There are serious problems with a culture of unbridled individualism, in which the breaking of rules becomes, in a sense, the only remaining rule. The first has to do with the fact that moral values and social rules are not simply arbitrary constraints on individual choice but the precondition for any kind of cooperative enterprise. Indeed, social scientists have recently begun to refer to a society’s stock of shared values as “social capital.”


September 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright, The Natural House

New Sense of Repose in Quiet Streamline Effects

“ Vistas of inevitable simplicity and ineffable harmonies would open, so beautiful to me that I was not only delighted, but often startled.

April 2010

Evelyn Waugh, Black Mischief, Chapter 5

Azanian Propaganda

“ It was from the least expected quarter, the tribesmen and villagers, that the real support for Seth’s Birth Control policy suddenly appeared.

January 2010

Leon R. Kass, The Beginning of Wisdom, Pp. 406-7.

Jacob’s Summary

“ The biblical counterpart of Odysseus, Jacob must solve the fundamental human difficulties illustrated in the pre-Abrahamic chapters of Genesis.

September 2009

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, A Dangerous Place, Chapter 1: A Half-Life, p8-9

An Act of Courage and of Daring

“ In that I was a member of the Cabinet, protocol provided that I step out of Air Force One behind the President and ahead of Kissinger, who was also on the journey. Somehow Kissinger invariably reached the ground ahead of me.

Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (paperback edition), p210-1

A Well-Scrubbed, Cute Little Boy

“ I couldn’t manage to be anywhere near a nun, let alone a pair of them, without a mind awash in my none-too-pure Jewish thoughts.

Ian Fleming, Diamonds are Forever

Rue de la Pay

“ It was natural to bring out the small change and jerk the handles and watch the lemons and the oranges and the cherries and the bell fruits whirl round to their final click-pause-ting, followed by a soft mechanical sigh. Five cents, ten cents, a quarter. Bond gave them all a try…

September 2003

Charles Darwin, The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals, Chapter 1, General Principles of Expression

Purposeless Remnants of Habitual Movements

“ It is well known that cats dislike wetting their feet, owing, it is probable, to their having aboriginally inhabited the dry country of Egypt; and when they wet their feet they shake them violently. My daughter poured some water into a glass close to the head of a kitten; and it immediately shook its feet in the usual manner; so that here we have an habitual movement falsely excited by an associated sound instead of by the sense of touch.

Edward Lear, Journals of a Landscape Painter in the Balkans

Were it Not for this Protector

“ Not the least annoyance was that given me by the persevering attentions of a mad or fanatic dervish, of most singular appearance as well as conduct. His note of ‘Shaitán‘ was frequently sounded; and as he twirled about, and performed many curious antics, he frequently advanced to me, shaking a long hooked stick, covered with jingling ornaments, in my very face, pointing to the Kawas with menacing looks, as though he would say, “Were it not for this protector you should he annihilated, you infidel!”

August 2003

Robert Graves, I, Claudius

Ask Me Anything

“ The drink was as remarkable as the food, and Caligula became so lively as the meal went on that, deprecating his own generosity to Herod in the past as something hardly worth mentioning, he now promised to give him whatever it lay in his power to grant. “Ask me anything, my dearest Herod,” he said, “And it shall be yours.” He repeated: “Absolutely anything. I swear by my own Divinity that I will grant it.”



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Get fed up with me:

The daily activities most associated with happiness are having sex, socializing after work and having dinner. The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting.

David Brooks

Where man could not unravel he learned to create.

Friedrich Nietzsche

To be pro-Israel is to be pro-hope.

Walter Russell Mead

“You should” is the rudest.


Lettuce become thy pita; spinach thy mince; cucumber thy cracker.


If you foolishly ignore beauty, you’ll soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you wisely invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous. The dawn is my Assyria; the sun-set and moon-rise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faerie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spontaneity requires the trampoline of a plan.


The quickest way to still the mind is to move the body.


How much social capital America gains by its religion of enfranchisement; how stupid can peoples be to ignore this?


Once we’ve spoken the spell is broken.


Sauna: drug-free altered-state pod.


What we learn from the past is to maximize the qualities of our future memories, not necessarily of our future experience.

Daniel Kahneman

Please don’t shouldify every entertainment.


Like many rationalists, I’m a Pisces.

Robin Ince

I’m not passing the buck; this is someone else’s decision.

David Brent

Hubris. Is it believing one is exempt, or knowing one isn’t and proceeding nonetheless?


