Engineering Quotes


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Our list of Engineering-related quotes, for inspiration and reflection.

Updated: 2021-06-19

This list of quotations has been compiled through the continuous efforts of members of the lab to draw attention to the individuals, phrases, philosophies, and concepts from around the world and throughout history that serve to shape the thinking of engineers. Many of these quotes previously appeared, in regular rotation, on the projection screen above the door in the EDS; now you can enjoy them from wherever you are on earth.

There are innumerable existing lists of similar quotes; in particular, many of the quotes in the article 101 Engineering Quotes from the Minds of Innovators align well with the ethos of the Engineering Design Studio, and appear on our list, as well.

Note: Many of the quotes below have been altered to be gender-neutral. If you're seeking an original quote, please double-check and cross-reference with sources available.

"In the part of this universe that we know there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows which of those is the more annoying."

Bertrand Russell

"All that counts in life is intention."

Andrea Bocelli

"Doors, not Walls."

— Anonymous, 2015

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."

Henry David Thoreau

"The path to success in a fast-moving, highly competitive, technology-driven business world is to form high-performing teams and give them the resources and freedom to do great things."

Bill Campbell

"Leadership is about recognizing that there’s a greatness in everyone, and your job is to create an environment where that greatness can emerge."

Bill Campbell

"Your title makes you a manager. Your people will decide if you're a leader, and it's up to you to live up to that."

Bill Campbell

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Benjamin Franklin

"BHAG ('bee hag') (n.) — Big Hairy Audacious Goal. A a huge, seemingly-impossible, long-term objective that is easily understood and serves to inspire and rally stakeholders and outsiders alike during a process of transformation."

Jim Collins

"Perfect, not Flawless."

— Anonymous, 2016

"There is also no clothing policy at Netflix, but no one comes to work naked."

Patty McCord

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"There is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment."

John F. Kennedy

"Movement is not the same as forward motion."

— Anonymous

"A good engineer thinks in reverse and asks about the stylistic consequences of the components and systems being proposed."

Helmut Jahn

"First rule of engineering; beware prototypes. Along with, avoid anything made by an engineer who doesn't have all their own fingers"

Simon R. Green

"Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems."

Scott Adams

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"Any idiot can build a bridge that stands, but it takes an engineer to build a bridge that barely stands."

— Unknown

"When you want to know how things really work, study them when they're coming apart."

William Gibson

"I've never seen a job being done by a five-hundred-person engineering team that couldn’t be done better by fifty people."

C. Gordon Bell

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."

Douglas Adams

"Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it."

Sir Henry Royce

"Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet."

Scott Adams

"The trick to having good ideas is not to sit around in glorious isolation and try to think big thoughts. The trick is to get more parts on the table."

Steven Johnson

"Projects we have completed demonstrate what we know - future projects decide what we will learn."

Dr. Mohsin Tiwana

"I don't spend my time pontificating about high-concept things; I spend my time solving engineering and manufacturing problems."

Elon Musk

"A good scientist is a person with original ideas. A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few ideas as possible. There are no prima donnas in engineering."

Freeman Dyson

"To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be."

— Unknown

"What we usually consider as impossible are simply engineering problems. there’s no law of physics preventing them."

Michio Kaku

"Architects and engineers are among the most fortunate of humans since they build their own monuments with public consent, public approval and often public money."

John Prebble

"Engineering problems are under-defined, there are many solutions, good, bad and indifferent. The art is to arrive at a good solution. This is a creative activity, involving imagination, intuition and deliberate choice."

Ove Arup

"Engineers are not mere technicians and should not approve or lend their name to any project that does not promise to be beneficent to humankind and the advancement of civilization."

John Fowler

"I have not failed, but found 1,000 ways to not make a light bulb."

Thomas Edison

"One has to watch out for engineers - they begin with the sewing machine and end up with the atomic bomb."

Marcel Pagnol

"Engineering or technology is the making of things that did not previously exist, whereas science is the discovering of things that have long existed."

David Billington

"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong, it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair."

Douglas Adams

"When engineers and quantity surveyors discuss aesthetics and architects study what cranes do we are on the right road."

Ove Arup

"Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is engineering that changes the world."

Isaac Asimov

"No one wants to learn by mistakes, but we cannot learn enough from successes to go beyond the state of the art."

Henry Petroski

"The ideal engineer is a composite... not a scientist, not a mathematician, not a sociologist or a writer, but uses the knowledge and techniques of any or all of these disciplines in solving engineering problems."

N.W. Dougherty

"The engineer’s first problem in any design situation is to discover what the problem really is."

— Unknown

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

R. Buckminster Fuller

"Engineering stimulates the mind. Kids get bored easily. They have got to get out and get their hands dirty: make things, dismantle things, fix things. When the schools can offer that, you'll have an engineer for life."

Bruce Dickinson

"At that time (1909) the chief engineer was almost always the chief test pilot as well. That had the fortunate result of eliminating poor engineering early in aviation."

Igor Sikorsky

"One person's “magic” is another person's engineering. “Supernatural” is a null word."

Robert A. Heinlein

"When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."

R. Buckminster Fuller

"The world would be a better place if more engineers, like me, hated technology. The stuff I design, if I'm successful, nobody will ever notice. Things will just work, and be self-managing."

Radia Pearlman

"Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly."

Franz Kafka

"You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do."

David Foster Wallace

"But the upside of painful knowledge is so much greater than the downside of blissful ignorance."

Sheryl Sandberg

"Working on the wrong thing and not knowing it feels exactly like working on the right thing, up until the moment you realize it's not."

— Unknown

"Work on that which creates the world you want to live in"

— Anonymous

"...Henrik Fisker. He's a designer, so he's good at the styling of the cars, but he thinks it's all about styling, and it's not. The reason we don't have electric cars is not for lack of styling..."

Elon Musk

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."


"Ninjas over Tanks."

— Unknown

"Any person blaming tools for shoddy work is either unskilled at using them or has chosen them unwisely, or likely, both."

— Anonymous

"Unless specified in design documents, nails, superglue, and duct tape are not engineering materials."

— Anonymous

"As a university student, if you don't need to work to pay tuition, set the price of your time to Zero, not because it's worthless, but because it's too valuable to exchange or any amount of cash to work on anything except that which ignites your passions."

— Anonymous

"Free time and proximity to smart, motivated people. University students nearly always take these two super-powers for granted and, looking back, wonder how they could vanish so quickly after graduation."

— Anonymous

"You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant."

Harlan Ellison

"Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do. The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

Alan Kay

"Do robot citizens have the right to electricity?"

— Anonymous

"If robots are granted citizenship, under what conditions is it permissible for any entity other than themselves to execute an 'upgrade'?"

— Anonymous

"In the long-term, the universe rewards resilience over rigidity."

— Anonymous

"Do I need a blockchain?"

— No

"Pyr•rhic Vic•to•ry (n.) — A victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat."


"七転び八起き — Fall down seven times, get up eight."

Japanese Proverb

"猿も木から落ちる — Even monkeys fall from trees."

Japanese Proverb

"花より団子 — Dumplings over Flowers."

Japanese Proverb

"To argue with a fool is like lighting candles for the blind."

Pierre-Claude-Victor Boiste

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

W.B. Yeats

"This isn't my first Rodeo."

— Person at their Second Rodeo

"When they think that they know the answers, people are difficult to guide. When they know that they don't know, people can find their own way."

Lao Tze's Tao te Ching

"The fool doth think themself wise, but the wise indivual knows themself to be a fool."

