Dr. Johnson on adversity

Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.

—Samuel Johnson

David Mamet on what people say

People may or may not say what they mean . . . but they always say something designed to get what they want.

—David Mamet

San Martín on victory

Si hay victoria en vencer al enemigo, la hay más cuando el hombre se vence a si mismo.

[If there is victory in overcoming the enemy, there is a greater victory when a man overcomes himself.]

—José de San Martín

Quoted in the original, because the Spanish has a poetic grace and snap and style that does not come through in the translation. But then, generals and poets have more in common than the poets would care to admit.

Isak Dinesen on cures

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.

—Isak Dinesen

Terry Pratchett on success

The secret to success is to be yourself as hard as you can.

—Terry Pratchett

Barry Eisler on efficiency

Even a wagon with square wheels can be pushed, if there’s enough force behind it. I wouldn’t call that an argument for outfitting vehicles with square wheels.

Barry Eisler

Jonas Saul on words

Words are your paint. Use all the colors.

Jonas Saul

Thomas Sowell on honesty

When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.

—Thomas Sowell

David F. Maas on silence

Occasionally, silence is not golden but just plain yellow.

—David F. Maas

Russ Nelson on economics

The difference between an economist and a politician is that the economist is sure that he doesn’t understand economics, and a politician is sure that he does.

Russ Nelson