Step by step, I conquer boredom, push beyond pain, accomplish something. Gradually, as I find my stride along the trail, I fall into a meditative state where I am able to open up and search my soul, questioning everything from my own actions to the inaction of the system.
Dr. Drew Pinsky
Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again

You know, real recovery is about accepting powerlessness. It’s about accepting that you were traumatized and while that was intensely, seriously wrong, you survived. Appreciate that. You got a chance. Your life can be okay. You can’t be perfect. You can’t ever be pain-free. But things can be okay.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky
Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again
Only gods and heroes can be brave in isolation. A man may call upon his courage only one way, in the ranks with his brothers-in-arms, the line of his tribe and his city. Most piteous of all states under heaven is that of a man alone, bereft of the gods of his home and his polis. A man without a city is not a man. He is a shadow, a shell, a joke, and a mockery. No one may expect valor from one cast out alone, cut off from the gods of his home.
Pressfield, Steven
Gates of Fire: The Epic Novel on the Battle of Thermopylae

“In the East we have learned that which you Greeks have not. The wheel turns, and man must turn with it. To resist is not mere folly, but madness.”
“You have never tasted freedom, friend,” Dienekes spoke, “or you would know it is purchased not with gold, but steel. And as for this wheel you speak of,” he finished, “like every other, it turns both ways.”
Pressfield, Steven
Gates of Fire: The Epic Novel on the Battle of Thermopylae

“War, not peace, produces virtue. War, not peace, purges vice. War, and preparation for war, call forth all that is noble and honorable in a man. It unites him with his brothers and binds them in selfless love, eradicating in the crucible of necessity all which is base and ignoble. There in the holy mill of murder the meanest of men may seek and find that part of himself, concealed beneath the corrupt, which shines forth brilliant and virtuous, worth of honor before the gods. Do not despise war, my young friend, nor delude yourself that mercy and compassion are virtues superior to andreia, to manly valor.”
Pressfield, Steven
Gates of Fire: The Epic Novel on the Battle of Thermopylae

For what can be more noble than to slay oneself? Not literally. Not with a blade to the guts. But to extinguish the selfish self within, that part which looks only to its own preservation, to save its own skin. That, I saw, I saw, was the victory you Spartans gained over yourselves.
Pressfield, Steven
Gates of Fire: The Epic Novel on the Battle of Thermopylae

“I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. All that I know, I knew at thirteen, and truth to tell, at ten and younger. Nothing has come to me as a grown commander that I did not apprehend as a child.”
Pressfield, Steven
The Virtues of War

“Do you think me vain or self-inflated? Consider: What has Zeus portioned out for man, save this earth? Heaven He has kept for Himself. But this sphere here, beneath this sky, we mortals may roam with naught to hem us but our own will and imagination. Do you know what faculty I claim in myself as preeminent beyond all rivals? No war craft or conquest. Certainly not politics. Imagination.”
Pressfield, Steven
The Virtues of War

“The daimon is not a being that can be appealed to. It is a force of nature. To call it not human is only half-exactly. It is inhuman. You make a pact with it. It gifts you with omniscience. But you ally yourself with the whirlwind and make your seat upon the tiger’s back.”
Pressfield, Steven
The Virtues of War

View the rest of the book quotes–from Hunter S. Thompson to Tobias Wolff–here

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Comments

Great list. Whenever I meet people who don’t read “for fun” (as they say in a dumbfounded voice), I mock them. I point, and I laugh.

Posted by: Brian Schimpf at April 8, 2007 06:33 AM

Although I think his work has divulged into the commercial, I find the following quote to be very focusing. I was reminded of it by your response to a commenter that no one will come to find you for a job, that you need to make yourself desirable to the hirer.

“The practice of self-responsibility begins with the recognition that I am ultimately responsible for my own existence; that no one else is here on earth to serve me, take care of me, or fill my needs; I am the owner of no one’s life but my own. This means that I am willing to generate the causes of the effects I want. It also means that I if I need the cooperation of others in the pursuit of my goals, I must provide them with reasons meaningful in terms of their own interests and needs; my wants per se are not a claim on anyone.”
— Nathaniel Branden, Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life

Posted by: Melissa at September 25, 2007 12:00 PM

“And as I told you, being broke is a very efficient educational agency.”
-Edwin Lefevre,Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

Posted by: D at October 16, 2007 05:43 PM

GAWD! I luv reading these Insightful, Powerful quotes!
Right now the one to which I relate to the most:
“…being broke is a very efficient educational agency.” Edwin Lefevre
Priceless!

Adrienne Zurub
‘Notes From the Mothership The Naked Invisibles’

Posted by: Adrienne Zurub at December 28, 2007 05:41 PM

Quotes

“Nobody asks to be a hero, it just sometimes turns out that way.

When I get home people ‘ll ask me, “Hey Hoot, why do ya do it man? Why? Just some war junkie?” Ya know what I’ll say? I won’t say a goddamn word. Why? They won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it. They won’t understand that it’s about the men next to you, and that’s it. That’s all it is.

No one gets left behind, you know that.

You shouldn’t have come here. This is a civil war. This is our war, not yours.
300,000 dead and counting. That’s not a war Mr. Atto. That’s genocide

Well I’m here to kick some ass.

Do you think if you get General Aidid, we will simply put down our weapons and adopt American democracy? That the killing will stop? We know this. Without victory, there will be no peace. There will always be killing, see? This is how things are in our world.”
Black Hawk Down

“You dropped your rock.

There’s a difference between us. You think the people of this land exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. and I go to make sure they have it.”
Braveheart

“Any moron with a pack of matches can start a fire. Raining down sulfur takes a huge level of endurance. Mass genocide is the most exhausting activity one can engage in, next to soccer.”
Dogma

“Before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. I don’t think it would be snowing now if he weren’t still up there. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it.”
Edward Scissorhands

“Life, which you so nobly serve, comes from destruction, disorder, and chaos.
The Fifth Element

“I wanted to destroy something beautiful.”
Fight Club

“There will come a moment when you have the chance do the right thing.
I love those moments… I like to wave at them as they pass by.

If you’re rolling scuppers in this tub, you’re either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid.
It’s remarkable how often those two traits coincide.

Taking stock: you’ve got a pistol with only one shot, a compass that doesn’t point north … and no ship. You are without a doubt the worst pirate I have ever heard of.
Ah, but you have heard of me.

You cheated.
Pirate.

Honest men are slaves to their conscience, and there’s no predicting ’em. But you can always trust a dishonest man to stay that way…

My father — was not — a pirate!
Put it away, Will. It’s not worth getting beat again.
You didn’t beat me. You ignored the rule of engagement. In a fair fight, I’d kill you.
Then that’s not much incentive for me to fight fair, is it?”
Pirates of the Caribbean

“It can’t rain all the time

People once believed, that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens, that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes the crow could bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.”
The Crow

“Even though my eyes are wide open, I still can’t see a thing.”
Zatoichi

“He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man.”
Avenged Sevenfold

“Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?

A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

All good things to those who wait.

Now you’re being rude, and I hate rude people.

‘Io fei gibetto de le mei case.’ I made my own home be my gallows.

This is really gonna hurt.

I might not have time.
I do. I have oodles.

I am the Dragon. And you call me insane. You are privy to a great becoming, but you recognize nothing. You are an ant in the afterbirth. It is your nature to do one thing correctly. Before me, you rightly tremble. But, fear is not what you owe me. You owe me awe.

Remarkable boy. I do admire your courage. I think I’ll eat your heart.

A robin red-breast in a cage, puts all of Heaven in a rage

Think to yourself that every day is your last. The hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise. As for me, when you want a good laugh, you will find me in fine state… fat and sleek, a true hog of Epicurus’s herd.

Have you seen blood in the moonlight? It appears quite black.

I need your opinion now.
Then here’s one… you stink of fear and that cheap lotion. You stink of fear Will, but you’re not a coward. You fear me, but still you came here. You fear this shy boy, yet still you seek him out. Don’t you understand, Will? You caught me because we’re very much alike. Without our imaginations, we’d be like all those other poor… dullards. Fear… is the price of our instrument. But I can help you bear it.

Rudeness is an epidemic.

Now tell me inspector: you lost family in the war?
Yes.
Did you catch who did it?
No.
Then we are both suspects.

Do you remember “Das Männlein im Walde”, Herr Dortlich? Mischa loved that song. Let’s sing for Mischa!”
The Hannibal Series

“An elderly man was trying to find a place to sit and observe the Olympic Games, as he went to each section. All the other Greeks laughed as he tried to make his way through. Some ignored him. Upon entering the Spartan section all the Spartans stood and offered the elderly man their seats. Suddenly the entire stadium applauded. All the Greeks knew what was the right thing to do, but the Spartans were the only ones who did it.”
Homer

“Sometimes we hit the target, but miss the self”
Zen Archery

“Out of the darkness, comes the promise of light Out of the violence of the past, come the dreams of the future

Come in from the Dark Come in from the Cold Make me a Bird So I can fly far from this world”
Unknown

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.”
William Blake

“If I tell you I’m good, you would probably think I’m boasting. If I tell you I’m no good, you know I’m lying.

