“It is a safe rule to apply that, when a mathematical or philosophical author writes with a misty profundity, he is talking nonsense.”

-A.N. Whitehead

“That’s like asking me ‘if a frog was a number, would it be divisible?’”

-Tyler Burge

“To get an education, you’re probably going to have to fight against the institution that you find yourself in — no matter how prestigious it may be. (in fact, the more prestigious the school, the more you’ll probably have to push).”

-Mark Edmundsom

“You should bleed [when writing a thesis].”

-Mark Halpern

“One of the paradoxes of advice seems to be that those most likely to be asked for it are least likely to have taken anyone else’s.”

-Agnes Callard

“[She’s] not so pretty so as to be morally deformed by it.”

-Jonathan Franzen

“No, he is not tactful; yet, have you ever noticed that there are people who do things which are most indelicate, and yet at the same time—beautiful?”

-E.M. Forster

“All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”


“San Francisco was where the social hemorrhaging was showing up.”

-Joan Didion

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”

-Richard Feynman

“Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.”

-J.M. Keynes

“Compared to what?”

-Any economist

“Irony is the opiate of the elites”


“Turing thought the ‘code could be broken because it would be so interesting to break it.’”

-Sharon Bertsch Mcgrayne in The Theory that Would Not Die

“In the elder days of Art, Builders wrought with greatest care, Each minute and unseen part, for the Gods see everywhere”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I’m so dumb, I only know the truth.”

-Richard Feynman

“My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling somebody out.

-Joan Didion

“But none of us likes her boyfriend. He is not clever or serious or kind. Unfortunately, he is very handsome.”

-Elif Batuman in The Idiot.