Categories
Notes

Quotes

Quotes are densely packed knowledge nuggets. Here you can find some of my favorites.

Index

Work
Life
Mindset
Finance and Business
Society
Productivity
Writing

Work

  1. “Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will, through work, bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea’.” -Chuck Close
  2. People are of two types: Doers and mental masturbators. And the latter is much, much more common. You see all of these people online for “information”, but very few are actually doing anything with it. They enjoy reading about mindset and productivity, and once they get their dopamine hit, they go back to watching prank videos on YouTube for … more dopamine hits. Remember the ratio: 20% reading, 80% action.
  3. The highest level of mastery is simplicity. Most information is irrelevant and most effort is wasted, but only the expert knows what to ignore.
  4. The task of life is not to see clearly in the distance but to do the task at hand” — Charlie Munger
  5. “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and assign them tasks, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
  6. As the saying goes, the graveyards are full of indispensable men. Life will go on without you at your old job. It go well; it go poorly.

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Life

  1. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
  2. “I’d say it’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.” – Paul Graham
  3. Sometimes magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect. – Penn & Teller
  4. “Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something. Don’t just stand there, make it happen.” – Lee Iacocca
  5. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford
  6. “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Teddy Roosevelt
  7. “Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” — The Dalai Lama
  8. “He who has a why can bear almost any how.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
  9. Recapping the happiness formula: Eat right. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Imagine an incredible future (even if you don’t believe it). Work toward a flexible schedule.
  10. You can’t easily overcome a poor environment, but you can easily thrive in the right one.
  11. Fortune favors the bold.
  12. The principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.
  13. Most people need degrees because they don’t have the courage to ask for what they want.”
  14. “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” -Albert Camus
  15. George Harrison once sang, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
  16. “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” — Thomas Merton
  17. “We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca
  18. “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” —Mark Twain
  19. Darren Hardy said, “Never ask the advice from someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.”
  20. Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.
  21. Waving all excellence away as “genius” or “talent” is easy — it saves us from having to put in any effort at all.
  22. The irony is that once you do accept that you don’t need someone else’s help or advice to become a good person, it’s only then that their advice truly becomes useful to you.
  23. Things (toys, bigger houses, money, status, etc.) don’t supply anywhere near the long-term satisfaction that getting better at something does. It is the evolution, not the rewards, that matter.
  24. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” —John Lennon
  25. As they say, wherever you go, there you are. Being special isn’t so special. You will still feel frustrated. You will still feel lonely. You will still feel like you could have done more.
  26. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

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Mindset

  1. Amateurs always try to look behind the curtain expecting magic.
  2. “Give enough people what they want and you will get what you want.”
  3. “Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.” — Jim Rohn
  4. “What shapes our lives are the questions we ask, refuse to ask, or never think to ask.” -Sam Keen
  5. “There’s no difference between a pessimist who says, ‘Oh, it’s hopeless, so don’t bother doing anything,’ and an optimist who says, ‘Don’t bother doing anything, it’s going to turn out fine any way.’ Either way, nothing happens.” — Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia
  6. “The worst possible feeling is when the person you are meets the person you could have been.”
  7. “Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” –Martin Luther King, Jr
  8. “Well done is better than well said” – Benjamin Franklin
  9. If you’re not willing to “100 percent swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous.” – Naval
  10. In the way you do anything you do everything.
  11. Don’t ask yourself what you want out of life. It’s easy to want success and fame and happiness and great sex. Everybody wants those things. A much more interesting question to ask yourself is, “What kind of pain do I want?” What you are willing to struggle for is a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.
  12. It is much more important that you are a good designer/manager of your life than a good worker in it.
  13. I´ve learned the hard way that overthinking and then not doing is worse than just doing and then failing. Out of failing you actually learn and get better. Out of overthinking comes .. literally ..nothing.

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Finance and Business

  1. Retirement is not an age. It is a financial state.
  2. So, the purpose of wealth is freedom. It’s nothing more than that. It’s not to buy fur coats, or drive Ferraris, or sale yachts, or jet around the world in your Gulfstream. That stuff gets really boring and really stupid really fast. – Naval
  3. These are the two mindsets of building wealth. People who stay poor or middle class see money as something to be spent. People who become rich see money as something to be invested.
  4. Many of these companies (startups) make a lot more sense to me if I think of the founders(+select early employees) as the company, the company as the product, the VCs as the customer, and product+customers as the sales pitch.
  5. So many companies try to emulate how Google works. There are multiple books, hundreds or thousands of articles. People speculate on the perks, the review structure, the hierarchy, the autonomy. However, when other companies try to imitate Google they always fail because they’re missing a crucial piece: Billions of dollars in ad revenue. Google doesn’t work the way it does to be successful. It works that way because it is successful.
  6. Time in the market beats timing the market.
  7. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant” – Charly Munger
  8. What they teach doesn’t work, but selling it does.
  9. People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves.
  10. Greedy when people are fearful, fearful when people are greedy.
  11. “The reason that ‘guru’ is such a popular word is because ‘charlatan’ is so hard to spell.” – William Bernstein
  12. If you want to make money, you need to understand people only pay for 1 of 2 things. People pay for: Results: You do something they couldn’t do for themselves Convenience: You do something they don’t want to do for themselves, or you make something difficult easier to do. That’s it.
  13. It is easier to predict a stock to go up 5% in a month and repeat it 12 times than it is to find a stock that goes up 80% in a year.
  14. Look for people who do things, not for talent.
  15. People think being a millionaire is spending a million dollars. Which is the exact opposite of being a millionaire.’ – @morganhousel
  16. “People who are bred, selected, and compensated to find complicated solutions do not have an incentive to implement simplified ones…Never pay for complexity of presentation when all you need is results. -Taleb
  17. Don’t be penny smart and dollar foolish. Think about the big wins before you start clipping coupons.
  18. Living doesn’t cost much, but showing off does.”

