"Seek simplicity, then distrust."
- Alfred North Whitehead
"The test of a first-rate
intelligence is the ability to hold two opposite ideas in mind at the same
time and still retain the ability to function."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
"It's not what we don't know
that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so."
- Will Rogers
"To know that we know what
we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge."
"For a man to achieve all
that is demanded of him, he must regard himself as greater than he is."
"Many complain about their
memory, few about their judgment."
"Gentlemen, I take it we are
all in complete agreement on the decision here . . . Then I propose we postpone
further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves
time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the
decision is all about."
-Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.
"The future is purchased by
- Samuel Johnson
"People sometimes stumble
over the truth, but usually they pick themselves up and hurry about their
- Winston Churchill
"Knowledge and wisdom, far
from being one, have often times no connection. Knowledge dwells in heads
replete with thoughts of other men, wisdom in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass, the mere materials with which wisdom
builds, till smoothed and squared and fitted to its place does but encumber
whom it seems to enrich. Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; wisdom
is humble that he knows no more."
- William Cooper, 1795
"Hindsight Every great scientific
truth goes through three stages. First people say it conflicts with the Bible.
Next, they say it has been discovered before. Lastly, they say they have always
"The empiricist thinks he
believes only what he sees, but he is much better at believing than at seeing."
"One can live in the shadow
of an idea without grasping it."
"We trained hard . . . . every
time we began forming up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn
later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing....and
a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing
inefficiency and demoralization."
- Gaius Petronius (died circa 66AD)
"Leaders are people who do
the right thing: managers are people who do things right. Both roles are crucial,
but they differ profoundly. I often observe people in top positions doing
wrong things well."
-Why Leaders Can't Lead
You will never stub your toe standing
still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but
the more chance you have of getting somewhere.
Y ou miss 100 percent of the shots
you never take.
The harder I work, the luckier
Without a deadline, baby, I wouldn't
-Duke Ellington, musician
You can't steal second base, and
keep your foot on first.
Never get into fights with ugly
people because they have nothing to lose.
A pint of sweat will save a gallon
-George S. Patton
Don't confuse fame with success.
Madona is one; Helen Keller is the other.
A good scare is worth more to a
man than good advice.
Every successful enterprise requires
three men - a dreamer, a businessman, and a son of a bitch.
- Peter McArthur
It is not the employer who pays
the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the
"You can observe a lot by
- Yogi Berra
"Never show fools unfinished
"At the day of judgment, we
will not be asked what we have read, but what we have done."
-Thomas A Kempis,
The Imitation of Christ, 1420
Use it or lose it.
- American Proverb
"How do I know where I'm going
if I don't know where I've been."
"Sometimes a majority simply
means all the fools are on the same side."
- Claude McDonald
"Although we congratulate
ourselves for our great actions, they are not so often the result of great
design as of chance."
I forget what I hear;
I remember what I see;
I know what I do.
"Quality is not an act; it
is a habit."
"Learn from the mistakes of
others--you can never live long enough to make them all yourself."
"The acid test of intelligence
is its ability to cope with stupidity."
"Never mistake motive for
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
- Calvin Coolidge
"Experience is a good teacher,
but she sends in terrific bills."
- Minna Antrim,
Naked Truth and Veiled Illusions, 1902
"A new scientific truth does
not triumph convincing its opponents, but rather because its opponents die,
and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
- Max Planck
"A basic truth of management
- if not of life - is that nearly everything looks like a failure in the middle."
- Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Conflict is natural. Where there
is creativity, there exists a chance of conflict. Conflict is resolved through
openness. Groups, as opposed to teams, often suppress conflict. Teams feel
that conflict sharpens differences, creates additional options, and provides
checks and balances. Conflict occurs over issues, not personalities. People
may be parties to conflict, but they are not the issue. Conflict involves
a search for alternatives. Team members avoid placing the blame for problems
or failures. Conflict resolution is present oriented. Conflict is a group
issue. Disagreement can influence the working of the team.
- Thomas Quick
The only difference between a problem
and a solution is that people understand the solution.
- Charles Kettering
The consumer is our boss, quality
is our work, and value for money is our goal.
-the Quality Principle of Mars, Inc.
The difference between genius and
stupidity is that genius has its limits.
The history books are full of stories of gifted persons whose talents were overlooked by a procession of people until someone believed in them. Albert Einstein was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read. Isaac Newton did poorly in grad school. A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he had “no good ideas”. Werner von Braun failed ninth-grade algebra. Haydn gave up on making a musician of Beethoven, who seemed a slow and plodding man with no apparent talent.
There is a lesson in such stories:
Different people develop at different rates, and the best motivators are always
on the lookout for hidden capabilities.
“Bringing Out the Best In People
Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.
Lord Balfour's Contention
Nothing matters very much, and very few things matter at all.
The Siddharth Principle
You cannot cross a river in two strides.
Disimoni's Rule of Cognition
Believing is seeing.
The Watergate Principle
Government corruption is always reported in past tense.
Frothingham's Fourth Law
Urgency varies inversely with importance.
Thinly sliced cabbage.
The fact that you do not know the answer does not mean that someone else does.
Horner's Five-Thumb Postulate
Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.
Greer's Third Law
A computer program does what you tell it to do, not what you want it to do.
A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.
There are two things on earth that are universal, hydrogen and stupidity.
Law of Probable Dispersal
Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
Law of Life's Highway
If everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
Levy's Eighth Law
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccu-pation with detail.
A crisis is when you can't say "let's forget the whole thing.
The chief cause of problems is solutions.
Trust everybody, but cut the cards.
Mason's First Law of Synergism
The one day you'd sell your soul for something, souls are a glut.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
The person with the least expertise has the most opinions.
Four-wheel-drive just means getting stuck in more inaccessible places.
Everybody lies; but it doesn't matter, since nobody listens.
You can always find what you're not looking for.
Complex problems have simple, easy-to understand wrong answers.
Schopenhauer's Law of Entropy
If you put a spoonful of wine in a barrel full of sewage, you get sewage.
If you put a spoonful of sewage in a barrel full of wine, you get sewage.
Bralek's Rule for Success
Trust only those who stand to lose as much as you when things go wrong.
One child is not enough, but two children are far too many.
Where you stand depends on where you sit.
There is no such thing as instant experience.
Berra's First Law
You can observe a lot just by watching.
Berra's Second Law
Anyone who is popular is bound to be disliked.
1. Everything depends.
2. Nothing is always.
3. Everything is sometimes.
Asking dumb questions is easier than correcting dumb mistakes.
There is no job so simple that it cannot be done wrong.
You can never do just one thing.
Post's Managerial Observation
The inefficiency and stupidity of the staff corresponds to the inefficiency and stupidity of the management.
Imbesi's Law of the Conservation
In order for something to become clean, something else must become dirty.
Freeman's Extension: . . . but you can get everything dirty without getting anything clean.
"Never make a personnel judgment the first time it comes up."
-Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.,
Former Chairman of the Board,
"Build a 20 percent pessimism quotient into all expectations. Overestimate
by 20 percent the amount of time it will take to accomplish a plan. Underestimate
by 20 percent the expected results."
Former President Avis Rent-a-Car
Author, Up the Organization
"Round numbers beg to be negotiated, usually by counteroffer round numbers.
Odd numbers sound harder, firmer, less negotiable."
“We often spend too much time coping with problems along our path that
we forget why we are on the path I the first place. The result is that we
only have a dim, or even inaccurate, view of what’s really important
-Peter M. Senge
"To maximize the size of your
next job's salary: 1) Let them make the first bid, 2) Ask for 20 percent more
than they offer."
"The individual with responsibility for implementing a decision should
be a part of the decision-making process."
- Eugene Webb,
Associate Dean, Stanford Business School
"Put your home on the market in the spring: 71 percent of all home sales
occur between April and July."
"Give a name to all major company projects. It gives everyone an easy
way to refer to a common set of goals."
- Boardroom reports
"Set a maximum of three to five corporate goals in a year." ? John
Former President, Monsanto
"When writing an ad, use sentences of no more than twelve words."
-David Ogilby & Mather International
trouble in the World by P.J. O’Rourke.
If Bangladesh and Fremont, Ca. have the same number of people per square mile, why didn’t George Harrison do a concert benefiting suburban Californians? A very funny investigation of what’s wrong with the world.
to Decadence by Jacques Barzun.
A history of the last 500 years that focuses on sweeping social trends.
Brain and the Fighter Pilot by Richard Restak.
Best self improvement book I know.
of Whores by P.J. O’Rourke.
A very funny investigation of what’s wrong with American Government.
of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence.
Lawrence of Arabia’s own words describe his remarkable life.
of Gettysburg by Frank Haskell.
Frank Haskell was there as a young officer. Remarkable eyewitness book.
Karamazov by Fodor Dostoevsky (translated by Richard Pevear).
Fundamental exploration of human nature.
and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.
Most people don’t realize this book was written in the 1700’s. Traces ten centuries of Roman History and Culture. A historical masterpiece.
Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone by William Manchester.
Churchill will amaze you. Inspite of what Time Magazine said – this guy was clearly the ‘Man of the Century’.
Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory by William Manchester.
Churchill will amaze you. Inspite of what Time Magazine said – this guy was clearly the ‘Man of the Century’.
www.dack.com/web/bullshit.html - Note: This handy application is now available on your web-enabled cell phone, for those times when you need some bullshit but aren't near a PC. Just point your phone's browser to http://dack.com and follow your nose.
www.abuzz.com - Ask or answer just about any question - New York Times
http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/index.html - See the Universe from the largest to the smallest scale
www.pandromeda.com/page/galleries/still_thumbnails.php - The best place for Fractal images
www.flyingcow.com - I know these guys. Their website that gets over one million visitors a month.
www.zigonperf.com/resources/humor.html - Good source for Dilbert cartoons.
www.quotesandsayings.com - Find quotes.
www.audible.com - The only commercial site I recommend. Sign up for the audible books and make dead time useful. I never travel without several books.