Favourite Quotations

Some selected quotations …

"The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination."
-- Frederick P. Brooks Jr, The Mythical Man Month (1974)

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things"
-- Niccolò Macchiavelli, The Prince (1532)

"The inferno of living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together.
"There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognise who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space."
-- Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (1972)

"Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them."
-- Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)

Michel Montaigne on friendship:
"In my judgement the sweetness of well-matched and compatible fellowship can never cost too dear. O! a friend! How true is that ancient judgement, that the frequenting of one is more sweet than the element water, more necessary than the element fire."

"Violence is the last resort of the incompetent"
-- Isaac Asimov, Foundation (1951)

"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words."
-- Philip K. Dick, How to Build A Universe That Won't Fall Apart in Two Days (1978)

"Hitler had once said that the true victory of the Nazis would be to force its enemies, the United States in particular, to become like the Third Reich - i.e. a totalitarian society - in order to win. Hitler, then, expected to win even in losing. As I watched the American military-industrial complex grow after World War Two I kept remembering Hitler's analysis, and I kept thinking how right the son of a bitch was. We had beaten Germany, but both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were getting more and more like the Nazis with their huge police systems every day."
-- Philip K. Dick, Notes on Oh to be a Blobel! (1979)

"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-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars (1939)