A collection of Ryan Rodenbaugh's favorite and most-repeated quotes

Ben Franklin:

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead:

“But you see," said Roark quietly, "I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.”

Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States of America:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Andy Bernard (from the TV show, The Office)

“I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them.”

John Maynard Keynes

“When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty:

“The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

USMC Rules for Gunfighting:

"Be professional, be polite, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet"

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead:

“Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.”

J.P. Morgan:

“A man always has two reasons for what he does--a good one, and the real one.”

E.B. White:

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.”

@vgr, The Gervais Principle:

“Reflection is a dangerous pastime. It can lead you to rewrite your past, alter how you see your present, and tempt you down paths you never imagined you would explore.”

@vgr, Be Slightly Evil:

“truth is also about increasing moral minimalism. As you learn more, you should have less need for moral opinions.”

Steve Jobs:

“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.”

Lewis Carroll:

“IN THE END… We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have,and the decisions we waited too long to make.”

Tim Urban:

“Be humbler about what [you] know, more confident about what's possible, and less afraid of things that don't matter.”

Mae West:

"Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often"

Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire:

“Nothing fires the warrior’s heart more with courage than to find himself and his comrades at the point of annihilation, at the brink of being routed and overrun, and then to dredge not merely from one’s own bowels or guts but from one’s discipline and training the presence of mind not to panic, not to yield to the possession of despair, but instead to complete those homely acts of order which Dienekes had ever declared the supreme accomplishment of the warrior: to perform the commonplace under far-from-commonplace conditions.”

Ayn Rand:

“Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched. The things which are sacred or precious to us are the things we withdraw from promiscuous sharing. But now we are taught to throw everything within us into public light and common pawing. To seek joy in meeting halls. We haven't even got a word for the quality I mean--for the self-sufficiency of man's spirit. It's difficult to call it selfishness or egotism, the words have been perverted, they've come to mean Peter Keating. Gail, I think the only cardinal evil on earth is that of placing your prime concern within other men. I've always demanded a certain quality in the people I liked. I've always recognized it at once--and it's the only quality I respect in men. I chose my friends by that. Now I know what it is. A self-sufficient ego. Nothing else matters.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist:

“Why do they make things so complicated?"
"So that those who have the responsibility for understanding can understand.," he said. "Imagine if everyone went around transforming lead into gold. Gold would lose its value."
"It's those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist:

“When you possess great treasures within you and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”


“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

Abraham Maslow:

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail.”

Christopher McQuarrie, Usual Suspects:

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.”

Abraham Lincoln:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Richard Feynman:

“Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Robert A. Heinlein:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Yuval Noah Harari:

“You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven.”

James D. Watson:

“Every time you understand something, religion becomes less likely. Only with the discovery of the double helix and the ensuing genetic revolution have we had grounds for thinking that the powers held traditionally to be the exclusive property of the gods might one day be ours. . . .”

Calvin Coolidge:

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

Blaise Pascal:

“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged:

“There's nothing of any importance in life - except how well you do your work. Nothing. Only that. Whatever else you are, will come from that. It's the only measure of human value. All the codes of ethics they'll try to ram down your throat are just so much paper money put out by swindlers to fleece people of their virtues. The code of competence is the only system of morality that's on a gold standard.”

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged:

“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter.”

Blaise Pascal:

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”