"Many politicians lay it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim."
Lord Thomas Babington MacCaulay
"We used to think that if we knew one, we knew two, because one and one are two. We are finding that we must learn a great deal more about 'and'."
Sir Arthur Eddington
"In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you."
US educator, philosopher
("How to Read a Book")
"In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them."
John von Neumann
"Somewhere on this globe, every ten seconds, there is a woman giving birth to a child. She must be found and stopped."
("In One Era And Out The Other")
"Success and failure are both greatly overrated. But failure gives you a whole lot more to talk about."
German actor, singer
"Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or obscurantist beliefs."
"One went to school, one wanted to act, one started to act, and one's still acting."
Dame Maggie Smith
"The real world is not easy to live in. It is rough; it is slippery. Without the most clear-eyed adjustments we fall and get crushed. A man must stay sober: not always, but most of the time."
"Assure a man that he has a soul and then frighten him with old wives' tales as to what is to become of him afterward, and you have hooked a fish, a mental slave."
("An American Tragedy")
"I really had little interest in becoming famous. When I write my book, it will be my guide to avoid becoming a rock star."
US keyboardist, saxophonist, singer
(brother of Johnny Winter)
"Our pain isn't as bad as you might think. Dead people don't suffer."
US pitcher (Boston Red Sox)
, on losing six games against the Yankees late in the 1978 season
"Each new generation is a fresh invasion of savages."
"It's been like a bad dream I never woke from."
US singer (Box Tops, Big Star)
, on fame
"A film is just like a muffin. You make it. You put it on the table. One person might say, 'Oh, I don't like it.' One might say it's the best muffin ever made. One might say it's an awful muffin. It's hard for me to say. It's for me to make the muffin."
"I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better."
A. J. Liebling
(was married to Jean Stafford)
"Microsoft isn't evil, they just make really crappy operating systems."
Finnish-US computer engineer
"It's nice to have an elephant in the room. There's nothing more helpful than something everybody's thinking about."
US comic (SNL), talk show host
"Had a discussion last night about the difference between comic and comedianmy opinionone says funny things, the other says things funny."
US comic, actor (Dick Van Dyke Show)
"It never pays to deal with the flyweights of the world. They take far too much pleasure in thwarting you at every turn."
("Y Is for Yesterday")