Touchstone, As You Like It, V.1.2217

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is."

Benjamin Brewster

"Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of humankind."

Albert Einstein

"The reason that university politics is so vicious is because stakes are so small."

Henry Kissinger

"Design for Disassembly."

— Anonymous

"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision."

Bertrand Russell

"thra•shing (n.) — When an OS pages constantly, rapidly exchanging data in memory for data on disk, causing performance to degrade or collapse, ultimately blocking completion of any useful work until the underlying cause is addressed."


"Beware the fury of a patient human."

John Dryden

"People don't change. They just slowly reveal who they really are."

— Anonymous

"The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything — or nothing."

Nancy Astor

"Real education should educate us out of self into something far finer into a selflessness which links us with all humanity."

Nancy Astor

"It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."

Paulo Coelho

"You can't think seriously about thinking without thinking about thinking about something."

Seymour Papert

"In any dispute, the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake."

Sayre's Law

"In what moment or at what percentage does the ship stop being the same ship and become something else?"

Ship of Theseus

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."

Stephen Hawking

"What you think is the point is not the point at all but only the beginning of the sharpness."

Flann O'Brien

"Au•to•di•dac•ti•cis•m (n.) — The art of self-education without the guidance of masters or institutions."


"wit•zel•sucht (n. German) — Excessive and abnormal joviality with morbid tendency to pun, make poor jokes, and tell pointless stories."


"When I walk into the Engineering Design Studio, I'm instantly inspired and want to know what's going on here."

Kid Koala, 2017

"During dark times, real entrepreneurs come out. They are not competing with 10 look-alike companies for engineering talent, so it's a great time to invest and help build companies."

Douglas Leone

"Write your values in pen, your tactics and strategies in pencil."

Douglas Leone

"If a sign is not necessary, then it is meaningless."

Ludwig Wittgenstein (on Occam's Razor)

"Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes."

Goodhart's Law

"When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

Marilyn Strathern (on Goodhart's Law)

"The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor."

Campbell's Law

"Incentives designed to solve a problem may end up rewarding people for making it worse."

Cobra Effect (Horst Siebert)

"No loophole goes unexpoited."

— Unknown

"Critical thinking is an active and ongoing process. It requires that we all think like Bayesians, updating our knowledge as new information comes in."

Daniel J. Levitin

"Under Bayes' theorem, no theory is perfect. Rather, it is a work in progress, always subject to further refinement and testing."

Nate Silver

"By using Bayes' theorem, we are forced to look at all data and update our hypothesis with new evidence."

Dan Morris

"A 22nd-order all-pass filter is, technically, a filter."

— Anonymous

"Evaluating candidates using only numeric metrics, discounting non-quantifiable factors and attributes, may ultimately ignore the factors most relevant to the applicant's success in the position."

McNamara Fallacy (on Admissions)

"A police officer sees someone searching under a streetlight and asks what's been lost. 'My keys.' The officer helps search for a few minutes then to the question, "Are you sure they're here?' receives the reply, 'no, I lost them in the park.' The officer asks, "why are you searching here, then?" The person responds, 'this is where the light is'."

Streetlight effect

"How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?"

Plato (The Allegory of the Cave)

"When you take away verisimilitude, you do not automatically find the veridical but, perhaps, the implausible."

Jean Baudrillard

"I can't shake the feeling that all these conspiracy theorists are in on it."

Wynne McLaughlin

"Conspiracy theories are the refuge of the disempowered."

Roger Cohen

"Human beings, thanks to culture and genetics, are inclined to be pessimistic, fearful, skeptical and believers in conspiracy theories."

Seth Godin

"Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labor-saving device in the face of complexity."

Henry Louis Gates

"When things begin accelerating wildly out of control, sometimes patience is the only answer. Press pause."

Douglas Rushkoff

"I think the only way to behave is as if nothing is private. And then fight to make what you care about legal and acceptable."

Douglas Rushkoff

"The industrial age was not about craftspeople trading peer to peer. It was about stopping that. You weren't supposed to be a craftsperson, you were supposed to be an employee."

Douglas Rushkoff

"Why is there no Flat Mars Society!?"

Elon Musk

"History is much more the product of chaos than of conspiracy."

Zbigniew Brzezinski

"You simply cannot invent any conspiracy theory so ridiculous and obviously satirical that some people somewhere don't already believe it."

Robert Anton Wilson

" optimistic mind-set finds dozens of possible solutions for every problem that the pessimist regards as incurable."

Robert Anton Wilson

"We all see only that which we are trained to see."

Robert Anton Wilson

"In conclusion, there is no conclusion. Things will go on as they always have, getting weirder all the time."

Robert Anton Wilson

"Don't let the bastards grind you down."

Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."

Margaret Atwood (Bluebeard's Egg)

"Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results."

Margaret Atwood (Surfacing)

"A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze."

Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)

"If we were all on trial for our thoughts, we would all be hanged."

Margaret Atwood (Alias Grace)

"The best way of keeping a secret is to pretend there isn't one."

Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)

"Potential has a shelf life."

Margaret Atwood (Cat's Eye)

"Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations."

Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)

"We yearned for the future. How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability?"

Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)

"If you put a frog in boiling water, it'll jump straight out. If you put it in cold water and gradually bring it to the boil, it'll sit right there until it dies."

John Niven

"A situation where a series of small, individually rational decisions can negatively change the context of subsequent choices, even to the point where desired alternatives are irreversibly destroyed."

Alfred E. Kahn (Tyranny of Small Decisions)

"The range of policies that a politician can recommend without appearing too extreme to gain or keep public office given the climate of public opinion at that time."

Overton Window

"An aggressor can influence and eventually dominate a landscape, typically political, piece by piece. In this fashion, the opposition is eliminated 'slice by slice' until it realizes, usually too late, that it is virtually gone in its entirety."

Salami Tactics

"1,000,000 grains of sand is a heap. A heap minus one grain is still a heap. At what point is the heap no longer a heap?"

Sorites Paradox

"I made choices, and then, having made them, I had fewer choices."

Margaret Atwood (The Testaments)

"I hope that people will finally come to realize that there is only one 'race' - the human race - and that we are all members of it."

Margaret Atwood

"You may not be able to alter reality, but you can alter your attitude towards it, and this, paradoxically, alters reality."

Margaret Atwood

"Work expands to fill the time available for completion."

Parkinson's Law

"In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence."

The Peter Principle

"There is no fool like an educated fool."

Margaret Atwood

"Every utopia faces the same problem: What do you do with the people who don't fit in?"

Margaret Atwood

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."


"Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom."

Clifford Stoll

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

Lao Tzu

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."

Lao Tzu

"A leader is best when people barely know they exists, when their work is done, their aim fulfilled, the people will say: we did it ourselves."

Lao Tzu

"A good leader takes a little more than their share of the blame, a little less than their share of the credit."

Arnold H. Glasow

"I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."

Alexander the Great

"They who know, do not speak. They who speak, do not know."

Lao Tzu

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."

Lao Tzu

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

Winston Churchill

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."


"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Mark Twain

"Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your way down."

Wilson Mizner

"A certain amount of opposition is a great help. Kites rise against, not with, the wind."

Lewis Mumford

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Arthur C. Clarke

"Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road."

Stewart Brand

"Information wants to be free."

Stewart Brand

"Function reforms form, perpetually."

Stewart Brand (How Buildings Learn)

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

Stewart Brand

"Everything looks like a failure in the middle."

