Wall of Quotes

A collection of my favorite quotes, sourced from my Twitter account, Instapaper and Kindle highlights, and things I’ve saved from various sources in my Notes app.   RSS

When was the last time you truly, deeply, unabashedly connected with something and you didn’t say a single word about it?

April 26, 2024

Lots of “Why did they do that dumb thing?” comes down to “We didn’t know”. Conversely, a lot of “Wow, they were brilliant!” also is not real planning: it just happened to turn out well.

Mike Trick
March 29, 2024

Ratatouille walked so The Bear could run.

March 10, 2024

Name plus purpose equals focus.

Octavia E. Butler
March 1, 2024

Pessimism and optimism share a trait: both are self-fulfilling.

Steph Ango
February 27, 2024

You fall asleep for short periods and then for longer periods and then forever.

Emily St. John Mandel
February 16, 2024

First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.

Emily St. John Mandel
February 13, 2024

The interdisciplinarian is essentially an exile. Someone who respects no borders enjoys no citizenship.

Paul Ford
January 2, 2024

In a world where it’s easy to feel like you're losing your grip, it’s a good reminder: your grip is fine. You’re just being handed a lot of slippery things.

Linda Holmes
December 27, 2023

This is not a sport for optimists, but rather a constant reminder that everything good can and will eventually turn to ash in your mouth.

Michael Baumann
October 18, 2023

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different.

Kurt Vonnegut
September 15, 2023

When you’re uncertain which knot is securing your body to the face of a mountain, it’s best not to start undoing any of them willy-nilly.

Eugene Wei
July 7, 2023

In time, we all end up in a folder somewhere, if we’re lucky.

Paul Ford
June 15, 2023

Nobody does a product design sprint on how their app should behave in the event that it unexpectedly no longer exists.

Rob Dubbin
April 7, 2023

Baseball has become one of those things you need to only check on twice a year, like an HVAC, or an aunt.

Jason Gay
March 23, 2023

There is no more profound human bias than the expectation that tomorrow will be like today. It is a powerful heuristic tool because it is almost always correct.

Ezra Klein
March 12, 2023

Why do we do the complicated work and in-depth analysis when the easier thing—just some basic reporting—is also the more valuable thing?

Benn Stancil
March 7, 2023

Baseball is the most statistically obsessed of all human pursuits.

Bill Bryson
March 6, 2023

For a few hours Tuesday night, I felt a strange new emotion — a foreboding feeling that A.I. had crossed a threshold, and that the world would never be the same.

Kevin Roose
February 16, 2023

The kind of things that you learn in this experience are more like what you learn by running a marathon or moving to a new city: you can talk about them, but it doesn’t really impart the knowledge.

Tom MacWright
January 28, 2023

We set up the clichés and reversed the audience’s expectation of the outcome. That’s all it is. … That worked 30 years ago, it’ll work today and it’ll work 30 years from now.

Jason Foster
January 27, 2023

The moment you find out exactly where the robot falls short of the human, it becomes entirely uninteresting.

Kate Lindsay
December 7, 2022

Just because rules are dumb and you are smart, that doesn't always mean that you get to take advantage of them.

Matt Levine
October 20, 2022

The past is a map, and it got us here.

Clark Thompson
October 10, 2022

If you had a magically weighted coin that came up heads 60% of the time, it would take quite a while for your friends to realize your relatively unambitious chicanery.

Dan Szymborski
October 10, 2022

When a dream fails, nothing changes, except that the world becomes gray, without the potential for color shift.

Adam Dalva
October 3, 2022

Poor design meets one need while creating a dozen others.

Tanner Christensen
September 25, 2022

When you hire someone to run your hot-dog stand and he starts telling the customers that hot dogs are bad for them, that relationship won’t endure. Even if he’s right about the hot dogs.

Nick Catoggio
September 2, 2022

Isn’t that what baseball is about? At some romantic, idealized and admittedly naïve level, it’s about a sport that binds communities.

