Short Quotes

From a variety of sources.

Computing

Inside every large program, there is a small program trying to get out.
--Tony Hoare
The job of formal methods is to elucidate the assumptions upon which formal correctness depends.
--Tony Hoare
--Alan J. Perlis, Epigrams, 1970s
We don't manage our time as well as we manage our space. There's an overhead of starting and an overhead of stopping a project because you kind of lose your momentum. And you've got to bracket and put aside all the things you're already doing. So you need reasonably large blocks of uninterrupted time if you're going to be successful at doing some of these things. That's why hackers tend to stay up late.

If you stay up late and you have another hour of work to do, you can just stay up another hour later without running into a wall and having to stop. Whereas it might take three or four hours if you start over, you might finish if you just work that extra hour. If you're a morning person, the day always intrudes a fixed amount of time in the future. So it's much less efficient. Which is why I think computer people tend to be night people -- because a machine doesn't get sleepy.
--Bill Joy

The standard definition of AI is that which we don't understand.
--Bill Joy
Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid: humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.
--Albert Einstein
A computer is a stupid machine with the ability to do incredibly smart things, while computer programmers are smart people with the ability to do incredibly stupid things. They are, in short, a perfect match.
--Bill Bryson
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.
--Bjarne Stroustrup (originator of C++ programming language)
Testing can show the presence of errors, but not their absence.
-- E. Dijkstra
Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow (e.g., given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone).
--Eric Raymond
Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.
--H. Abelson and G. Sussman
There's no obfuscated Perl contest because it's pointless.
--Jeff Polk
The competent programmer is fully aware of the strictly limited size of his own skull; therefore he approaches the programming task in full humility, and among other things he avoids clever tricks like the plague.
--Edsger Dijkstra
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
--T.S. Eliot
My first program taught me a lot about the errors that I was going to be making in the future, and also about how to find errors. That's sort of the story of my life, making errors and trying to recover from them. I try to get things correct. I probably obsess about not making too many mistakes. --Don Knuth
Adding people to a late software project makes it later.
--Fred Brooks
The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.
--Tom Cargill
The sooner you start to code, the longer the program will take.
--R. Carlson
A problem well stated is a problem half solved.
--Charles F. Kettering

Science

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
--Aldous Huxley
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I've found it!), but "That's funny...".
--Isaac Asimov
When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
--R. Buckminster Fuller
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
--Douglas Adams
Shall I tell you the secret of the true scholar? It is this: every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.
--G.K. Chesterton
Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.
--Leonardo Da Vinci
Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. As a result, genius is often a talented person who has simply done all of his homework.
--Thomas Edison
One who makes no mistakes, never makes anything.
--English proverb
The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
--Linus Pauling
An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.
--Niels Bohr
A problem well stated is a problem half solved.
--Charles F. Kettering
Remember how quickly our field [computer science] changes. That's why you want to focus on learning things that don't change: how to work well with other people, how to carefully assess a client's real -- as opposed to perceived -- needs, and things like that.
--Randy Pausch
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. --Albert Einstein

Communication

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
--Mark Twain
Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
--William Strunk Jr.
I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.
--Blaise Pascal
A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.
--Wilson Mizner
To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.
--Francois de La Rochefoucauld
If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
--Mark Twain