Be formless… shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, and it can crash. Be like water, my friend…

Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.

The more relaxed the muscles are, the more energy can flow through the body. Using muscular tensions to try to ‘do’ the punch or attempting to use brute force to knock someone over will only work to opposite effect.

Mere technical knowledge is only the beginning of Kung Fu. To master it, one must enter into the spirit of it.

There are lots of guys around the world that are lazy. They have big fat guts. They talk about chi power and things they can do, but don’t believe it.

I’m not a master. I’m a student-master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I’m still learning. So I’m a student-master. I don’t believe in the word ‘master.’ I consider the master as such when they close the casket.

Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there.

Jeet Kune Do: it’s just a name; don’t fuss over it. There’s no such thing as a style if you understand the roots of combat.

Unfortunately, now in boxing people are only allowed to punch. In Judo, people are only allowed to throw. I do not despise these kinds of martial arts. What I mean is, we now find rigid forms which create differences among clans, and the world of martial art is shattered as a result.

I think the high state of martial art, in application, must have no absolute form. And, to tackle pattern A with pattern B may not be absolutely correct.

True observation begins when one is devoid of set patterns.

The other weakness is, when clans are formed, the people of a clan will hold their kind of martial art as the only truth and do not dare to reform or improve it. Thus they are confined in their own tiny little world. Their students become machines which imitate martial art forms.

Some people are tall; some are short. Some are stout; some are slim. There are various different kinds of people. If all of them learn the same martial art form, then who does it fit?

Ultimately, martial art means honestly expressing yourself. It is easy for me to put on a show and be cocky so I can show you some really fancy movement. But to express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly enough; that my friend is very hard to do.

Use no way as way; use no limitation as limitation.”
Bruce Lee

“If you chase two rabbits, you will lose them both.”
Native American saying

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Lao Tzu

“Oh farmers, pray that your summers be wet and your winters clear.”
Virgil

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
Confucius

“Put your shoulder to the wheel.”
Aesop

“Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God.”
Cicero

“Hath not the potter power over the clay, to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?”
The Bible, Romans

“Do not throw the arrow which will return against you.”
Kurdish Proverb

“It is from their foes, not their friends, that cities learn the lesson of building high walls.”
Aristophanes

“Not at all similar are the race of the immortal gods and the race of men who walk upon the earth.”
Homer

“You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.”
Uknown

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back.”
The Buddha

“It is entirely seemly for a young man killed in battle to lie mangled by the bronze spear. In his death all things appear fair.”
Homer

“Blessed be the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.”
The Bible, Deut. 28:4

“True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read.”
Pliny the Elder

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”
The Bible, Numbers

“If you speak the truth, have a foot in the stirrup.”
Kurdish Proverb

“I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”
The Bible, Exodus

“You should hammer your iron when it is glowing hot.”
Publius Syrius

“And them that take the sword shall perish by the sword.”
The Bible, Matthew

“A multitude of rulers is not a good thing. Let there be one ruler, one king.”
Herodotus

“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.”
The Buddha

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some to be chewed and digested.”
Sir Francis Bacon

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.

“But then I sigh; and, with a piece of Scripture, Tell them that God bids us do good for evil: And thus I clothe my naked villany With odd old ends stol’n forth of holy writ; And seem a saint when most I play the devil.”
William Shakespeare

“If in other sciences we should arrive at certainty without doubt and truth without error, it behooves us to place the foundations of knowledge in mathematics.”
Roger Bacon

“The wisest men follow their own direction.”
Euripides

“And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

“To bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, so that the strong should not harm the weak.”
Hammurabi’s Code; Prologue

“Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.”
Publius Syrius

“For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.”
Ecclesiastes

“I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.”
Aristotle

“A god from the machine.”
Menander

“Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self; the heavenly by the love of God.”
St. Augustine

“I will to my lord be true and faithful, and love all which he loves and shun all which he shuns.”
Anglo Saxon oath of Fealty

“The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”
Unknown

“If music be the food of love, play on.”
William Shakespeare

“I cannot live without books.”
Thomas Jefferson

“One doesn’t discover new lands without losing sight of the shore.”
Andre Gide

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupry

“I am the state.”
Louis XIV

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public.”
Adam Smith

“Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”
Thomas Jefferson

“What gunpowder did for war, the printing press has done for the mind.”
Wendell Phillips

“There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.”
Ali ibn Abi-Talib

You can get more of what you want with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.”
Al Capone

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
Benjamin Franklin

“A man does not have himself killed for a half-pence a day or for a petty distinction. You must speak to the soul in order to electrify him.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
Sun-Tzu

“Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.”
Plato

“No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, or in any other way destroyed, except by the lawful judgment of his peers.”
Magna Carta

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
Winston Churchill

“Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.”
Albert Einstein

“Chemistry means the difference between poverty and starvation and the abundant life.”
Robert Brent

“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
Mao Zedong

“Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual responsibility.”
Ambrose Bierce

“Before that steam drill shall beat me down, I’ll die with my hammer in my hand.”
from “John Henry, the Steel-Driving Man”

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
Galileo Galilei

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”
Dom Helder Camara

“You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bon-fire under her deck? I have no time for such nonsense.”
Napoleon, on Robert Fulton’s Steamship

“People can have the Model T in any color – so long as it’s black.”
Henry Ford

“The great masses of the people… will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.”
Adolf Hitler

“To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.”
Isaac Newton

“Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl.”
Frederick the Great

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, but the one most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin

“As to diseases make a habit of two things – to help, or at least, to do no harm.”
Hippocrates

“I fooled you, I fooled you, I got pig iron, I got pig iron, I got all pig iron.”
Lonnie Donegan, “Rock Island Line”

“Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.”
E.B. White

“We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”
Thomas Edison

“If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One… I am become Death, the Shatterer of Worlds.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting “The Bhagavad Gita”

“There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wage possible.”
Henry Ford

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.”
Leonardo Da Vinci

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

“Then one fine mornin’ she puts on a New York station. You know her life was saved by Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
The Velvet Underground, “Rock And Roll”

“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
Oscar Wilde

“The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot eternally live in a cradle.”
Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky

“I just want to say one word to you. Just one word: plastics.” Calder Willingham, The Graduate

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Native American Song

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.”
Steve Wozniak

“Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child which carries the heavy burden of genetic disease.”
Bob Edwards “Beep… beep… beep… beep…”
Sputnik I

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Aristotle

“The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether men do.”
B.F. Skinner

“There is a single light of science and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.”
Isaac Asimov

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clarke

“The future will be better tomorrow.”
Dan Quayle

“Cuz I’m praying for rain And I’m praying for tidal waves I wanna see the ground give way. I wanna watch it all go down. Godm please flush it all away. I wanna see it go right in and down. I wanna watch it go right in. Watch you flush it all away.”
Tool

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Bene-Gesserit

“What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”
Christopher Hitchens

“Civilization will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.”
Émile Zola

“I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.”
Issac Asimov

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is God both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
Epicurus

“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” George Benard Shaw

“The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history. The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.

Religion is a solace to many and it is even conceivable that some religion, somewhere, is Ultimate Truth. But being religious is often a form of conceit. The faith in which I was brought up assured me that I was better than other people; I was ‘saved,’ they were ‘damned’ — we were in a state of grace and the rest were ‘heathens.’ By ‘heathen’ they meant such as our brother Mahmoud. Ignorant louts who seldom bathed and planted corn by the Moon claimed to know the final answers of the Universe. That entitled them to look down on outsiders. Our hymns was loaded with arrogance — self-congratulation on how cozy we were with the Almighty and what a high opinion he had of us, and what hell everybody else would catch come Judgment Day.”
Robert A. Heinlein

“Man is just another animal — sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours — who, because of his ‘divine spiritual and intellectual development’, has become the most vicious animal of all.”
b13visuals

“What we do in life echoes in eternity.”
Gladiator

“Although extraordinary valor was displayed by the entire corps of Spartans and Thespaians, yet bravest of all was declared the Spartan Dienekes. It is said that on the eve of battle, he was told by a native of Trachis that the Persian archers were so numerous that, when they fired their volleys, the mass of arrows blocked out the sun. Dienekes, however, undaunted by this prospect, remarked with a laugh, ‘Good. Then we’ll have our battle in the shade.'”
Herodotus