Joe Rivera
August 7, 2022

There is a single steadfast rule for being alive right now, and it is: Do not bet against the dumbest possible outcome.

Charlie Warzel
April 25, 2022

Trauma often manifests when adrenaline fades & people exhale.

Ed Yong
April 15, 2022

I often trick myself into thinking that the road to less stuff might be paved with more stuff.

Paul Ford
January 11, 2022

Souls are as scarce as microchips these days. The supply chain seems to be snarled.

George Tannenbaum
September 20, 2021

Rare events are common at scale.

Katherine J. Wu, Ed Yong, and Sarah Zhang
September 20, 2021

Before you grasp, you have to reach.

Simon Sarris
June 30, 2021

If a gazelle stops for a snack 60 feet, six inches away from a lion, you can’t give the lion the take sign.

Devin Gordon
June 4, 2021

Gut instinct doesn't scale.

Quinn Keast
May 18, 2021

I’ve spent enough time covering the internet to be reflexively anxious about wholly dismissing things just because they’re stupid.

Charlie Warzel
May 11, 2021

I've never seen any life transformation that didn't begin with the person in question finally getting sick of their own bullshit.

Elizabeth Gilbert
February 23, 2021

Optimism shouldn’t be seen as opposed to pessimism, but in conversation with it.

Michelle Obama
February 4, 2021

A near-miss, interpreted correctly, is a great teacher.

Zeynep Tufekci
January 31, 2021

The universe is divided into two types of people: “I had to go through it, so you should too” and “I had to go through it, so I will work and change it to make sure you don’t.” You choose.

Millie Tran
January 22, 2021

Ignoring near misses is how people and societies get in real trouble the next time.

Zeynep Tufekci
December 7, 2020

Do your best to find folks doing work you aspire to, and ‘smoosh your nose against their studio window’.

Craig Mod
November 9, 2020

Rules are a good start, then break them

Henrik Kniberg
November 9, 2020

Sports is and always will be a metaphor for society.

Jeff Passan
October 28, 2020

We’re driving faster and faster into the future, trying to steer by using only the rear-view mirror.

Marshall McLuhan
September 28, 2020

Whether our graves are the cold and shadowy depths of the ocean or a potter’s field stacked with plague victims, the grave awaits us all, and always has. Your efforts matter as much as they always did, which is to say not one little tiny bit, except that they are the most precious of things — they are your heart.

Emily Flake
September 2, 2020

Let go or be dragged.

Sandra L. Brown
August 24, 2020

Fluidity of memory and a capacity to forget is perhaps the most haunting trait of our species.

Wade Davis
August 6, 2020

If you paint stripes on a horse, it doesn’t become a zebra.

Om Malik
June 30, 2020

Takeoffs are optional but landings are mandatory

James Fallows
June 29, 2020

Well begun is half done

Ryan Holiday
June 17, 2020

When someone tells you something is wrong, they’re almost always right. When someone tells you how to fix it, they’re almost always wrong.

Ryan Holiday
June 17, 2020

Charli: “The main thing that bothers me about Morse Code…” (laughter ensues for 10 minutes). There is more than 1 thing?

Josh Fallon
May 24, 2020

If whatever happened before the first episode were so interesting, the story would’ve started there instead.

Ben Lindbergh
April 22, 2020

Focus groups would have thrown chairs at the two-way glass if asked about removing headphone jacks.

John Gruber
April 21, 2020

Who’s paying your bills kind of pushes you in a certain direction.

Nicholas Gurewitch
February 14, 2020

I sort of swore off deadlines because they seemed so hazardous to health. But in many ways, they’re helpful to mental health because you can be done with something.

Nicholas Gurewitch
February 14, 2020

The best time to start a blog is 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.

Brent Simmons
November 11, 2019

Scientists who study gravity still fall down

L. Carol Ritchie
September 4, 2019

After every finish line, there is a starting line.

Mauro Prosperi
May 25, 2019

Design is a lot like physical fitness: everyone wants the outcome, no one wants to do the work.