Stewart Brand

"Imagine a world in which time seems to vanish and space becomes completely malleable. Where the gap between need or desire and fulfillment collapses to zero."

Stewart Brand (The Clock of the Long Now)

"Reinventing beats inventing nearly every time."

Stewart Brand (The Clock of the Long Now)

"To change is to lose identity; yet to change is to be alive."

Stewart Brand (How Buildings Learn)

"Science fiction is not about the freedom of imagination. It's about a free imagination pinched and howling in a vise that other people call real life."

Bruce Sterling (Shaping Things)

"I am not ranting. I possess a perspective here that you people, who are locked in the ivory basements of your own sub-cultures, simply do not possess."

Bruce Sterling (Distraction)

"The ruins of the unsustainable are the 21st century’s frontier."

Bruce Sterling

"If you don’t have a sense of wonder it’s like you’re dead inside. But your sense of wonder can be used to trick you. You can have a sense of wonder over a thing that’s basically a conjurer’s trick, or a con job, or a rip-off."

Bruce Sterling

"Since the Internet of Things is built on silicon, on the tremendous instability of modern electronics, it’s built on literal sand."

Bruce Sterling (The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things)

"I don't think there's much distinction between surveillance and media in general. Better media means better surveillance."

Bruce Sterling

"Don't become a well rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person."

Bruce Sterling

"The internet brought many laudable things, but prosperity, stability, accountability and honest politics were not four of them."

Bruce Sterling

"When you can’t imagine how things are going to change, that doesn’t mean that nothing will change. It means that things will change in ways that are unimaginable."

Bruce Sterling

"Tomorrow composts today."

Bruce Sterling

"Information wants you to give me a dollar."

Bruce Sterling

"My dream appliance circa 2050 has one big dial on it, and when I twist it to the right, my IQ goes up to 450."

Bruce Sterling

"Everybody has a different Internet."

Bruce Sterling

"It's a truism in technological development that no silver lining comes without its cloud."

Bruce Sterling

"A hacker is someone who enjoys playful cleverness, not necessarily with computers."

Richard Stallman

"A hacker does for love what others would not do for money."

Laura Creighton

"Hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done."

Mark Zuckerberg

"Flying down a tunnel of 1s and 0s is not how hacking is really done."

Walter O'Brien

"Hacking involves a different way of looking at problems that no one's thought of."

Walter O'Brien

"A hacker to me is someone creative who does wonderful things."

Tim Berners-Lee

"We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges."

Tim Berners-Lee

"The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past."

Tim Berners-Lee

"Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves."

Tim Berners-Lee

"There was a time when people felt the internet was another world, but now people realise it's a tool that we use in this world."

Tim Berners-Lee

"Any good software engineer will tell you that a compiler and an interpreter are interchangeable."

Tim Berners-Lee

"We can't blame the technology when we make mistakes."

Tim Berners-Lee

"Innovation is serendipity, so you don't know what people will make."

Tim Berners-Lee

"When you understand things, there's no more magic."

Tim Berners-Lee

"I invented the web just because I needed it really because it was so frustrating that it didn't exist."

Tim Berners-Lee

"One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don't."

Tim Berners-Lee

"Acceptance is the spiritual hammock."

Tim Berners-Lee

"The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing."

Douglas Engelbart

"These days, the problem isn't how to innovate; it's how to get society to adopt the good ideas that already exist."

Douglas Engelbart

"The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment they can tolerate."

Douglas Engelbart

"The key thing about all the world's big problems is that they have to be dealt with collectively. If we don't get collectively smarter, we're doomed."

Douglas Engelbart

"In 20 or 30 years, you'll be able to hold in your hand as much computing knowledge as exists now in the whole city, or even the whole world."

Douglas Engelbart

"There will be two types of businesses in the next 5 years, those that are on the Internet, and those that are out of business."

Bill Gates

"The computer was born to solve problems that did not exist before."

Bill Gates

"I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it."

Bill Gates

"Vision without execution is daydreaming."

Bill Gates

"You need to understand things in order to invent beyond them."

Bill Gates

"One of the advantages of moving quickly is if you do something wrong you can change it."

Marc Andreessen

"There is the opportunity to do more and better if you're smaller and more nimble."

Marc Andreessen

"The 2 hardest things you'll have to do when running a company are recruiting and talking people out of leaving."

Marc Andreessen

"Start-ups should be based on radical ideas. There should be a high failure rate for start-ups, because if there isn't their ideas aren't bold enough."

Marc Andreessen

"If you're the village blacksmith and a model T comes along, you better become a mechanic. People's lives are better when they get news online versus having to wait for the morning paper. It's a lot more efficient, a lot more real time, a lot less waste."

Marc Andreessen

"Almost every dot-com idea from 1999 that failed will succeed."

Marc Andreessen

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window."

Steve Wozniak

"If you love what you do and are willing to do what it takes, it's within your reach."

Steve Wozniak

"Most inventors and engineers I've met are like me. They're shy and they live in their heads. The very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone."

Steve Wozniak

"Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked."

Steve Wozniak

"I don't believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee... I'm going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone... Not on a committee. Not on a team."

Steve Wozniak

"If you try to make such projects, unseen by others, as perfect as any human could, you'll develop skills that other professionals don't have."

Steve Wozniak

"A lot of hacking is playing with other people, you know, getting them to do strange things."

Steve Wozniak

"I think that the anti-Microsoft sentiment is simply due to their having been so successful selling a lot of crap."

Steve Wozniak

"You need the kind of objectivity that makes you forget everything you've heard, clear the table, and do a factual study like a scientist would."

Steve Wozniak

"I think we're just going to have to live with the microcosm in the electronic world of the kind of things that we might see in the physical world."

Robert E. Kahn

"New capabilities emerge just by virtue of having smart people with access to state-of-the-art technology."

Robert E. Kahn

"Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves."

Aaron Swartz

"Think deeply about things. Don’t just go along because that’s the way things are or that’s what your friends say. Consider the effects, consider the alternatives, but most importantly, just think."

Aaron Swartz

"No, you can’t force other people to change. You can, however, change just about everything else. And usually, that’s enough."

Aaron Swartz

"One essential object is to choose that arrangement which shall tend to reduce to a minimum the time necessary for completing the calculation."

Ada Lovelace

"People developed planes first and then took care of flight safety. If people were focused on safety first, no one would ever have built a plane."

Mark Zuckerberg

"If you give a hacker a new toy, the first thing he'll do is take it apart to figure out how it works."

Jamie Zawinski

"Linux is only free if your time has no value."

Jamie Zawinski

"Playfully doing something difficult, whether useful or not, that is hacking."

Richard Stallman

"Premature optimization is the root of all evil."

Donald Knuth

"Computers are good at following instructions, but not at reading your mind."

Donald Knuth

"Programs are meant to be read by humans and only incidentally for computers to execute."

Donald Knuth

"Always remember, however, that there’s usually a simpler and better way to do something than the first way that pops into your head."

Donald Knuth

"Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do."

Donald Knuth

"Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it."

Donald Knuth

"Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration."

Donald Knuth

"An algorithm must be seen to be believed."

Donald Knuth

"Random numbers should not be generated with a method chosen at random."

Donald Knuth

"If you optimize everything, you will always be unhappy."

Donald Knuth

"It is much more rewarding to do more with less."

Donald Knuth

"I have a hunch that the unknown sequences of DNA will decode into copyright notices and patent protections."

Donald Knuth

"The enjoyment of one's tools is an essential ingredient of successful work."

Donald Knuth

"Trees sprout up just about everywhere in computer science."

Donald Knuth

"TeX has found at least one bug in every Pascal compiler it's been run on, I think, and at least two in every C compiler."

Donald Knuth

"I decry the current tendency to seek patents on algorithms. There are better ways to earn a living than to prevent other people from making use of one's contributions to computer science."

Donald Knuth

"The designer of a new kind of system must participate fully in the implementation."

Donald Knuth

"The sun comes up just about as often as it goes down, in the long run, but this doesn't make its motion random."

Donald Knuth

"I've never been a good estimator of how long things are going to take."

Donald Knuth

"I define UNIX as 30 definitions of regular expressions living under one roof."

Donald Knuth

"The past may not hurt you, but it won't challenge you, either."

Brad Meltzer

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always."

Brad Meltzer

"You can’t argue with facts. You’re not entitled to your own facts."

Steven Levy

"At the core of Silicon Valley is a passion for ‘yes.'"

Steven Levy

"When you’re in a hole, stop digging."

Steven Levy

"Every problem has a better solution when you start thinking about it differently than the normal way."

Steven Levy

"Systems are organic, living creations: if people stop working on them and improving them, they die."

Steven Levy (Hackers)

"We designed Google to be the kind of place where the kind of people we wanted to work here would work for free."

Urs Hölzle

"Running a startup is like being punched in the face repeatedly, but working for a large company is like being waterboarded."

Paul Graham

"One of the less publicized benefits of the open source movement is that it has made it easier to learn to program."

Paul Graham

"The way to create something beautiful is often to make subtle tweaks to something that already exists, or to combine existing ideas in a slightly new way. This kind of work is hard to convey in a research paper."

Paul Graham

"Keep your identity small."

Paul Graham

"The stated purpose of schools is to educate the kids. But there is no external pressure to do this well."

Paul Graham

"If you’re trying to choose between two theories and one gives you an excuse for being lazy, the other one is probably right."

Paul Graham

"It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower."

Paul Graham

"When you’re forced to be simple, you’re forced to face the real problem. When you can’t deliver ornamentation, you have to deliver substance."

Paul Graham

"In a big company, you can do what all the other big companies are doing. But a startup can’t do what all the other startups do."

Paul Graham

"It is no accident that Silicon Valley is in America... In other countries, people color inside the lines."

Paul Graham

"There are few sources of energy so powerful as a procrastinating college student."

Paul Graham

"The easy, conversational tone of good writing comes only on the eighth rewrite."

Paul Graham

"For the most ambitious young people, the corporate ladder is obsolete."

Paul Graham

"You know your business model is broken when you're suing your customers."

Paul Graham

"There are plenty of smart people who get nowhere."

Paul Graham

"The imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of humans."

Richard Feynman

"Being strong-willed is not enough, however. You also have to be hard on yourself. Someone who was strong-willed but self-indulgent would not be called determined. Determination implies your willfulness is balanced by discipline."

Paul Graham

"At every period of history, people have believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you risked ostracism or even violence by saying otherwise. If our own time were any different, that would be remarkable. As far as I can tell it isn't."

Paul Graham

"The main reason nerds are unpopular is that they have other things to think about."

Paul Graham (Hackers and Painters)

"The recipe for great work is: very exacting taste, plus the ability to gratify it."

Paul Graham (Hackers and Painters)

"if you can imagine someone surpassing you, you should do it yourself."

Paul Graham (Hackers and Painters)

"I did write some code in Java once ...the island in Indonesia."

Richard Stallman

"The Linux philosophy is ‘Laugh in the face of danger’. Oops. Wrong One. ‘Do it yourself’."

Linus Torvalds

"Any program is only as good as it is useful."

Linus Torvalds

"The memory management on the PowerPC can be used to frighten small children."

Linus Torvalds

"Hey, I’m a good software engineer, but I’m not exactly known for my fashion sense."

Linus Torvalds

"Excusing bad programming is a shooting offence, no matter what the circumstances."

Linus Torvalds

"Backups are for wimps. Real men upload their data to an FTP site and have everyone else mirror it."

Linus Torvalds

"Talk is cheap. Show me the code."

Linus Torvalds

"Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done."

Linus Torvalds

"All operating systems sucks, but Linux just sucks less."

Linus Torvalds

"Theory and practice sometimes clash. And when that happens, theory loses. Every single time."

Linus Torvalds

"Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow."

Linus Torvalds

"We can influence the future but not see it."

Stewart Brand

"Do what's good for humans, modeled on how humans already do things; ignore what's convenient for computers."

Stewart Brand

"Dare to be naïve."

R. Buckminster Fuller

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."

R. Buckminster Fuller

"Humans beings always do the most intelligent thing ...after they’ve tried every stupid alternative and none of them have worked."

R. Buckminster Fuller

"The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it's a different kind of life. "

R. Buckminster Fuller

"I am a passenger on the spaceship Earth."

R. Buckminster Fuller

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

R. Buckminster Fuller

"A problem adequately stated is a problem well on its way to being solved."

R. Buckminster Fuller

"A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist."

R. Buckminster Fuller

"Technology is anything that wasn't around when you were born."

Alan Kay

"In the old days, you would chastise people for reinventing the wheel. Now we beg, 'Oh, please, please reinvent the wheel.'"

Alan Kay

"Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant."

Mitch Kapor

"Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other."

Carrie Snow

"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary humans. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary human."

Elbert Hubbard

"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time."

Leonard Bernstein

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."

William Shakespeare

"Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion."

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it."


"Judge a person by their questions rather than their answers."


"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought."

Matsuo Basho

"None so deaf as those that will not hear. None so blind as those that will not see."

Matthew Henry

"Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort."

John Ruskin

"Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire."


"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."


"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

Nelson Mandela

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."

Malcolm Forbes

"Utopia means elsewhere."

John Malkovich

"Leap, and the net will appear."

John Burroughs

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."

Samuel Beckett

"Our problem right now is that we're so specialized that if the lights go out, there are a huge number of people who are not going to know what to do."

Margaret Atwood

"I think the most important thing we can teach our kids for their long-term health and happiness is how to cook."

Michael Pollan

"Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."

Michael Pollan

"You're only as young as the last time you changed your mind."

Timothy Leary

"You cannot use butterfly language to communicate with caterpillars"

Timothy Leary

"My favorite three words in the English language are: ’I don’t know’, because every time I say them, I learn something new."

Timothy Leary

"Take responsibility for making your own life beautiful."

Timothy Leary

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance."

Alan Watts

"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone."

Alan Watts

"Life is not a problem to be solved, but an experience to be had."

Alan Watts

"The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill."

Robert Anton Wilson

"Most of our ancestors were not perfect ladies and gentlemen. The majority of them weren't even mammals."

Robert Anton Wilson

"We live in our fantasies and endure our realities."

Robert Anton Wilson

"Of course I'm crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong."

Robert Anton Wilson

"Only the madman is absolutely sure."

Robert Anton Wilson

"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."

Murphy's Law

"If you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written."

Muphry's Law

"Any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself."

Skitt's Law

"Anything that can go wrong, will — and at the worst possible moment."

Finagle's Corollary to Murphy's Law

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Hanlon's Razor

"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

Arthur C. Clarke

"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, they are almost certainly right. When they state that something is impossible, they are very probably wrong."

Arthur C. Clarke

"Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Larry Niven (Niven's Laws)

"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."

Hitchens's Razor

"That is not only not right; it is not even wrong."

Wolfgang Pauli

"It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."

