Quotes

A collection of quotes and aphorisms I enjoy.

Epictetus

  • First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
  • It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
  • If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
  • There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.

Marcus Aurelius

  • Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed, and you haven’t been.
  • It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. Just try and escape your own.
  • The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly. And be patient with those who don’t
  • Is it your reputation that is bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands.
  • Is a world without pain possible? Then don’t ask the impossible.

Seneca

  • If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable
  • It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it.
  • The greatest remedy for anger is delay.

Warren Buffett

  • Look for asymmetrical risk and reward.
  • You can hold a ballet, and that can be successful. You can hold a rock concert, and that can be successful. Just don’t hold a ballet, and advertise a rock concert.
  • You do not need IQ, you need emotional control.
  • Waiting to find your passion is like waiting till you are old to have sex.
  • You should take the high road in life because it’s less crowded.
  • The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
  • It’s not greed that makes the world go round but envy.
  • You can’t tell who is naked until the tide goes out.

Charlie Munger

  • It’s better to be roughly right, than precisely wrong.
  • Take a simple idea and take it seriously.
  • The big money is not in the buying and selling… but in the waiting.
  • Value is what you get, price is what you pay.
  • The best way to get a good spouse is to deserve one.
  • When politicians are talking they are lying, and when they are quiet they’re stealing
  • The fishing tackle manufacturer I knew had all these flashy green and purple lures. I asked, ‘Do fish take these?’ ‘Charlie’, he said, ‘I don’t sell these lures to fish.’
  • It’s a disaster if you don’t know the edge of your own competency.
  • No wise pilot, no matter how great his talent and experience, fails to use a checklist.
  • Only in fairy tales are emperors told they are naked.
  • If you stay rational yourself, the stupidity of the world helps you.
  • The ability to destroy your ideas rapidly instead of slowly when the occasion is right is one of the most valuable things. You have to work hard on it. Ask yourself what are the arguments on the other side. It’s bad to have an opinion you’re proud of if you can’t state the arguments for the other side better than your opponents. This is a great mental discipline.
  • Nobody survives open heart surgery better than the guy who doesn’t need it at all
  • I’m a great believer in solving hard problems by using a checklist. You need to get all the likely and unlikely answers before you; otherwise it’s easy to miss something important.
  • I invert: I try to figure out what I don’t like and try to avoid it. It’s worked wonders for me.
  • For many people it’s good that they’re extra busy. They’re not good thinkers, so you get more out of them if they just keep doing what they’re doing. But if you’re a person of good cognition, you can learn a lot more if you put your mind to it. I don’t think there’s any substitute for just sitting and thinking.
  • How can you best get what you want? The answer: Deserve what you want! How can it be any other way?
  • You have to learn all the big ideas in the key disciplines in a way that they’re in a mental latticework in your head and you automatically use them for the rest of your life. If you do that, I solemnly promise you that one day you’ll be walking down the street and you’ll look to your right and left and you’ll think “my heavenly days, I’m now one of the few competent people in my whole age cohort.” If you don’t do it, many of the brightest of you will live in the middle ranks or in the shallows
  • Rationality is a moral duty.
  • It’s not the bad ideas that do you in, it’s the good ideas. And you may say, ‘That can’t be so. That’s paradoxical. What Graham meant was that if a thing is a bad idea, it’s hard to overdo. But where there is a good idea with a core of essential and important truth, you can’t ignore it. And then it’s so easy to overdo it. So the good ideas are a wonderful way to suffer terribly if you overdo them.”

Misc

  • What a man wishes, that also will he believe. — Demosthenes
  • Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted —Einstein
  • A scientific idea should be as simple as possible, but no simpler — Einstein
  • It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. —Upton Sinclair
  • The battles were so ferocious because the stakes were so small —Kissinger
  • Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. — John Kenneth Galbraith
  • In the short run, the market is a voting machine. But in the long run, it is a weighing machine. — Ben Graham
  • Investment in most successful when it is most businesslike. — Ben Graham
  • Investors should purchase stocks like they purchase groceries, not like they purchase perfume. — Ben Graham
  • You are neither right or wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right. — Ben Graham
  • Whose bread I eat, his song I sing. — German aphorism
  • They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work — Soviet aphorism
  • I don’t care whether the cat is black or white, I care if it catches mice. — Communist aphorism
  • Volere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca. — Italian aphorism
  • Never fool yourself, and remember that you are the easiest person to fool. — Feynman
  • If you will not hear reason, she will surely rap your knuckles. — Ben Franklin
  • They that won’t be counseled, can’t be helped — Ben Franklin
  • You can’t be proud of your gifts, you can only be proud of your choices. —Jeff Bezos
  • I used a regret minimization framework. I knew at 80 I was going to regret trying this. I knew if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that. I would regret not having tried. —Jeff Bezos