“The Spartan government was founded on the principle that the life of every individual, from the moment of birth, belonged absolutely to the state. The elders of the city-state inspected the newborn infants and ordered the weak and unhealthy ones to be carried to a nearby chasm and left to die. By this practice Sparta hoped to ensure that only those who were physically fit would survive. The children who were allowed to live were brought up under a severe discipline. At the age of 7, boys were removed from their parents’ control and organized into small bands. The strongest and most courageous youths were made captains. The boys slept in dormitories on hard beds of rushes. They ate black broth and other coarse food. They wore the simplest and scantiest clothing. Unlike the boys of Athens, they spent little time learning music and literature. Instead they were drilled each day in gymnastics and military exercises. They were taught that retreat or surrender in battle was disgraceful. They learned to endure pain and hardship without complaint and to obey orders absolutely and without question. They were allowed to feel the pinch of hunger and were encouraged to supplement their fare by pilfering food for themselves. This was not done to cultivate dishonesty but to develop shrewdness and enterprise. If they were caught, they were whipped for their awkwardness. It is said that a Spartan boy, who had stolen a young fox for his dinner, allowed the animal he had hidden under his cloak to gnaw out his vitals rather than betray his theft by crying out. Girls were educated in classes under a similar system, but with less rigor. Discipline grew even more rigorous when the boys reached manhood. All male Spartan citizens between the ages of 20 and 60 served in the army and, though allowed to marry, they had to belong to a men’s dining club and eat and sleep in the public barracks. They were forbidden to possess gold and silver, and their money consisted only of iron bars. War songs were their only music, and their literary education was slight. No luxury was allowed, even in the use of words. They spoke shortly and to the point; in the manner that has come to be called laconic, from Laconia, the district of which Sparta was a part. ”
Encyclopedia Brittanica

“They will come, scholars perhaps, or travelers from beyond the sea, prompted by curiosity regarding the past or appetitie for knowledge of the ancients. They will peer out across our plain and probe among the stone and rubble of our nation. What will they learn of us? Their shovels will unearth neither brilliant palaces nor temples; their picks will prise forth no everlasting architecture or art. What will remain of the Spartans? Not monuments of marble or bronze, but this, what we do here today… Now eat a good breakfast, men. For we’ll all be sharing dinner in hell.”
Gates of Fire

“Honor leads to victory, victory leads to glory, glory leads to immortality.”
Unknown

“Only gods and heroes can be brave in isolation. A man may call upon his courage only one way, in the ranks with his brothers-in-arms, the line of his tribe and his city. Most piteous of all states under heaven is that of a man alone, bereft of the gods of his home and his polis. A man without a city is not a man. He is a shadow, a shell, a joke, and a mockery. No one may expect valor from one cast out alone, cut off from the gods of his home.”
Gates of Fire

“‘In the East we have learned that which you Greeks have not. The wheel turns, and man must turn with it. To resist is not mere folly, but madness.’ ‘You have never tasted freedom, friend,’ Dienekes spoke, ‘or you would know it is purchased not with gold, but steel. And as for this wheel you speak of,’ he finished, ‘like every other, it turns both ways.'”
Gates of Fire

“War, not peace, produces virtue. War, not peace, purges vice. War, and preparation for war, call forth all that is noble and honorable in a man. It unites him with his brothers and binds them in selfless love, eradicating in the crucible of necessity all which is base and ignoble. There in the holy mill of murder the meanest of men may seek and find that part of himself, concealed beneath the corrupt, which shines forth brilliant and virtuous, worth of honor before the gods. Do not despise war, my young friend, nor delude yourself that mercy and compassion are virtues superior to andreia, to manly valor.”
Gates of Fire

“For what can be more noble than to slay oneself? Not literally. Not with a blade to the guts. But to extinguish the selfish self within, that part which looks only to its own preservation, to save its own skin. That, I saw, was the victory you Spartans gained over yourselves.”
Gates of Fire


9 responses to Quotes and Passages

  1. How can I ever thank you enough for this? Thank you Ryan!

  2. Amazing resource, thanks alot. one quote jumps out at me though.

    “The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages, though it is apt to be also the most terrible and inhuman. The rude, fierce settles who drove the savage from the land lays all civilized mankind a debt to him. American and Indian, Boer and Zulu, Cossack and Tartar, New Zealander and Maori–in each case the victor, horrible though many of his deeds are, has laid deep foundations for the future greatness of a mighty people.”
    Theodore Roosevelt in:
    Morris, Edmund
    The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

    The worst genocides of history are all justified in one quote. I’m sure Goebbels if he was alive, would have thrown in the europeans and the jews. Not savages because they were civilized and successful, you might say. If left to a Goebbels, I am sure he would be able to make adequate comparisons to fit them into the category. So, this means the actions of the settlers to America some of whom gave small pox infested blankets to American indians wiping out families was ultimately righteous. It is justified by the current mightiness of America. Whose to say what mighty is anyway, 50% of the population of America is obese, their favourite past times are shopping and eating. The country that they stole from the Indians, which was pristine when they got it, is now one big coast to coast shopping mall. This is a nice example of how we justify atrocities with language.

  3. Great job here. I truly enjoyed what you had to say. Keep heading because you undoubtedly bring a new voice to this subject. Not many people would say what youve said and still make it interesting. Well, at least Im interested. Cant wait to see additional of this from you.

  4. Ryan your a beast! This is inspiring me to to really get my quotes down on paper. Great resource as always, thanks!

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