Hofstadter's Law

"The longer a period something has survived to exist or be used in the present, the more likely it is to have a longer remaining life expectancy."

Lindy Effect

"The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time."

90-90 Rule (Tom Cargill, Bell Labs)

"SMOP (smop) n. — Something quite possible, but requiring unavailable resources to achieve. 'Why isn't that function available in the program?' − 'It's just a Simple Matter Of Programming'"

IBM Jargon Dictionary

"Everything not forbidden is compulsory."

Totalitarian Principle (Quantum Mechanics)

"We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run."

Amara's Law

"Any software that can be written in JavaScript will eventually be written in JavaScript."

Atwood's Law

"U.S. Department of Energy class 5 Cost Estimate, 50% error margin: PIDOOMA"


"A movie must have at least two women in it; who talk to each other; about something other than a man."

Bechdel Test

"A cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space."

Overview Effect

"What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult."

Sigmund Freud

"Only feeble minds are paralyzed by facts."

Arthur C. Clarke

"Superstition is the religion of feeble minds."

Edmund Burke

"Teaching is the last refuge of feeble minds with a classical education."

Aldous Huxley

"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

Ray Bradbury

"Sometimes you just have to jump out the window and grow wings on the way down."

Ray Bradbury

"I’ve learned that by doing things, things get done."

Ray Bradbury

"Anything you dream is fiction, and anything you accomplish is science, the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction."

Ray Bradbury

"People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it. Predicting the future is much too easy, anyway. You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better."

Ray Bradbury

"Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage."

Ray Bradbury

"I don't need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me."

Ray Bradbury

"If you learn only methods, you'll be tied to your methods, but if you learn principles you can devise your own methods."

Ray Bradbury

"I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room."

Ray Bradbury

"Good, to evil, seems evil"

Ray Bradbury

"Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I'm borrowing energy from the ideas themselves."

Ray Bradbury

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it."

George Orwell

"However much you deny the truth, the truth goes on existing."

George Orwell

"We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it."

George Orwell

"The real test of character is how you treat someone who has no possibility of doing you any good."

George Orwell

"It's not so much staying alive, it's staying human that's important. What counts is that we don't betray each other."

George Orwell

"All cats are equal, but some cats are more equal than others."

— streetCat

"...fact takes no heed of human hopes."

H.G. Wells

"Losing your way on a journey is unfortunate. But, losing your reason for the journey is a fate more cruel."

H.G. Wells

"What really matters is what you do with what you have."

H.G. Wells

"pronoia (n.) — the suspicion that the Universe is conspiring on your behalf. (antonym: paranoia)"


"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together."

Desmond Tutu

"It isn’t where you come from; it’s where you’re going that counts."

Ella Fitzgerald

"Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations."

Dr. Mae Jemison

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles one has overcome while trying to succeed."

Booker T. Washington

"I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go."

Langston Hughes

"Science is not a boy's game, it's not a girl's game. It's everyone's game. It's about where we are and where we're going."

Nichelle Nichols

"A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things."

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

"The most damaging phrase in the language is: 'It's always been done that way.'"

Grace Hopper

"One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions."

Grace Hopper

"It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."

Grace Hopper

"Manage things. Lead people."

Grace Hopper

"If one ox could not do the job they did not try to grow a bigger ox, but used two oxen. When we need greater computer power, the answer is not to get a bigger computer, but to build systems of computers and operate them in parallel."

Grace Hopper

"A person who chases two rabbits at once will catch none."

German Idiom

"Computing is too important to be left to men."

Karen Spärck Jones

"I retired from modelling a long time ago. It’s time I retired from tech, too."

Lena Forsén (Miss November 1972)

"We, in the modern world, expect that tomorrow will be better than today."

James Burke (Day the Universe Changed)

"When presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions."

Occam's Razor (Law of parsimony)

"When test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they both lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways."

Donald T. Campbell (Campbell's Law on testing)

"Offer a financial reward for each exterminated poisonous snake, and eventually, enterprising individuals will begin breeding snakes."

Cobra Effect

"Judge a model not by its explanatory power but by its predictive power."

Soichiro Hattori

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Martin Rees

"The letter box is always on the other side of the road"

Gamble's Law

"If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the FIRST to go wrong"

— Murphy's Law of Complex Systems

"Everything goes wrong all at once."

— Quantum Interpretation of Murphy's Law

"The legibility of a copy is inversely proportional to its importance."

— Murphy's Law of Photocopies

"A shatterproof object will always fall on the only surface hard enough to crack or break it."

— Murphy's Law of Selective Gravitation

"You will always find something in the last place you look."

— Murphy's Law of Lost Items

"When a broken appliance is demonstrated for the repair technician, it will work perfectly."

— Murphy's Law of Appliances

"Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed."

— Murphy's Law of Fans

"No matter how hard you try, you cannot push a string."

— Unknown

"The probability of being observed is in direct proportion to the stupidity of ones actions."

Crespins Law of Observation

"You can do anything except light a paper match on a marshmallow under water"

— Murphy's Law of Positivity

"Paper is always strongest at the perforation."

— Murphy's Law of Paper

"Knowing Murphy's Law doesn't help."

Murphy's Metalaw

"Trust only those who stand to lose as much as you."

Bralek's Rule for Success

"A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost."

— Unknown

"The remaining work increases as the deadline approaches."

— Unknown

"It is never wise to let a piece of electronic equipment know that you are in a hurry."

— Unknown

"Measurements will be quoted in the least practical unit; velocity, for example, will be measured in 'furlongs-per-fortnight'."

— Murphy's Law of Units

"Any wire cut to length will be too short."

— Murphy's Law of Wire

"A person with a watch knows what time it is. A person with two watches is never sure."

Segal's Law

"Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget."

Cheops' Law

"If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off."

Chekhov's Gun

"Adding more humans to an already late software project makes it even later."

Brooks's Law

"The amount of energy needed to refute bullsht on the internet is an order of magnitude larger than that required to produce it."*

Brandolini's Law

"Without a clear indicator of the author's intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views such that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the views being parodied."

Poe's Law

"There are exponentially diminishing returns of extending a library search."

Bradford's Law

"Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available."

Benford's Law of Controversy

"Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can."

Zawinski's Law

"Some people, when confronted with a problem, think 'I know, I'll use regular expressions.' Now they have two problems."

Jamie Zawinski

"The speed of software halves every 18 months."

Gates's Law

"Software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware is becoming faster."

Wirth's Law

"Human communications usually fail, except by accident."

Wiio's Laws

"The more unusual or interesting the data, the more likely they are to have been the result of an error."

Twyman's Law

"zebra (n.) — a surprising, often exotic, medical diagnosis when a more commonplace explanation is more likely."

American Medical Slang

"A patient can have as many diseases as they damn well please."

Hickam's Dictum

"An attempt to hide, remove, or censor information will have the opposite and unintended consequence of further publicizing that information."

Streisand Effect

"No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer."

Stigler's Law of Eponymy (originally discovered by Robert K. Merton)

"Whenever a major organization develops a new system as an official standard for X, the primary result is the widespread adoption of some simpler system as a de facto standard for X."

Sowa's Law of Standards

"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system."

Gall's Law

"Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution."

Shirky Principle

"Anyone can create an algorithm that they themselves can't imagine how to break. What is hard is creating an algorithm that no one else can break."

Bruce Schneier

"Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence (ECREE)"

Sagan Standard

"Technology is dominated by two types of people, those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand."

Putt's Law

"An individual will be more motivated to perform a particular activity if they know they will partake in a more desirable activity as a consequence."

Premack's Principle

"In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals that the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely."

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy

"All complex organizations, regardless of how democratic they are when started, eventually develop into oligarchies."

Michels's Iron Law of Oligarchy

"Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others."

Postel's Law (TCP Protocol)

"When safety measures are implemented, people’s perception of risk decreases, and so people may feel that they can now afford to make riskier decisions."

The Peltzman Effect

"The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved."

Parkinson's Law of Triviality

"The bulk of discussion on programming language design centers on syntax, as opposed to semantics."

Wadler's Law

"Some of the most crucial steps in mental growth are based not simply on acquiring new skills, but on acquiring new administrative ways to use what one already knows."

Papert's principle

"The pursuit of balance can create imbalance because sometimes something is true."

Okrent's Law

"An information retrieval system will tend not to be used whenever it is more painful and troublesome for a customer to have information than for him not to have it."

Mooers's Law

"Mooers's Law tells us that information will be used in direct proportion to how easy it is to obtain."

Roger K. Summit

"In order to understand what someone is telling you, it is necessary for you to assume the person is being truthful, then imagine what could be true about it."

Miller's Law

"Predictions about future technology will fall within the Maes–Garreau point, the latest possible date that a prediction could both come true and still feasibly happen within the lifetime of the person making it."

Maes–Garreau Law

"During the 8 hours a human is awake and alert, they will experience one "event" per second, which may be either exceptional or unexceptional. In 35 days, they will experience about one million events. Therefore, expect one-in-a-million events at a rate of about once a month. "

Littlewood's Law

"No one reads; if someone does read, they don’t understand; if they understand, they immediately forget."

Lem's Law

"Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral."

Kranzberg's Laws of Technology

"No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else."

Joy's Law

"It's better to create an ecology that gets all the world’s smartest people toiling in your garden for your goals. If you rely solely on your own employees, you’ll never solve all your customers' needs."

Bill Joy

"When smashing monuments, save the pedestals. They always come in handy."

Stanislaw Lem

"Improvement means deterioration. (a stated improvement often actually hides a deterioration)"

Hutber's law

"One's ability to perform a normally automatic or unconscious activity is impaired when disrupted by becoming conscious of it or reflecting on it."

Humphrey's Law

"Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of half of Common Lisp."

Greenspun's Tenth Rule

"As an online debate increases in length, it becomes inevitable that someone will eventually compare someone or something to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis."

Godwin's Law

"For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD."

Gibson's Law on Expert Witnesses

"The cost of developing a new drug roughly doubles every nine years."

erooM's Law

"The intrinsic rate of human performance is exponential."

Engelbart's Law

"The number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar."

Dunbar's Number

"Temp(°C) = 5 + N(chirps per 8s). The relationship between air temperature and the rate at which crickets chirp."

Dolbear's Law

"Anytime someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and doesn't give you the key, they're not doing it for your benefit."

Doctorow's Law

"Leadership is nature's way of removing morons from the productive flow."


"The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer."

Howard G. Cunningham

"The structure of any system designed by an organization is isomorphic to the structure of the organization."

Conway's Law (Yourdon and Constantine)

"The token's marginal status [is] as a participant who is permitted entrance, but not full participation…someone who meets all of the formal requirements…but does not possess the ‘auxiliary characteristics.’ Consequently, they are never permitted by ‘insiders’ to become full members and may even be ejected if they stray too far from the special ‘niche’ outlined for them."

Lynn Zimmer (1988)

"The first rule of blockchain is to never shut up about blockchain."

— Unknown

"The best way to get rich on the Internet is to talk about how to get rich on the Internet."

— Unknown

"The first rule of Virtual Reality is to never shut up about Virtual Reality."

— Unknown

"The first rule of [insert buzzword] is to never shut up about [insert buzzword]."

— Unknown

"The first rule of cryptocurrency is to never shut up about cryptocurrency."

— Unknown

"If one challenges a statement and another cannot prove it, it does not necessarily follow that the statement is false."

Ron Brackin

"If you consider yourself a credible person, when a lie reaches you, that’s where the fallacy should end."

Carlos Wallace

"Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic."

Thomas Huxley

"Many people tend to look at programming styles and languages like religions: if you belong to one, you cannot belong to others. But this analogy is another fallacy."

Niklaus Wirth

"Much of the industrialized world has not yet come to terms with the recognition of the fallacy of what I call the strong man syndrome."

Wole Soyinka

"Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions."

Gilbert K. Chesterton

"The moment-of-conception fallacy implies that fertilization is a simple process with never a doubt as to whether it has or has not happened."

George C. Williams

"The planning fallacy is that you make a plan, which is usually a best-case scenario. Then you assume that the outcome will follow your plan, even when you should know better."

Daniel Kahneman

"The belief that youth is the happiest time of life is founded on a fallacy. The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts, and we grow happier as we grow older."

William Lyon Phelps

"Except for some effects that I attribute mostly to age, my intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions, and the planning fallacy as it was before I made a study of these issues."

Daniel Kahneman

"Life is a commingling of the sacred and the profane, good and evil. To try and separate them is fallacy."

Tom Robbins

"People exaggerate their confidence in their plans - something we call the planning fallacy... The existence of the plan tends to induce overconfidence."

Daniel Kahneman

"Utopias rest on the fallacy that perfection is a legitimate goal of human existence."

Lewis Mumford

"Somehow even a popular fallacy has an aspect of truth when it suits one's own case."

Margaret Oliphant

"A common fallacy: to imagine a measure will be easy because we have private motives for desiring it."

George Eliot

"It's a fallacy to believe that age in itself brings wisdom, but one thing it infallibly brings is experience."

Gillian Linscott

"No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of elders. They do not grow wise. They grow careful."

Ernest Hemingway

"The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught."

Sydney J. Harris

"Life may be miraculous in its unlikelihood in the universe, but it would be a fallacy to suggest that its rareness makes it inextinguishable."

John Hodgman

"It is the classic fallacy of our time that a moron run through a university and decorated with a Ph.D. will thereby cease to be a moron."

H. L. Mencken

"I call the notion that we are nothing but killer apes the Beethoven fallacy. Beethoven was disorganized and messy, and yet his music is the epitome of order."

Frans de Waal

"The commonest fallacy among women is that simply having children makes them a mother - which is as absurd as believing that having a piano makes one a musician."

Sydney J. Harris

"There is nothing more effectual in showing us the weakness of any habitual fallacy or assumption than to hear it sympathetically through the ears of a skeptic."

Margaret Oliphant

"Money makes people rich; it is a fallacy to think it makes them better, or even that it makes them worse. People are what they do, and what they leave behind."

Terry Pratchett

"I'm always identifying some fallacy in my own life. I'm sort of making fun of myself by exploring and unpacking just why I'm sort of automatically thrown to be a certain way."

Chuck Palahniuk

"We have a cultural notion that if children were not engineered, if we did not manipulate them, they would grow up as beasts in the field. This is the wildest fallacy in the world."

Joseph Chilton Pearce

"There is no permanent place in this universe for evil."

Thomas Carlyle

"It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. Overnight success is a fallacy. It is preceded by a great deal of preparation."

Mark Twain

"A science only advances with certainty, when the plan of inquiry and the object of our researches have been clearly defined; otherwise a small number of truths are loosely laid hold of, without their connexion being perceived, and numerous errors, without being enabled to detect their fallacy."

Jean-Baptiste Say

"Obsolescence never meant the end of anything, it's just the beginning."

Marshall McLuhan

"Mass transportation is doomed to failure in North America because a person's car is the only place to be alone and think. "

Marshall McLuhan

"One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There's always more than you can cope with."

Marshall McLuhan

"We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror."

Marshall McLuhan

"I don't necessarily agree with everything I say."

Marshall McLuhan

"An administrator in a bureaucratic world is someone who can feel big by merging their non-entity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in them."

Marshall McLuhan

"The car has become the carapace, the protective and aggressive shell, of urban and suburban man."

Marshall McLuhan

"A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding."

Marshall McLuhan

"The poet, the artist, the sleuth, whoever sharpens our perception tends to be antisocial; rarely 'well adjusted,' they cannot go along with currents and trends. "

Marshall McLuhan

"Diaper backward spells repaid. Think about it."

Marshall McLuhan

"There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew."

Marshall McLuhan

"Explore the situation. Statements are expendable. Don't keep on looking in the rearview mirror and defending the status quo which is outmoded the moment it happened."

Marshall McLuhan

"Gutenberg made everybody a reader. Xerox makes everybody a publisher."

Marshall McLuhan

"The suddenness of the leap from hardware to software cannot help but produce a period of anarchy and collapse, especially in the developed countries."

Marshall McLuhan

"I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."

Robert A. Heinlein

"One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen. "

Robert A. Heinlein

"The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning while those other subjects merely require scholarship."

Robert A. Heinlein

"In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it."

Robert A. Heinlein

"The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive."

Robert A. Heinlein

"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards."

Robert A. Heinlein

"One person's theology is another's belly laugh."

Robert A. Heinlein

"Take big bites. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. (Lazarus Long)"

Robert A. Heinlein

"No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority."

Robert A. Heinlein

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."

Robert A. Heinlein

"The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion."

Robert A. Heinlein

"Butterflies are self propelled flowers."

Robert A. Heinlein

"A critic is a person who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative people."

Robert A. Heinlein

"The future is better than the past. The world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to the environment, makes it better."

Robert A. Heinlein

"Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy people trying to find easier ways to do something."

Robert A. Heinlein

"Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more."

Robert A. Heinlein

"If a grasshopper tries to fight a lawnmower, one may admire its courage but not its judgement."

Robert A. Heinlein

"Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy."

Robert A. Heinlein

"Avoid making irrevocable decisions while tired or hungry."

Robert A. Heinlein

"Moonshot thinking starts with picking a big problem: something huge, long existing, or on a global scale."

Astro Teller

"I don't believe a mistake-free learning environment exists."

Astro Teller

"Moonshots live in that place between audacious projects and pure science fiction."

Astro Teller

"Phones would not be better if they could be cooler looking, if they could weigh less, or if they could have more battery. Phones would be better if we didn't have to carry them around."

Astro Teller

"To say that someone who invents a piece of knowledge or technology is responsible for all future uses is ridiculous."

Astro Teller

"If software's the only thing in your bag of tools, I'm not going to give you great odds."

Astro Teller

"Why shoot for the moon? When you try to do something radically hard, you approach the problem differently than when you try to make something incrementally better. "

Astro Teller

"Find some fun way to get a little more oil on your hands or mud on your boots. Sometimes, that's what it takes to take down some of the really big problems."

Astro Teller

"Here is the surprising truth: It's often easier to make something 10 times better than it is to make it 10 percent better."

Astro Teller

"Leaps of innovation require a bravery that borders on absurdity."

Astro Teller

"It would be rather naive to imagine that Oprah doesn't have an Earth Evacuation Plan. You know Richard Branson does - his is in plain sight."

John Hodgman

"As a freelance writer, I'd be asked to become an expert for various magazines on any subject, whether food or wine or history or the life span of veterinarians. I was completely unschooled in any of these things."

John Hodgman

"All I can ask from society is that it please stop telling me why I should like sports."

John Hodgman

"Creating fake facts does require a measure of haphazard research, insofar as they need to not just be possible, but also interesting."

John Hodgman

"If you're going to eat a creature alive, you have to expect some screaming."

John Hodgman

"A stopped clock is correct twice a day, but a sundial can be used to stab someone, even at nighttime."

John Hodgman

"All books should be trilogies; I mean, I think we all agree on that."

John Hodgman

"Generally speaking, I think it is fair to say that I am a friend to the creatures of the Earth when I am not busy eating them or wearing them."

John Hodgman

"I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it."

Terry Pratchett

"Go on, prove me wrong. Destroy the fabric of the universe. See if I care. "

Terry Pratchett

"Build a person a fire, and they'll be warm for a day. Set a person on fire, and they'll be warm for the rest of their life."

Terry Pratchett

"It's not worth doing something unless you are doing something that someone, somewere, would much rather you weren't doing."

Terry Pratchett

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."

Mark Twain

"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure."

Mark Twain

"Clothes make the person. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

Mark Twain

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education."

Mark Twain

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."

Richard Dawkins

"Complex, statistically improbable things are by their nature more difficult to explain than simple, statistically probable things."

Richard Dawkins

"Beauty arises out of human inspiration."

Richard Dawkins

"Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping Tom to install your window blinds."

John Perry Barlow

"If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too."

Tim Cook

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

Argument from Ignorance

"If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."

Orville Wright

"The invention is by its very nature disruptive. If you want to be understood at all times, then don't do anything new."

Jeff Bezos

"When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor."

Elon Musk

"An extraordinary amount of arrogance is present in any claim of having been the first in inventing something."

Benoit Mandelbrot

"Push the envelope, Disrupt, Innovate, Leverage, Get our ducks in a row, Streamline, Drill down, Take it offline, Interface, Boil the ocean, Align, Synthesize, Touch base, Circle back, Get down to brass tacks, Give 110%, Move the needle, Architect, Put it on the back burner, Cast a wide net, Lean in, Raise the bar, Move up the value chain, Run it up the flagpole, Put boots on the ground, Spend calories doing X, Flex your [design, creative, analytical, etc.] muscle, Take a step back, Circle the wagons, Punt (an idea), Peel the onion, Build it from the ground up"

— Buzzword Bingo

"Deep dive, Paradigm shift, Synergy, Core competency, Game-changer, Window of opportunity, Wheelhouse, Low-hanging fruit, Bandwidth, Learnings, Big picture, Many moving parts, Hard stop, 360 view"

— Buzzword Bingo

"Outside-the-box, Next generation, Intentional, Progressive, In agreeance, Mission critical, Revolutionary, Leading, Cutting-edge, High-tech, Forward-thinking, Dynamic, Proactive, Bleeding-edge, Impactful, Actionable, Granular, Viral, Scaleable, Robust, Cut and dry, Transformative, Integrated, Holistic"

— Buzzword Bingo

"Those who believe without reason cannot be convinced by reason."

James Randi

"We owe it to our kids to inform them and train them how to think, not what to think."

James Randi

"Everyone who believes in telekinesis, raise my hand."

James Randi

"There is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out."

James Randi

"People who are smart get into Mensa. People who are really smart look around and leave."

James Randi

"Uri Geller may have psychic powers by means of which he can bend spoons; if so, he appears to be doing it the hard way."

James Randi

"The New Age? Its just the old age stuck in a microwave oven for fifteen seconds."

James Randi

"No evidence against a firmly-held belief, no matter how good or abundant it may be, will sway the true believer."

James Randi

"I am in a very peculiar business: I travel all over the world telling people what they should already know."