Jamal Nichols
May 15, 2019

It's one thing to buy a ticket, plop down in a box seat and take out your frustrations on some bum who hacks weakly at a curveball, but it's a wholly different thing to repeatedly kick a man when he's down.

Scott Miller
April 23, 2019

I am afraid of dying, sure, but so far, it hasn’t been an issue.

Sarah Miller
April 3, 2019

Lying is not my favorite, but when it’s called for the only thing to do is jump in with both feet.

Sarah Miller
April 3, 2019

They didn’t have a guinea pig mirror at the pet shop. I suggested maybe they have one for dogs or cats that would work, and Madi says “dogs don’t need mirrors — they already know they’re all that”

Josh Fallon
March 4, 2019

At dinner, Madi keeps finding little bones in her salmon, and is getting frustrated/concerned. Charli chimes in: “You know what they say… ‘Fish got bones!’”

Josh Fallon
January 15, 2019

People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.

Matthew Strom
December 15, 2018

It looks and feels wrong in a great way, in a way that a more technically accomplished director could never hope to achieve

Michael Tedder
December 7, 2018

Case went to John, the bartender, and said, “I don’t understand. There are only two ingredients in a martini. What’s special about yours?” John said, “Oh. You have to make it with love.”

David Mamet
November 29, 2018

I wouldn’t have taken a million dollars not to have known him. But I’d give a million not to know another one like him.

Mark Singer
November 26, 2018

Is there a way to celebrate a place without the possibility of destroying it? Or is this just what we are now -- a horde with a checklist and a camera phone, intent on self-producing the destruction of anything left that feels real, one Instagram story at a time?

Kevin Alexander
November 16, 2018

Talking at the dinner table about chow mein noodles which were labeled as “improved taste”. Ashley: they don’t really have a taste, they’re just crunchy. Charli: Yes, they do have taste. Oh my god, do they have taste.

Josh Fallon
November 7, 2018

Your words carry a lot of weight. But your testimony speaks so much louder when you struggle.

Stephanie Apstein
October 24, 2018

But timing always matters. And you can’t do anything about it. It’s almost like the trick is hanging around long enough that your time is right.

Scott Meslow
October 17, 2018

I guess there came a time, and I missed it, when revealing everything started to be considered art. I’d always learned that concealing everything was art.

David Marchese
September 26, 2018

Scene: Sunday night, Fallon family car. Been out all day, everyone is hungry, still need to make a trip to the grocery store. Madi: “What’s a good dinner cereal?”

Josh Fallon
August 27, 2018

“I told him I was in a storage room, and it was loud because there was a band downstairs,” he says. “He said, ‘They’re playing a Pearl Jam song.’ I told him, ‘That IS Pearl Jam.’ ”

Bill Reader
August 6, 2018

The camera crew listened patiently to his rambling story, silently recognizing the inconsequential details found in stories told by liars.

Jeff Maysh
July 31, 2018

In fact, as I wrote this article I realized just how far the iMac’s design legacy has gone. My family owns a bright blue first-generation Nissan Leaf. I realize now that for the last year I’ve been driving around an iMac G3.

Jason Snell
May 6, 2018

If I have a pie, and I fill it with dirt and put a slice of apple in it, it does not make it an apple pie

The New World Order
November 18, 2017

Nowadays, companies hang flat screen TVs hanging on the walls, all them running 24/7 to display a variety of charts. Most everyone ignores them. The spirit is right, to be transparent all the time, but the understanding of human nature is not. We ignore things that are shown to us all the time.

Eugene Wei
November 15, 2017

We have built a world which operates at scale, where human oversight is simply impossible, and no manner of inhuman oversight will counter most of the examples I’ve used in this essay.

James Bridle
November 7, 2017

Our culture might be a corpse, and everything you see in it and confuse for life might just be the nails and hair of the corpse still expanding after death.

Spencer Hall
August 26, 2017

Am I the man who falls out of a skyscraper, and as he passes the second storey, says, ‘So far, so good?’

