George Bernard Shaw

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

Master Shifu, Kun-Fu Panda 3

If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than who you are.

Richard W. Hamming

What you learn from others you can use to follow. What you learn for yourself you can use to lead.

Beware of finding what you're looking for.

Indeed, one of my major complaints about the computer field is that whereas Newton could say, "If I have seen a little farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants," I am forced to say, "Today we stand on each other's feet." Perhaps the central problem we face in all of computer science is how we are to get to the situation where we build on top of the work of others rather than redoing so much of it in a trivially different way. Science is supposed to be cumulative, not almost endless duplication of the same kind of things.

If you don’t work on important problems, it’s not likely that you'll do important work.

In science if you know what you are doing you should not be doing it. In engineering if you do not know what you are doing you should not be doing it.

He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important.

Teachers should prepare the student for the student's future, not for the teacher's past.

Often it is not physical limitations... but rather it is human made laws, habits, and organizational rules, regulations, personal egos, and inertia, which dominate the evolution of the future.

It is well known the drunken sailor who staggers to the left or right with n independent random steps will, on the average, end up about square root of n steps from the origin. But if there is a pretty girl in one direction, then his steps will tend to go in that direction and he will go a distance proportional to n. In a lifetime of many, many independent choices, small and large, **a career with a vision will get you a distance proportional to n, while no vision will get you only the distance square root of n. ** In a sense, the main difference between those who go far and those who do not is some people have a vision and the others do not and therefore can only react to the current events as they happen. The accuracy of the vision matters less than you suppose, getting anywhere is better than drifting, there are potentially many paths to greatness for you... No vision, not much of a future.

You ought to try to make significant contributions to humanity rather than just get along through life comfortably... the life of trying to achieve excellence in some area is in itself a worthy goal... A life without a struggle on your part to make yourself excellent is hardly a life worth living. ...a life without such a goal... is merely existing…

Buddha told his disciples, "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense". I say the same to you -you must assume the responsibility for what you believe.

Mathematics is the language of clear thinking.

Typing is no substitute for thinking.

Often the great scientists, by turning the problem around a bit, changed a defect to an asset. For example, many scientists when they found they couldn't do a problem finally began to study why not. They then turned it around the other way and said, “But of course, this is what it is” and got an important result.

One of the characteristics of successful scientists is having courage. Once you get your courage up and believe that you can do important problems, then you can. If you think you can't, almost surely you are not going to.

It is a poor workman who blames his tools—the good man gets on with the job, given what he's got, and gets the best answer he can.

Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime.

Luis Pasteur

Luck favours the prepared mind.

Jan Houtema

Change breaks the brittle.

Your twenties are always an apprenticeship, but you don't always know what for.

Abelson & Sussman

Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.

Alan Kay

Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do. The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

E. B. White

The best writing is rewriting.

Jon Bentley and Doug McIlroy

The key to performance is elegance, not battalions of special cases.

Mark Twain

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

Steve Jobs

Focusing is about saying no.


The secret backstory of The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf is trying to get an achievement for taking the Ring to Mordor using only Hobbits.

Abraham Lincoln

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Benjamin Franklin

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Sir Ernest Gowers, The Complete Plain Words

The requirement for all writers is to know just what meaning they want to convey, and it is only by clothing their thoughts in words that they can think at all.

The less one makes a habit of thinking, the less one is able to think: the power of thinking atrophies unless it is used.

Dr. Laurence J. Peter, Peter principle

People in a System rise to their level of incompetence.

K. Hafner, M. Lyon: Where wizards stay up late, p. 22

As ARPA features took shape, one readily apparent characteristic of the agency was that its relatively small size allowed the personality of its director to permeate the organisation.

John Gall, Systemantics

Systems-people everywhere share certain attributes, but each specific System tends to attract people with specific set of traits.

Any large system is going to be operating most of the time in failure mode.

When a fail-safe system fails, it fails by failing to fail-safe.

Perfection of planning is a symptom of decay.

A large system produced by expanding the dimensions of a smaller system does not behave like the smaller system.

Things indeed are not working very well. In fact, they never did.

Problems are not the problem; Coping is the problem.

A temporary patch will very likely be permanent.

Robert L. Read, How to be a Programmer

To be a good programmer is difficult and noble. The hardest part of making real a collective vision of a software project is dealing with one's coworkers and customers. Writing computer programs is important and takes great intelligence and skill. But it is really child's play compared to everything else that a good programmer must do to make a software system that succeeds for both the customer and myriad colleagues for whom she is partially responsible.

Howard H. Aiken

Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats.