• A person who is shy will never learn, and a teacher who is too strict cannot teach . . . and in a place where there are no men, strive to be a man– Rabbi Hillel

  • All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing– War & Peace. Also attributed to Edmund Burke.

  • Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in– Leonardo da Vinci

  • There are only two forces that unite men, fear and interest– Napoleon Bonaparte

  • So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers– Jorge Luis Borges

  • The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution– Hannah Arendt

  • You can always spot the pioneers by the arrows in their back– William H. Calvin

  • The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes– Marcel Proust

  • Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshiping – Hubert Reeves

  • … the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies– Yuval Noah-Harari


  • If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do– Ball, Lucille

  • Andere kochen auch nur mit Wasser (“Others also just cook with water”) – Old German saying.

  • If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions– Albert Einstein.

  • Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come– Victor Hugo


  • Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence– Carl Sagan.

  • To call in the statistician after the experiment is done may be no more than asking him to perform a post-mortem examination: he may be able to say what the experiment died of– Sir R. A. Fisher

  • r-fortunes: #122 (and all the rest actually).

  • Why do we aspire to be second-rate mathematicians when we could be first- rate scientists?– George Box

  • A good notation has a subtlety and suggestiveness which at times make it almost seem like a live teacher– Bertrand Russel

  • While it is easy to lie with statistics, it is even easier to lie without them– Frederick Mosteller

  • The simple idea of splitting a sample into two and then developing the hypothesis on the basis of one part and testing it on the remainder may perhaps be said to be one of the most seriously neglected ideas in statistics.– George A. Barnard

  • Any sample can come from any distribution– Tukey and Trotter.


  • Premature optimization is the root of all evil – Donald Knuth

  • Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it – Kernighan’s law.

And some more, excellent ones, on Jon McAuliffe’s page.