Oliver Burkeman
July 28, 2017

There wasn’t really time to kick your feet back on the desk and say, ‘This is going to be really fucking awesome one day.’ It was like, ‘Holy fuck, we’re fucked.’

Brian Merchant
June 15, 2017

Now, I’m no fan of death. I don't like the time commitment, or the permanence. A number of people I love are dead and it has strained our relationship.

Maciej Cegłowski
June 5, 2017

Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate

Maciej Cegłowski
June 5, 2017

The problem with connecting everyone on the planet is that a lot of people are assholes.

Mat Honan
April 20, 2017

I said, “Harry, pretty soon I’m not going to have a job. I’m retiring. But everything will be the same.” And he said, “Will I still get to watch the Cartoon Network?” That was his concern about my retirement.

David Marchese
March 6, 2017

Grandma Melinda: “Whoa Charli, you’re really into those oranges.” Charli: “Somebody’s not gettin’ scurvy!”

Josh Fallon
March 5, 2017

A survey commissioned by National Geographic found that forty per cent of Americans believed that stocking up on supplies or building a bomb shelter was a wiser investment than a 401(k).

Evan Osnos
January 30, 2017

Of course his shirt’s top couple buttons were undone and his tie was askew and his whole just general appearance made it look like he’d been rolled down a hill, because Stan Van Gundy always looks like he’s just been rolled down a hill

Shea Serrano
January 19, 2017

Diversity is insurance of the mind.

Charles Chu
January 5, 2017

For the bullshitter, it doesn’t really matter if he is right or wrong. What matters is that you’re paying attention.

Gordon Pennycook
December 30, 2016

On a scale of 1 to 10, the attention to detail on an average job is about an 8. For Apple it was 100, just off-the-charts, unprecedented attention to detail. Should the sleeves be rolled up twice or three times? Should the jeans come in at the bottom just a half-an-inch? Are those shoelaces off-putting?

Joan Voight
December 14, 2016

Steve's one of those guys that can argue both sides of the same argument in the same paragraph and convince you twice.

Joan Voight
December 14, 2016

Me: “Is it Ur-anus or Ura-nus?” Charli: “Either, but Ur-anus is more embarrassing.”

Josh Fallon
December 11, 2016

But this is prizefighting, where every concussive blow a boxer lands on his opponent can be seen as a brief lesson in moral relativity.

Rafe Bartholomew
November 18, 2016

An ark is useless until it has a place to make landfall.

Zach Baron
November 14, 2016

The same brutal, merciless ingenuity that we bring to ruining the world is the exact same ingenuity applied by the scientists working at the Frozen Zoo and elsewhere, poised at the horizon of existence, willfully pulling our animal brethren back from the edge

Zach Baron
November 14, 2016

So the very things that appeal to people about him are the opposite of most sports TV does. It's like we can't get enough of this, and we can't stop doing the exact opposite.

Jayson Stark
September 28, 2016

But just as modern street lighting has slowly blotted the stars from the visible skies, so too have cars and planes and factories and flickering digital screens combined to rob us of a silence that was previously regarded as integral to the health of the human imagination.

Andrew Sullivan
September 21, 2016

Yes, online and automated life is more efficient, it makes more economic sense, it ends monotony and “wasted” time in the achievement of practical goals. But it denies us the deep satisfaction and pride of workmanship that comes with accomplishing daily tasks well, a denial perhaps felt most acutely by those for whom such tasks are also a livelihood — and an identity.

Andrew Sullivan
September 21, 2016

A/B testing is a lifetime subscription to Humble Pie Magazine.

Patrick McKenzie
September 20, 2016

You can get better, no matter how good you are, if you do the work — tirelessly, relentlessly and with a profound and abiding belief that what you are doing matters.

Greg Knauss
September 19, 2016

Is it possible that parkour, with its emphasis on agility and creativity instead of bulk and brute force, is really the tightest link we have in sports to our evolutionary past?

Christopher McDougall
August 19, 2016

Charli: “I don’t like Peanut M&Ms. I like peanuts, and M&Ms.”

