Here are my favorite quotes from programmers, athletes, and revolutionary figures that inspire me or make me laugh. I hope you enjoy them!

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. -- George Bernard Shaw
"I discovered these common, self imposed restrictions are rather insidious, though they start out simple enough. We begin by worrying we aren’t good enough, smart enough or talented enough to get what we want, then we voluntarily live in this paralyzing mental framework, rather than confront our own role in this paralysis. Just the possibility of failing turns into a dutiful self-fulfilling prophecy. We begin to believe that these personal restrictions are, in fact, the fixed limitations of the world. We go on to live our lives, all the while wondering what we can change and how we can change it, and we calculate and re-calculate when we will be ready to do the thing s we want to do. And we dream. If only. If only. One day. Some day.

Every once in a while — often when we least expect it — we encounter someone more courageous, someone who choose to strive for that which (to us) seemed unrealistically unattainable, even elusive. And we marvel. We swoon. We gape. Often , we are in awe. I think we look at these people as lucky, when in fact, luck has nothing to do with it. It is really about the strength of their imagination; it is about how they constructed the possibilities for their Life. In short, unlike me, they didn’t determine what was impossible before it was even possible.

If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now." -- Debbie Millman


The only legitimate use of a computer is to play games. -- Eugene Jarvis
I may have invented Control-Alt-Delete, but Bill Gates made it famous. -- David Bradley, designer of the IBM PC


When you don't create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than your ability. Your tastes only narrow & exclude people. So create. -- _why


Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not understanding. Understanding is not wisdom. -- Clifford Stoll
Probably the biggest lie told in schools ... is that the way to succeed is through following "the rules." In fact most such rules are just hacks to manage large groups efficiently. -- Paul Graham
Public schools don’t fail to educate students. They succeed at dumbing them down. The true purpose of compulsory education is to make people childish, docile, conformist, obedient, and predictable – and to squash qualities like dissent, originality, leadership, and independence. -- Tom Finnigan


If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all. -- Jacob Hornberger
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself. -- Thomas Paine
Here is my advice as we begin the century that will lead to 2081. First, guard the freedom of ideas at all costs. Be alert that dictators have always played on the natural human tendency to blame others and to oversimplify. And don't regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with to free, public, unhampered expression. -- Gerard K. O'Neill
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. -- Edmund Burke
I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery. -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Terrorism is about magnifying one mediagenic act of violence into one hundred billion acts of terrorized authoritarian idiocy. -- Cory Doctorow
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The spirit of resistance to government, is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive. -- Thomas Jefferson

Free Software

Odious ideas are not entitled to hide from criticism behind the human shield of their believers' feelings. -- Richard Stallman
On the one hand, information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other. -- Stewart Brand


The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars -- Jack Kerouac


The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures. [...]

Yet the program construct, unlike the poet’s words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself. It prints results, draws pictures, produces sounds, moves arms. The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor could be.


Not all is delight, however […] One must perform perfectly. The computer resembles the magic of legend in this respect, too. If one character, one pause, of the incantation is not strictly in proper form, the magic doesn’t work. Human beings are not accustomed to being perfect, and few areas of human activity demand it.

-- Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month
Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place. So if you're as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it? -- Brian Kernighan
More computing sins are committed in the name of efficiency (without necessarily achieving it) than for any other single reason -- including blind stupidity. -- W.A. Wulf
[To a class of Stanford CS106B students] You should try opening up the C++ STL header files some time -- it will be a very eye-opening experience, sort of how looking directly at the Sun is a eye-opening --err, eye-closing experience. -- Keith Schwarz

Programming - Bug Stories

There was a computer that we shipped where the speaker’s magnet was right next to the hard drive. Now, when you played a sound, it caused the hard drive’s read/write head to misalign. So in the midst of playing your Quicktime movie, your computer would completely freeze because it played a sound. And I was like, “what kind of engineers do we have around here that would put a magnet right next to your computer’s hard drive?” "Jesus Christ… it’s just… it beeped, and it crashed." And then they wanted me — believe it or not, this is the solution — they wanted me to change the decibels of the speaker so that it wouldn’t interfere with the hard drive. I mean, you’re kidding me. That’s… Classic. Engineers are retarded. They have some kind of brain damage that allows them to not have social skills so they can concentrate long enough to write code. But it’s a disease. That’s why I had to quit. I’m like an engineer in recovery. I don’t want to write code anymore. It just makes you retarded. Get a girlfriend. Get a life. -- Jim Reekes from Welcome to Macintosh
[About the Motorola Droid camera auto-focus feature] "There's a rounding-error bug in the camera driver's autofocus routine (which uses a timestamp) that causes autofocus to behave poorly on a 24.5-day cycle. That is, it'll work for 24.5 days, then have poor performance for 24.5 days, then work again. The 17th is the start of a new "works correctly" cycle, so the devices will be fine for a while. A permanent fix is in the works. -- Google engineer, Dan Morrill


What I want is to be number one. -- Steve Prefontaine
Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it. -- Steve Prefontaine
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. -- Michael Jordan
At home I am a nice guy: but I don't want the world to know. Humble people, I've found, don't get very far. -- Muhammad Ali
The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare. -- Bobby Knight


Big companies want to decrease the standard deviation of design outcomes because they want to avoid disasters. But when you damp oscillations, you lose the high points as well as the low. This is not a problem for big companies, because they don't win by making great products. Big companies win by sucking less than other big companies. -- Paul Graham
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. -- Theodore Roosevelt
The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he is always doing both. -- Buddha


We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about? -- Henry David Thoreau


There never was a good war or a bad peace. -- Benjamin Franklin
Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich. -- Peter Ustinov
If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies. -- Moshe Dayan
Everyone's a pacifist between wars. It's like being a vegetarian between meals. -- Colman McCarthy
When goods don’t cross borders, armies will. -- Frederic Bastiat
Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages. -- Thomas Edison
Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one. -- John Lennon
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron. -- Dwight D. Eisenhower