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Society

  1. Worldviews are increasingly a fashion accessory, whether as a uniform to express it-crowd membership, or haute couture to channel hipsterish contrarianism.
  2. I shifted from seeing life as reactive to seeing it as proactive. Nearly every human behavior is preceded by some kind of prediction. For example, if you buy a book on Amazon you don’t actually buy the book. You can’t because you don’t own it yet. What is buy is the image that the sales page creates in your mind. You buy your expectations of how good the book will be. And that expectation is what motivates you to act. Once I realized this, I started to see life as predictive and started to realize that it’s actually my predictions about everything (how I interpret the cues and experiences in my life) that drive all of my actions. My predictions motivate me to act. (This is stage 2 of the Habit Loop in Atomic Habits.) And that means if I can see the experiences in my life in a different way, I can take different actions.
  3. Anxiety occurs when we have an expectation we want to live up to, but we simultaneously believe we’re incapable of meeting it.
  4. “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want published; everything else is public relations.”
  5. Punishment seldom if ever fits the crime. There’s a strong case that punishment exists to give society a chance for collective catharsis. Otherwise, it makes little sense to imprison someone for 7 years. If they can be rehabilitated then do so; if they need to be removed from society permanently then do that. Public ostentatious punishment is really a form of vicarious group sadism directed at the unpopular.
  6. If someone is seen as a genius or crazy depends on the amount of success.
  7. Any man who must say, “I am the king” is no true king.
  8. Publications pick the photos that tell their bias, not the story.
  9. That’s the year I learned that if there’s a loophole, someone’s going to drive a truck through it, and the people in the truck will get paid better than the people under it.
  10. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
  11. “Do not let your schooling interfere with your education.” — Mark Twain
  12. It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
  13. What I was given to study in school I have forgotten; what I decided to read on my own, I still remember.

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Productivity

  1. Procrastination is a simple, easily understood process. It’s what you do when you’re not sure what to do next. If you find yourself procrastinating on something, it is almost always because you have some vague idea of what you should be doing, but you don’t know what the next step is, and procrastinating on it by going on Twitter or cleaning your apartment is easier.
  2. Part of this is that a lot of productivity nuts are pursuing productivity as a hobby — essentially, they are role-playing a world where they are more successful. So for them, it’s fun to constantly tweak systems and try new tools.
  3. I’d rather do the right things poorly than the wrong things efficiently, so I spend more time thinking about these kinds of high-level things than about how I can save 5 minutes a day.
  4. But I am a firm believer in the idea that things are not complicated, but that people tend to make things complicated.
  5. To put it bluntly, goals are for losers. That’s literally true most of the time. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, you will spend every moment until you reach the goal—if you reach it at all—feeling as if you were short of your goal. In other words, goal-oriented people exist in a state of nearly continuous failure that they hope will be temporary. – Scott Adams
  6. There’s no way not to be distracted by distractions, it’s built into the brain in the way we pay attention to novelty. Eliminate distractions, don’t fight them.
  7. I wrote down the problem and did the math to find out what the solution would have to look like. It’s hugely important to define the problem and constrain the solution as much as possible. Nailing these down is probably the single most important “trick” problem-solving.
  8. Showing up is 90% of the battle.
  9. You can do anything, you can’t just do everything – David Allen
  10. You can’t actually do a project, you can only do actions related to it.
  11. Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the amount of time you’ve allotted it. If you give yourself an hour to do a task, it will take an hour. If you give yourself 15 minutes to complete the same task, it will take 15 minutes. The same holds true for making decisions. Setting a time constraint can force you to make a decision more efficiently.
  12. Therapy is still subject to the Law of Self-Help: you can judge the usefulness of any self-help tool by how many people are leaving it. If people are leaving it, it works. If people are staying, then it’s not working.
  13. “Maybe all the time I spend looking for better ways to do things is keeping me from, well, doing things.” This realization also hit me not too long ago. Everything had to be setup just right, I had to know every little detail, and it had to be done efficiently. However, I realized I was getting absolutely nothing done. I learned much more and got more things done by just jumping into whatever I needed to accomplish.
  14. He said, “Imagine weightlifting as stacking up pieces of paper. Every day you lift weights, just pretend like you’re adding a piece of paper to a pile. On the first day, you start with one single piece of paper. After a month of weight lifting, you could have as many as 30 sheets of paper stacked up. After several years of keeping up with weight lifting, you are going to have a serious stack of paper!”
  15. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting one.” — Mark Twain
  16. Sitting in a rocking chair, there is a lot of motion but very little movement.

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Writing

  1. “Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” – Henry David Thoreau
  2. If you start from the premise that no one knows you and no one cares about your writing, you’ll have the burning motivation to make your readers care from the first page.
  3. ‘Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing’. – Benjamin Franklin
  4. Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good. – Malcolm Gladwell
  5. “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” – Steal Like an Artist
  6. I love both readings—you have to dress for the job you want, not the job you have, and you have to start doing the work you want to be doing. – Steal Like an Artist
  7. Joan Didion: “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”
  8. “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
  9. “‘The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.’ — Mortimer Adler”
  10. Author Jonathan Franzen once said that nothing good could be written on a laptop that had an internet connection.
  11. The writer Jonathan Lethem has said that when people call something “original,” nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved. What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.
  12. I’ve read about 20 or so self-help books in the past before I realized that I wasn’t really developing besides overloading my brain with ideologies. It’s very easy to get caught up in it if you aren’t careful. The general rule is if it doesn’t have practical applications that you can apply and get real measurable results with. Discard it.

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