Josh Fallon
August 10, 2016

The more a designer understands how the business works, the more valuable they will be to employers.

Matt McCue
July 22, 2016

If you want to put your trust in people who want something from you, go ahead. But don’t act shocked when you get bullshit in return.

Gary Sheffield
July 15, 2016

We should not listen to people who promise to make Mars safe for human habitation, until we have seen them make Oakland safe for human habitation.

Maciej Cegłowski
July 4, 2016

The dust-gathering 3D printers, soon to be joined by dust-gathering VR headsets, are symbolic.

Jules Ehrhardt
May 23, 2016

The way technology works is that by default, it stands still, and it moves forward only when something pushes it forward.

Tim Urban
March 27, 2016

From way out here, it hits you that we’re living in a phase—a sad little window that an intelligent species inevitably passes through, when they’re advanced enough to understand their own mortality, but still too primitive to save themselves from it

Tim Urban
March 24, 2016

Do you think we’re headed toward a future where we’re only going to be talking about weird, very hard to forecast events, precisely because we get good at avoiding a lot of problems and mistakes?

Mercatus Center
February 23, 2016

I think a lot of people have one or two really good insights, and if you’re very lucky that can take you a long way.

Mercatus Center
February 23, 2016

Trying to decide what we want for dinner and Charli says: “I feel like Italian – home of the carb”

Josh Fallon
November 27, 2015

A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.

Maria Popova
November 13, 2015

To be emotional is to attach yourself to something you value supremely but don’t fully control. To be passionate is to put yourself in danger

David Brooks
October 31, 2015

Setting up the Roomba, trying to decide on a name for it. Charli: “Is it a boy or a girl?” Madi: “I dunno, did you look?”

Josh Fallon
August 16, 2015

The light at the end of the tunnel is just the world on fire.

Chris Ryan
August 10, 2015

You make people happier not by giving them more options but by stripping them away.

Cliff Kuang
July 18, 2015

When everything works, the reader flashes green and emits a pleasing tone; if something goes wrong, it glows blue—never red. Red lights are forbidden at Disney, as they imply something bad happened. Nothing bad can happen at Disney World.

Cliff Kuang
July 18, 2015

Overheard in Venice: “It’s the world, bro – people lie.”

Josh Fallon
June 12, 2015

I like tasks that are on the cusp of being achievable.

Nicholas Felton
August 20, 2014

Me: “Free Birds got an 18% on rotten tomatoes”. Madi: “I knew it was gonna be bad… too many fart jokes in the trailer”.

Josh Fallon
March 15, 2014

Sometimes it’s no good to be too humble. Sometimes it’s no good to be too egocentric. So what has happened is, I took him down, he pulled me up, and we met in the middle. That is Siegfried & Roy.

John Katsilometes
October 21, 2013

Charli: “Ooooh, a “tripod”? What is that, 3 iPods?”

Josh Fallon
September 29, 2013

Charli’s favorite saying lately: “I’m not arguing, I’m just making points”

Josh Fallon
August 13, 2013

Part of a conversation Madi and Charli actually had: “Don’t ever ask a woman how old she is. You could ask a female dog, though”

Josh Fallon
June 6, 2013

Charli-ism (replying to the statement “ah, that’s nothin”): “It’s something… but it’s not nothing”

Josh Fallon
June 6, 2013

Charli-ism: “There’s only two ways to find out”

Josh Fallon
June 6, 2013

If the seams have been covered, you can’t admire how things connect.

Frank Chimero
March 14, 2013

Charli: “5 is my unlucky number. It just doesn’t look smart.”

Josh Fallon
February 12, 2013

Charli: “I love dominoes, they’re so clappy”

Josh Fallon
January 31, 2013

Me: “I bet by the time you’re old enough to vote you’ll be able to vote on the internet.” Madi: “Yeah, or just hand my vote to a robot”

Josh Fallon
November 6, 2012

Charli: “Dad, did you know that baseball is interesting to me for 5 minutes?”