Sports are the linchpin holding the entire post-war economic order together.

Ben Thompson

Life is not a burden, but we make it one when we refuse to accept things as they are.

Baba Hari Dass

Do I not know what to do?


Five minutes ahead of schedule. Right on schedule.

Dwight Schrute

Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.

Frank Lloyd Wright

The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future.

Daniel Kahneman

Order means delight.


Invert, always invert.

Charlie Munger

We like to do things together even though I think she’s a stupid cunt.

Aaron Livingstone

These small things—nutrition, locality, climate, recreation, the entire casuistry of selfishness—are inconceivably more important than everything that has hitherto been considered important.

Friedrich Nietzsche

The great principle which stands at the beginning of all civilization: any custom is better than none.

Friedrich Nietzsche

When the need arises—and it does—you must be able to shoot your own dog.

Robert A. Heinlein

Smart liberal reporters are probably inclined to think that smart liberal experts are right when they say things the smart liberal reporters already agree with.

Jonah Goldberg

I shun father and mother and wife and brother when my genius calls me.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Entertainment is denial.


Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic; it is a learned ability.

Steve Jobs

A man commonly saunters a little in turning from one sort of employment to another.

Adam Smith

Only artists, and especially those of the theater, have… taught us the art of viewing ourselves as heroes… Perhaps one should concede a similar merit to the religion that made men see the sinfulness of every single individual through a magnifying glass.

Friedrich Nietzsche

We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We need only live enough to write the rest convincingly.


In a modern, liberal society, religious observance does not “take away” choice. It is a choice.

Virginia Postrel

Trust your own maps with your life—or else what?


Long before Israel resembled America, America resembled Israel.

David Gelernter

I have enough of an ego to feel that it merely being my opinion is good enough.

John Scalzi

The illusion of loss is the place [where] we suffer.

Tony Robbins

The most permanent, secure, and durable thing we can possess is a foolproof way to deal with impermanence, insecurity, and surprise.

David Allen

Without all the frills, the human body is quite economical to operate.

Ray Jardine

Keep the cave.


All orthodoxies believe that if you do the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, you will probably end up in possession of the right frame of mind.

Irving Kristol

It’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time.

Clayton M. Christensen

Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The more routine I can make the basic practical aspects of my life, the more I am able to be energetic—and spontaneous—about intellectual and other things.

Stephen Wolfram

I don’t build a house without predicting the end of the present social order.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Instead of doing the right thing, I will try to say it.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Sustaining doubt is harder work than sliding into certainty.

Daniel Kahneman

I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.

Ram Dass

It is much easier to strive for perfection when you are never bored.

Daniel Kahneman

So happiness is a question of framing?


The key characteristic of the logic of strategy is that it’s paradoxical and contradictory right through.

Edward Luttwak

At least things aren’t going so well that I need fear, “From good fortune, disaster.”


Ideas are the currency of life.

James Altucher

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

Paul Graham

Go out of the house to see the moon, and ‘tis mere tinsel; it will not please as when its light shines upon your necessary journey.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be not weary in well doing, for in due time you will reap, if you faint not.


Be free, belong, believe!


The trick is acquiring humility without having become wretched.


My biggest expense? Not billing.


You’re diminutive, for sure.

Brian Greben, to me

Let the day end.


I did nothing. I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.

Peter Gibbons

You only have to discipline yourself long enough to change your standards.

David Allen

The most dangerous way to lose time is not to spend it having fun, but to spend it doing fake work.

Paul Graham

I wake up, read, write, exercise, eat, attend meetings (phone or live), then reverse the process: eat, write, read, and sleep.

James Altucher

To joy, via habituated glee. Or to glee, via habituated joy?


“Losses” evokes stronger negative feelings than “costs”.

Daniel Kahneman

Always carry treats.


A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars; it’s where the rich use public transportation.

Petro Gustavo, Mayor of Bogota

The great secret of education is to use exercise of mind and body as relaxation one to the other.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The very expression ‘scientifically proven’ is a contradiction in terms.

Carlo Rovelli

The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.


Success is due generally to discipline, which is merely action leavened with order.


It’s easier to modify appetites than to curtail them.


He took his work for granted and so he succeeded at it.

Norman Mailer

If I’m facing a choice, I always know I’m standing in the wrong place.

Ram Dass

The difference is psychological tricks.


Anyone who goes to [Beethoven’s] Ninth Symphony then sits down and designs a wallpaper pattern is either a confidence trickster or a degenerate.

Adolf Loos