The Best (Short) Quotes I Found This Decade
I think I read an entire Library of Congress-worth of information this past decade. No joke.
Thankfully, I took notes and have an extensive record of my favorite ideas from the various books, tweets, blog posts, and random papers & PDFs I read in the 2010's.
For the sake of saving you a decade-worth of reading, I've curated the most pithy, to-the-point quotes that resonated with me as I've worked through my most intense, volatile, and remarkable decade on Earth yet.
Hopefully, you find some wisdom in them. Or, better yet, I hope a few even spur you to action in the 2020's.
On vision & long-term thinking
"Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world." - Arthur Schopenhauer
"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho
On being yourself
"Escape competition through authenticity." - Naval Ravikant
"Belief in oneself and knowing who you are—that's the foundation of everything great." - Jay-Z
“In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts. They come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Be yourself so that the people looking for you can find you." - Arlan Hamilton
On thinking clearly
"I cannot remember a single first-formed hypothesis which had not after a time to be given up or greatly modified." - Charles Darwin
"Lying to ourselves disables us entirely from making needed changes." - Unknown source
“What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” - Warren Buffett
“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Day by day, and at the end of the day-if you live long enough-like most people, you will get out of life what you deserve.” - Charlie Munger
On evaluating others
"To understand someone's priorities, watch what they do between Friday at 5p and Monday at 8am." - Anthony Pompliano
On challenging ourselves and others
"The reason most people fail instead of succeed is they trade what they want most for what they want at the moment." - Napoleon Bonaparte
"I never learned from a man who agreed with me." - Robert A. Heinlein
"The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism." - Norman Vincent Peale
"You can’t learn if you think you already know." - Ryan Holiday
"If you want success, figure out the price then pay it." - Scott Adams
"If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse." - Unknown source
"I understand that there's a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed, smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid and outwit that guy." - Anthony Bourdain
"The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had had the guts." - Steven Pressfield
"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.” - Unknown source
"I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing." - Shonda Rhimes
On doing creative work
"...follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly." - Franz Kafka
"When you make music or write or create, it's really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you're writing about at the time." - Lady Gaga
"The most important factor in doing original work is to do it before the errands, not after." - Paul Graham
"You need to immediately take on the project that excites you the most, with no procrastination. Stop stewing in past imagined failures that prevent you from taking action in the present." - Neil Strauss
On work and careers
"You are doing what you love when you love to sweat the details." - Jason Lemkin
"Great opportunities rarely have 'great opportunity' in the subject line." - Scott Belsky
On how to live
"One of my definitions of happiness is working all day with the knowledge that I'll be seeing an interesting friend in the evening." - Christopher Hitchens
"Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action" - Benjamin Disraeli
On living with urgency
"If you wait until you're ready, you'll be waiting the rest of your life." - Shane Parrish
"Write to please yourself. When you write to please others, you write to please no one." - Ben Franklin
"This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read." - Winston Churchill
"The person who knows how will almost always report to the person that knows why." - Shane Parrish
On building character
“A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something.” - Bill Bernbach
“It’s better to be interested than interesting.” - Oprah Winfrey
"How you do this is how you do everything." - Haseeb Qureshi
"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." - Arthur Schopenhauer
Well, there you have it. 10 years-worth of pithy quotes.
Here's to discovering many new ideas and new thinkers this decade.
There’s so much to learn, so little time.