Josh Fallon
October 14, 2012

I’d say every designer should design a clock at some point.

Sebastiaan de With
July 20, 2012

Charli: “Dad, have you played Monopoly before?” Me: “Yes.” Charli: “Then how come you have no money?”

Josh Fallon
July 12, 2012

RT @PearlJam: “The only person that I have met, that I have ever been in awe of, is Eddie Vedder.” - Pete Sampras

Josh Fallon
June 28, 2012

Talking about Guy Fieri w/ Madi – “Wait, that's his real name?” I say yes & she says “Really? Like, when he was born his mom named him Guy?”

Josh Fallon
March 26, 2012

Madi, as we drive by a retirement home: “it's kind of like an orphanage for old people”

Josh Fallon
March 10, 2012

Happiness is the most important metric in personal technology. If it improves lives, it is important.

Brian Lam
January 28, 2012

Madi: why can't I see the lint on your shirt now? Me: a black light made it show up before Madi: what? that would just be a light turned off

Josh Fallon
January 2, 2012

Madi: “Why don't restaurants have clocks in them? That's my biggest issue.”

Josh Fallon
December 10, 2011

Madi: “Dogs make you happy. Cats make you... Eh.”

Josh Fallon
November 11, 2011

I think that you can wait forever for the muse to sit on your shoulder, but most of the time you know what has to be done and inspiration is not going to help you.

Nick Hornby
October 6, 2011

Stop. Pull everything together into a single stack, take a breath, and enjoy the work. We’re not tarring roofs in 100° heat. We get to build for the web, and life is wonderful.

Trent Walton
September 20, 2011

The DirecTV screensaver just bounced off the corner of the screen PERFECTLY. No better way to punctuate a great vacation.

Josh Fallon
August 15, 2011

Me: “I wonder what cell phones will be like when you're a teenager.” Madi: “I bet they'll be awesome, like 'Phineas & Ferb' awesome.”

Josh Fallon
July 2, 2011

We make in the hope that what we produce can carry us somewhere better, to a place more satisfactory. If we can do this for ourselves, we are lucky. When we are able to do so for others, we are tending towards glory.

Frank Chimero
June 20, 2011

Charli: “Dad, did you know that work is fun?”

Josh Fallon
May 29, 2011

My 5 year old daughter informed me the male seahorse carries the eggs, and I had to pretend I didn't already learn that from @JimGaffigan

Josh Fallon
May 18, 2011

Madi: “Dad, did Mom make dinner or did you make dinner?” Me: “Mom.” Madi: “Good.”

Josh Fallon
May 9, 2011

In every kind of creative endeavor – and great technology is indeed a form of creative expression – there’s a difference between real art and mere technical competence. It’s impossible to quantify but which everybody can intuit it almost instantly.

Andy Ihnatko
March 15, 2011

Charli: “Here's the thing. If someone is mean to you, be nice to them. That's what I tell people at school.”

Josh Fallon
January 13, 2011

Madi, looking at a caramel coffee poster: “Look at that caramel, they're like cubes of happiness.”

Josh Fallon
November 16, 2010

Eating Cocoa Puffs, designing a web page, and listening to Willie Nelson. Am I 10, 30, or 60 years old?

Josh Fallon
October 7, 2010

Ashley: “Wait, is Spiderman a spider or does he fight spiders?”

Josh Fallon
September 28, 2010

Charli noticed me on the iPad and said, “Hey Dad, it's your big phone”.

Josh Fallon
September 18, 2010

Ashley (trying to get Charli to do a paint spin art thing): “Come on, try it — it's fun.” Charli: “I'll tell you what's fun — movies.”

Josh Fallon
June 23, 2010

Sometimes a design isn’t working because you think you can’t change the one element that needs to be changed.

Ryan Singer
May 31, 2010

Madi, watching Brian Boitano: “Why are they cheering? Do they think this is his first time ice skating?”

Josh Fallon
December 30, 2009

According to Madi, the opposite of Rickey Henderson is Ducky Benderson.

Josh Fallon
July 25, 2009