William Somerset Maugham: Success

“The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind.”

-William Somerset Maugham.

William J Bernstein: Delusional crowds

“What separates delusional crowds from wise ones is the extent of their members’ interactions with each other…. The more a group interacts, the more it behaves like a real crowd, and the less accurate its assessments become. Occasionally, crowd interaction becomes so intense that madness results. As put most succinctly by Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘Madness is rare in the individual—but with groups, parties, peoples, and ages it is the rule.’ Mackay also recognized this; perhaps the most famous line in Extraordinary Popular Delusions is ‘Men, it is said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses more slowly, and one by one.’” —William J. Bernstein (“The Delusions Of Crowds”).

Harvey S Firestone: Narrow perspective

“I notice that when all a man’s information is confined to the field in which he is working, the work is never as good as it ought to be. A man has to get a perspective, and he can get it from books or from people — preferably from both. This thing of sleeping and eating with your business can easily be overdone; it is all well enough—usually necessary—in times of trouble but as a steady diet it does not make for good business; a man ought now and then to get far enough away to have a look at himself and his affairs.”

— Harvey S. Firestone.

Gerald Durrell: Habitat

“You cannot begin to preserve any species of animal unless you preserve the habitat in which it dwells. Disturb or destroy that habitat and you will exterminate the species as surely as if you had shot it. So conservation means that you have to preserve forest and grassland, river and lake, even the sea itself. This is not only vital for the preservation of animal life generally, but for the future existence of man himself — a point that seems to escape many people.”

—Gerald Durrell.

Noam Chomsky: Limits of debate

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

-Noam Chomsky.