James Randi

"We have fought long and hard to escape from medieval superstition. I, for one, do not wish to go back."

James Randi

"To recognize that nature has neither a preference for our species nor a bias against it takes only a little courage."

James Randi

"I can go into a lab and fool the rear ends off any group of scientists."

James Randi

"I want to be cremated, and I want my ashes blown in Uri Geller's eyes."

James Randi

"Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."

Elon Musk

"I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary."

Elon Musk

"When you struggle with a problem, that's when you understand it."

Elon Musk

"Many things are improbable, only a few are impossible."

Elon Musk

"Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. [This] improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing you know that you will achieve in 4 months what it takes them a year to achieve."

Elon Musk

"I could either watch it happen or be a part of it."

Elon Musk

"Persistence is very important. You should not give up unless you are forced to give up."

Elon Musk

"Most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying."

Elon Musk

"Funded by the government just means funded by the people. Government, by the way, has no money. It only takes money from the people. Sometimes people forget that that's really what occurs."

Elon Musk

"The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur."

Elon Musk

"I think that's the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself."

Elon Musk

"You shouldn't do things differently just because they're different. They need to be... better."

Elon Musk

"I think you should always be seeking negative feedback."

Elon Musk

"Physics is a good framework for thinking. ... Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there."

Elon Musk

"I started SpaceX with the expectation of failure."

Elon Musk

"Don't be afraid of new arenas."

Elon Musk

"You want to be extra rigorous about making the best possible thing you can. Find everything that's wrong with it and fix it."

Elon Musk

"The tough thing is figuring out what questions to ask, but […] once you do that, the rest is really easy."

Elon Musk

"You want to do things you’re passionate about but also are useful to other people."

Elon Musk

"You should be innovating so fast that you're invalidating your prior patents."

Elon Musk

"It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to."

Elon Musk

"You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong."

Elon Musk

"You get paid in direct proportion to the difficulty of problems you solve."

Elon Musk

"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact."

Elon Musk

"Constantly think about how you could be doing things better."

Elon Musk

"They were building a Ferrari for every launch, when it was possible that a Honda Accord might do the trick."

Elon Musk

"It's OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket."

Elon Musk

"If you buy a ticket to hell, it isn't fair to blame hell."

Elon Musk

"America is the spirit of human exploration distilled."

Elon Musk

"Never chase the next hot thing. Stop trying to chase the wave. You will never catch it."

Elon Musk

"E.U.O.M.U.A.I.A.S.I.T.C. (Excessive use of made-up acronyms is a significant impediment to communication)"

Elon Musk

"I’ve actually not read any books on time management."

Elon Musk

"If something has to be designed and invented, and you have to figure out how to ensure that the value of the thing you create is greater than the cost of the inputs, then that is probably my core skill."

Elon Musk

"At a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking."

Elon Musk

"There’s a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everyone is trying to optimize their ass-covering."

Elon Musk

"Don’t delude yourself into thinking something’s working when it’s not, or you’re gonna get fixated on a bad solution."

Elon Musk

"I don’t think it’s a good idea to plan to sell a company."

Elon Musk

"I don’t create companies for the sake of creating companies, but to get things done."

Elon Musk

"The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you."

Neil deGrasse Tyson

"There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew."

Marshall McLuhan

"Space is an inspirational concept that allows you to dream big."

Peter Diamandis

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special."

Stephen Hawking

"If you are in a spaceship that is traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen?"

Steven Wright

"Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards."

Fred Hoyle

"Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us, and each other."

Sojourner Truth

"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program."

Larry Niven

"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage."

Mark Russell

"After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say 'I want to see the manager.'"

William S. Burroughs

"Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god, but a great rock, and the sun a hot rock. "


"Curiosity is the essence of our existence."

Gene Cernan

"We are limited only by our imagination and our will to act."

Ron Garan

"By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox."

Galileo Galilei

"To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit."

Stephen Hawking

"I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here."

Arthur C. Clarke

"900 years of time and space and I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important."

Doctor Who

"The function of science fiction is not always to predict the future, but sometimes to prevent it."

Frank Herbert

"Beauty perishes in life, but is immortal in art."

Leonardo da Vinci

"Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness."

Frank Gehry

"As an architect, you design for the present, with an awareness of the past for a future which is essentially unknown."

Norman Foster

"We should attempt to bring nature, houses, and human beings together in a higher unity."

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

"Any architectural work that does not express serenity is an error."

Luis Barragán

"The Sun does not realise how wonderful it is until after a room is made."

Louis Kahn

"A design isn't finished until someone is using it."

Brenda Laurel

"Designers think everything done by someone else is awful, and that they could do it better themselves, which explains why I designed my own living room carpet, I suppose."

Chris Bangle

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."


"Our opportunity, as designers, is to learn how to handle the complexity, rather than shy away from it, and to realize that the big art of design is to make complicated things simple."

Tim Parsey

"Everything is designed. Few things are designed well."

Brian Reed

"To provide meaningful architecture is not to parody history, but to articulate it."

Daniel Libeskind

"In my experience, if you have to keep the lavatory door shut by extending your left leg, it’s modern architecture."

Nancy Banks-Smith

"Good design is all about making other designers feel like idiots because the idea wasn't theirs."

Frank Chimero

"Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent."

Joe Sparano

"The most innovative designers consciously reject the standard option box and cultivate an appetite for thinking wrong."

Marty Neumeier

"A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines."

Frank Lloyd Wright

"Give them the vision of Oz, show them the direction, convince them you can create the yellow brick road; the rest is civil engineering."

Dirk Susharme

"Design is where science and art break even."

Mieke Gerritzen

"Hell, there are no rules here; We're trying to accomplish something."

Thomas Edison

"Architecture is the art of how to waste space."

Philip Johnson

"People who build their own home tend to be very courageous. These people are curious about life. They're thinking about what it means to live in a house, rather than just buying a commodity and making it work."

Tom Kundig

"I'm convinced that without bad design, the world would be a far less stimulating place; we would have nothing to marvel over and nothing to be nostalgic about."

Carrie Phillips

"Architecture is not based on concrete and steel, and the elements of the soil. It's based on wonder."

Daniel Libeskind

"An object should be judged by whether it has a form consistent with its use."

Bruno Munari

"Very often the opinion of the clients must be disregarded in their own interest."

John M. Johnson

"When we build, let us think that we build forever."

John Ruskin

"I don't know why people hire architects and then tell them what to do."

Frank Gehry

"It’s kind of fun to do the impossible."

Walt Disney

"It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it's the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time."

David Allan Coe

"To create, one must first question everything."

Eileen Gray

"Life must be understood backward. But it must be lived forward."

Søren Kierkegaard

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."


"Be the change that you wish to see in the world."

Mahatma Gandhi

"Go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company."

Benjamin Franklin Wade

"You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts."

Kahlil Gibran

"Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is."

Albert Camus

"We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be."

May Sarton

"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"

Laurence J. Peter

"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right."

Isaac Asimov

"You do not write your life with words...You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do."

Patrick Ness

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."

Frank Zappa

"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric."

Bertrand Russell

"Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric."

Bertrand Russell

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."


"Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks."


"Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises."


"In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity."

Sun Tzu

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."


"Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy."

Lao Tzu

"Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it."

Albert Einstein

"No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen."

Alan Watts

"Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it."


"The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them."

Anton Chekhov

"Wisdom.... comes not from age, but from education and learning."

Anton Chekhov

"There is nothing more awful, insulting, and depressing than banality."

Anton Chekhov