July 3, 2021


On Science

The art in scientific thinking is deciding which assumptions to make
— Gregory Mankiw

The whole of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking
— Albert Einstein

Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts
— Richard Feynman

Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them.
— Alfred North Whitehead

Stigler’s Law of Eponymy: No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer
— Stephen Stigler (who credits it to Robert K. Merton)

On Writing

There are no unique messages, only unique messengers
Jadah Sellner

One form of innovation is originality. Another form is synthesis. People often focus so much on being original that they overlook the value of synthesizing ideas from different sources. There’s a lot of value in connecting previously unconnected ideas.
James Clear

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.
Maya Angelou

On Life

Well-behaved women seldom make history
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

When a friend makes a mistake, the friend remains a friend, and the mistake remains a mistake
— Shimon Peres

Mistakes are expensive lessons you’ve already paid for
— Unknown

How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives
— Annie Dillard

It’s easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than think yourself into a new way of acting
— A.J. Jacobs

You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.
Richard Feynman

Start more books. Quit most of them. Read the great ones twice.
— James Clear

All models are wrong, but some are useful
George E. P. Box

On Productivity

Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable
Dwight D. Eisenhower

You can do anything but not everything
— David Allen

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things
— Peter Drucker

Hofstader’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.
— Douglas Hofstadter

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good
— (mangled) Voltaire

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
— Albert Einstein

If you never miss a plane, you’re spending too much time at the airport.
— George Stigler

I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter; I didn’t have time to write a short one
Blaise Pascal

One firm decision takes all the stress out of the thousands of smaller decisions you have to make every day
— Annie Grace

The Armstrong Principle: If you promise more than you can deliver, then you have an incentive to cheat.
— Andrew Gelman

On Economics

I am inclined to define economics as the study of how to anticipate unintended consequences
— Robert D. McTeer, Jr