Management

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
--Chinese Proverb
It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
--Walt Disney
Doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things.
--Stephen R. Covey
At every crossroads on the path that leads to the future, tradition has placed 10,000 men to guard the past.
--Maurice Maeterlink
It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
--Grace Murray Hopper
A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.
--Fred Allen
--Bill Joy
It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
--W. Somerset Maugham
Those who failed to oppose me, who readily agreed with me, accepted all my views, and yielded easily to my opinions, were those who did me the most injury, and were my worst enemies, because, by surrendering to me so easily, they encouraged me to go too far... I was then too powerful for any man, except myself, to injure me.
--Napoleon Bonaparte
If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
--Yogi Berra
If you've always done it that way, it's probably wrong.
--Charles Kettering
Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.
--James Bryant Conant, Past President of Harvard University
Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, 'We've always done it this way.' I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.
--Grace Hopper
A ship in port is safe but that's not what ships are for ... sail out to see and do new things.
--Grace Hopper
You can't escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
--Abraham Lincoln
Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.
--Peter Drucker
Nostalgia is a seductive liar.
--Mike Schmoker
Reforms often fail because politics favors symbols over substance.
--Mike Schmoker
In a healthy system, there is no blame.
--Mike Schmoker
In the presence of greatness, pettiness disappears.
In the absence of a great dream, pettiness prevails.
--Robert Fritz
You see, when there is danger, a good leader takes the front line. But when there is celebration, a good leader stays in the back room. If you want the cooperation of human beings around you, make them feel that they are important. And you do that by being humble.
--Nelson Mandela
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.
--Jim Lovell
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming.
-- J.W Von Goethe
Showing appreciation for the things others do for you has a profound effect on how you're perceived. Keep in mind that everything someone does for you has an opportunity cost. That means if someone takes time out of his or her day to attend to you, there's something they haven't done for themselves or for someone else. It's easy to fool yourself into thinking your request is small. But when someone is busy there are no small requests. They have to stop what they're doing, focus on your request, and take the time to respond. With that in mind, there is never a time when you shouldn't thank someone for doing something for you. In fact, assume a thank-you note is in order, and look at situations when you don't send one as the exception. Because so few people actually do this (unfortunately), you will certainly stand out from the crowd.
--Tina Seelig
Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.
--Aristotle
A leader leads by example not by force.
--Sun Tzu
Every noble work is at first impossible.
--Thomas Carlyle
As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.
--Andrew Carnegie
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
--Harry S. Truman
Before you can learn a new way of doing things, you have to unlearn the old way. So beginnings depend on endings.
--Rick Maurer

Teaching

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
--Carl Buchner
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
--Confucius
What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.
--Aristotle
I kind of wish I had taken a broader set of courses in college. If you can get that first semester of it, then you can see other things about it and add to your knowledge, but if you don't have the basic breadth in your education, you won't improve on anything very easily. You have to make that investment to learn a little bit in each field and also to learn the great ideas, in the Mortimer Adler sense, not figure out how you're going to make the most money. I know an awful lot of unhappy people who have an obscene amount of money, and it's because they didn't get a certain balance much earlier.
--Bill Joy
The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education
--Emerson
The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
--Mark Van Doren
To teach is to learn again.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes
Much have I learned from my teachers,
more from my colleagues,
but most from my students.
--Talmud
Practice is the best of all instructors.
--Publilius Syrus
The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn.
--Alvin Toffler
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
The best kind of education prepares students not merely for the first job they will hold, but for the last one.
--Jim Appleton, President, University of Redlands
As you enter a classroom ask yourself this question: "If there were no student in the room, could I do what I am planning to do?" If your answer to the question is yes, don't do it.
--Gen. Ruben Cubero, Dean of the Faculty, United States Air Force Academy
The American university is built on two false premises: that all teachers must add to the existing stock of knowledge by research, and that all self-respecting institutions fulfill this role only by employing productive scholars...Of course, the teacher must keep reading and thinking abreast of his time, but this does not mean that he must write and publish. The confusion hides a further absurd assumption, which is that when a man writes a scholarly book that reaches a dozen specialists he adds immeasurably to the world's knowledge; whereas if he imparts his thoughts and his reading to one hundred and fifty students every year, he is wasting his time and leaving the world in darkness. One is tempted to ask what blinkered pedant ever launched the notion that students in coming to college seceded from the human race and may therefore be safely left out when knowledge is being broadcast.
--J. Barzun
To teach is to learn twice.
--Joseph Joubert
The wisdom acquired with the passage of time is a useless gift unless you share it.
--Esther Williams
Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.
--Garrison Keillor
Before you can learn a new way of doing things, you have to unlearn the old way. So beginnings depend on endings.
--Rick Maurer
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Inspiration

The secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God.
--Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
--Albert Einstein
It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed ... The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. All history will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues.
--Abigail Adams, letter to her son John Quincy Adams
There are only two rules for success:
  1. Never tell everything you know.
  2.  
--Anonymous
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.
--G.K. Chesterton
I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.
--Bill Cosby
Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.
--Booker T. Washington
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Pay no attention to what the critics say; there has never been set up a statue in honor of a critic.
--Jean Sibelius
All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.
--James Thurber
You don't get to choose how you're going to die, or when. You can only decide how you're going to live now.
--Joan Baez
The Church is the only fellowship in the world where the one requirement for membership is the unworthiness of the candidate.
--Robert B. Munger
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.
--Benjamin Franklin
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.
--Warren Buffett
Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.
--David Frost
Alexander, Charlemagne and myself all tried to found an empire on force and we failed. Jesus Christ is building an empire on love, and today there are millions of people who would gladly die for His sake.
--Napoleon
If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?
--Stephen Levine
If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.
--Alan Simpson
You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event -- it is a habit.
--Aristotle
Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.
--Martha Graham
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed, to consider well [that] the maine end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternall life, Jn. 17:3, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.
--Founding mission statement of Harvard University, 1643
I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act, even with insufficient tools.
--Pope Benedict XVI
No one will pay you to solve a non-problem.
--Vinod Kosla, co-founder, Sun Microsystems
Find the intersection between you interests, your skills, and the market. That's what a career is.
--Tina Seelig
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep.
--Scott Adams
Despire our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin's womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked "No Entrance" and left through a door marked "No Exit."
--Peter Larson
The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.
--Vincent Van Gogh
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.
--Edmund Burke
The life which is unexamined is not worth living.
--Socrates
It is possible to learn all about the mysteries of the Bible and never be affected by it in one's soul. Great knowledge is not enough.
--John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress
My company mascot is the bumblebee. Because of its tiny wings and heavy body, aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly. But the bumblebee doesn't know that, so it flies anyways.
--Mary Kay Ash
You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.
--Woodrow Wilson
If you have it [love], you don't need to have anything else, and if you don't have it, it doesn't matter much what else you have.
--Sir James M. Barrie
You can't have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.
--Charles F. Kettering
I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life'.
--Maya Angelou
The way things are is not the way things have to be.
--Emmanual Katongole and Chris Rice
We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.
--Lyndon B. Johnson
Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations... can never effect a reform.
--Susan B. Anthony
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
--Mark Twain
To do a common thing, uncommonly well, brings success.
--Henry John Heinz
Smooth seas do not make a skillful sailor.
--African proverb
We are like tea bags -- we don't know our own strength until we're in hot water.
--Sister Busche
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
--Nelson Mandela
Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him.
--James Allen
Don't let someone else's opinion of you become your reality.
--Les Brown
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
--Albert Einstein
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
--Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Failure

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
--Thomas Edison
--Charles Kettering
Would you like me to give you a formula for... success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You're thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all... you can be discouraged by failure -- or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find success. On the far side.
--Thomas J. Watson, American Businessman, Founder of IBM
I've missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot... and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
--Michael Jordan
My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.
--Abraham Lincoln
In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
--Bill Cosby
The great question is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.
--William Shakespeare
Yes, risk taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing-taking.
--Tim McMahon
Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
--Eleanor Roosevelt
Don't be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.
--John Keats
Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.
--Frederick B. Wilcox
If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.
--Woody Allen
Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, 'I have failed three times,' and what happens when he says, 'I am a failure.'
--S.I. Hayakawa
Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.
--Zig Ziglar
Most success springs from an obstacle or failure. I became a cartoonist largely because I failed in my goal of becoming a successful executive.
--Scott Adams
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
--Henry Ford
When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and do not repeat it.
--Paul "Bear" Bryant
The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.
--Edward Phelps
"You must never feel badly about making mistakes," explained Reason quietly, "as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons."
--Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all -- in which case, you fail by default.
--J.K. Rowling

Other

If you like laws and sausage, you should never watch either being made.
--Otto von Bismarck
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
--A. A. Milne
For I am well aware that scarely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done.
--Charles Darwin, "Introduction", Origin of Species (185)
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
--A. Maslow
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
--Albert Einstein
It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.
--Rod Serling
In great affairs men show themselves as they wish to be seen; in small things they show themselves as they are.
--Nicholas Chamfort
Thinking is the hardest work there is. That is why so few people engage in it.
--Henry Ford
Trust your hunches. They're usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.
--Dr. Joyce Brothers
Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment.
--Mark Twain
It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time in which to read them; but generally the purchase of a book is mistaken for the acquisition of its contents.
--Arthur Schopenhauer
A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.
--Chuck Norris
The door of a bigoted mind open outwards so that the only result of the pressure of facts upon it is to close it more snugly.
--Ogden Nash
Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.
--Erica Jong
Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.
--Andri Gide
The clearest indication of character is what people find laughable.
--Goether

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