Quotes of Note

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.  I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.  I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.  I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.’  I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.  I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.  I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.  I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.  I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.  People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.  I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.  I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

“ . . . Amazon seems out to control shopping in this country. This ultimately will have an effect on every grocery and department store chain and every big box store and ultimately put thousands of mom and pop stores out of business. It sounds like a monopoly to me. Amazon also wants to control bookselling, the book business and book publishing. That’s a national tragedy. If this is the new American way, it has to be changed by law if necessary.” – James Patterson, author and champion of independent bookstores speaking at the Celebration of Bookselling at Book Expo America recently.

“. . . it is possible that our reading, if so be we read wisely, may save us to a certain extent from some of the serious forms of trouble; or if we get into trouble, as we most certainly shall, may teach us how to come out of it decently.” – Rudyard Kipling

“Here is Proust.  Here is Jean Rhys.  Here is Milton.  Here isn’t Henry James because I have never been able to remember the beginning of his sentences by the time I get to the end.” – Linda Grant describing the books that are and aren’t on her bookshelves

“Once you put it down, you simply can’t pick it up.” – Mark Twain on a popular book by Henry James

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The quotes below come from The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Dr. Michio Kaku.  Dr. Kaku, a theoretical physicist, has the ability to make complex subjects accessible to ordinary people – much like Isaac Asimov.  In a chapter titled “Einstein’s Brain and Enhancing Our Intelligence,” Dr. Kaku discusses the role that delayed gratification can play in life achievement.

“A different approach was taken in 1972 by Dr. Walter Mischel, also of Stanford, who analyzed yet another characteristic among children: the ability to delay gratification.  He pioneered the use of the ‘marshmallow test’ that is, would children prefer one marshmallow now, or the prospect of two marshmallows twenty minutes later?  Six hundred children, aged four to six, participated in this experiment.  When Mischel revisited the participants in 1988, he found that those who could delay gratification were more competent than those who could not.

“In 1990 another study showed a direct correlation between those who could delay gratification and SAT scores.  And a study done in 2011 indicated that this characteristic continued throughout a person’s life.  The results of these and other studies were eye-opening.  The children who exhibited delayed gratification scored higher on almost every measure of success in life: higher-paying jobs, lower rates of drug addiction, higher test scores, higher educational attainment, better social integration, etc.

“Dr. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, concludes, ‘Your grades in school, your scores on the SAT, mean less for life success than your capacity to co-operate, your ability to regulate your emotions, your capacity to delay your gratification, and your capacity to focus your attention.  Those skills are far more important—all the data indicate—for life success than your IQ or your grades.’ ”

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“Read the classics.  The world is awash in bestsellers and frivolous nonfiction, but just as our bodies need physical exercise, so our brains need demanding books.  Set aside some part of the day for real reading.  Work your way through Plato; be touched by Cather’s A Lost Lady and shocked by Rousseau’s Confessions; feel the burning fever of Death in Venice; listen in on Samuel Johnson’s repartee, and marvel before One Hundred Years of Solitude.  Books, like great art and music and love, make us feel passionately alive.  And isn’t that what we all want?” – Michael Dirda, Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments

“I’ve stopped thinking all the time of what happened yesterday.  And stopped asking myself what’s going to happen tomorrow.  What’s happening today, this minute, that’s what I care about.  I say: ‘What are you doing at this moment, Zorba?’  I’m sleeping.’  ‘Well, sleep well.’  ‘What are you doing at this moment, Zorba?’  ‘I’m working.’  ‘Well, work well.’  ‘What are you doing at this moment, Zorba?’  ‘I’m kissing a woman.’  ‘Well, kiss her well, Zorba!  And forget all the rest while you are doing it; there’s nothing else on earth, only you and her!  Get on with it!’ ” – Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

“I fear the man of a single book.” – Thomas Aquinas

“Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – Albert Einstein

“In no art has the process of vulgarization gone so far as in fiction.  The novelist today dares not paint goodness or greatness; his upper limit is mediocrity; his lower is depravity, and he tends more and more to exploit the lower.” – William Roscoe Thayer (1859 – 1923), American author and editor

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