"The biggest leaps are almost always early in the development of a technology. For example, consider the change from superstition and folk remedies to the germ theory of disease. Even with all the medical advances since, what can compare to that leap?"
"You must remember that anyone under 30 — especially a ballplayer — is an adolescent,” he once told me. “I never got close to being an adult until I was 32. Even though I was married and had a son at 20, I was a kid at 32, living at home with my parents. Sure, I was a manager then. That doesn’t mean you’re grown up.
“Until you’re the person that other people fall back on, until you’re the one that’s leaned on, not the person doing the leaning, you’re not an adult. You reach an age when suddenly you realize you have to be that person. Divorce did it to me. It could be elderly parents, children . . . anything. But one day you realize, ‘It’s me. I’ve got to be the rock.’ "
"When I was a kid, I thought a lot about what made me different from the other kids. I don’t think I was smarter than them and I certainly wasn’t more talented. And I definitely can’t claim I was a harder worker — I’ve never worked particularly hard, I’ve always just tried doing things I find fun. Instead, what I concluded was that I was more curious — but not because I had been born that way. If you watch little kids, they are intensely curious, always exploring and trying to figure out how things work. The problem is that school drives all that curiosity out. Instead of letting you explore things for yourself, it tells you that you have to read these particular books and answer these particular questions. And if you try to do something else instead, you’ll get in trouble. Very few people’s curiosity can survive that. But, due to some accident, mine did. I kept being curious and just followed my curiosity."
"Third, love your users. If you build it, they won’t come. Building consumer web startups is absolutely not like building a car… It’s more like throwing a really awesome party. And nobody throws parties for people who they don’t love."
"I believe that they who wish to do easy things without trouble and toil must previously have been trained in more difficult things."
"Genius is an African who dreams up snow."
"Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines."
"One who believes all of a book would be better off without books"
"Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend."
Never before was there a quote that summed up my outlook on social relationships so precisely.
"You don’t understand something until you understand it more than one way."
"Objects are never humans to a computer, nor are they faces or bodies. It aims not for man as an object. The reason is simple: because the computer is this object in and of itself. Maybe this is why we do not cry at websites like we cry at the movies. Maybe it is why there is no “faciality” with the computer, why there is no concept of a celebrity star system (except ourselves), no characters or story (except our own), no notion of recognition and reversal, as Aristotle said of poetry. If the movie screen always directs toward, the computer screen always directs away. If at the movies you tilt your head back, with a computer you tilt in."
We feel an affinity with a certain thinker because we agree with him; or because he shows us what we were already thinking; or because he shows us in a more articulate form what we were already thinking; or because he shows us what we were on the point of thinking; or what we would sooner or later have thought; or what we would have thought much later if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have been likely to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have liked to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now.
—Lydia Davis, “Affinity”