Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Solitude is to genius the stern friend. He who should inspire and lead his race must be defended from traveling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions.

Daniel J. Boorstin

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance–it is the illusion of knowledge.

Bertrand Russell

Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.

Bertrand Russell

In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.

John Tukey

It is better to have an approximate answer to the right question than an exact answer to the wrong question.

Enrico Bombieri

When things get too complicated, it sometimes makes sense to stop and wonder: Have I asked the right question?

Bernard Baruch

The ability to express an idea is well nigh as important as the idea itself.

G.K. Chesterton

Man can always be blind to a thing as long as it is big enough.


The man who can think but does not know how to express what he thinks is at the same level as he who cannot think.

Harriet Rubin

Most people think that they need to know a lot about a subject before they speak about it. The challenge of speaking calls up thoughts that you don’t even know are percolating inside your brain. People are unread books. Speaking forces you to say out loud what you know deep inside.

To think deeply, don’t ask questions. Talk about something that you don’t entirely know—and discover … [ Read more ]

Stephanie Overby, Maurice Schweitzer

People automatically associate input related to quantity (how long it takes to make a car) with output quality (how well it performs). While in many cases, input information does directly correspond to outcome, in some cases it does not. Yet humans are hardwired to automatically associate input and output. And people can prey on your input bias, causing you to make poor decisions or judgments … [ Read more ]

Jared Diamond

…the more things you’re interested in and the more you learn, the richer the framework into which you can fit any new thing. So synthesis, if you do it at all, gets professionally easier with time. It’s no surprise that older people can do better at synthesis, because they’ve been learning their entire lives. It’s the opposite of, say, reasoning skills in mathematics. Synthesis increases … [ Read more ]

A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin

In our view, leaders would do well to take a more systematic approach to developing their decision-making capabilities. The place to start is… with intellectual integrity. In common usage, the word integrity means honorable or virtuous behavior. For our purposes, though, we draw a distinction between exhibiting honorable behavior (moral integrity) and exhibiting discipline, clarity, and consistency so that all of one’s decisions fit together … [ Read more ]

Jerry Sternin

It’s is easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your way into a new way of acting.

Clayton Christensen

How can you make sense of the future when you only have data about the past? That’s the role of theory, to look into the future.

Chip Conley

Freeing up the mind is a good way to get to inspiration. We fill our lives with so little space. Inspiration looks for crevices to parachute into. The fewer crevices you create in your life, the less likely you are to have inspiration come through you. You need to allow yourself to be a vessel so that something can come through you.

James Guszcza, David Steier, John Lucker, Vivekanand Gopalkrishnan, Harvey Lewis

The same body of psychological research that underpins behavioral economics also suggests that we are very poor natural statisticians. We are naturally prone to find spurious information in data where none exists, latch on to causal narratives that are unsupported by sketchy statistical evidence, ignore population base rates when estimating probabilities for individual cases, be overconfident in our judgments, and generally be “fooled by randomness.” … [ Read more ]

James Guszcza, John Lucker

Our intuitions can lead us badly astray in a way that is as surprising as it is straightforward. Kahneman identifies two types of mental processes. “Type 1” mental processes are fairly automatic, effortless and place a premium on “associative coherence.” In contrast, “Type 2” mental processes are controlled, effortful and place a premium on logical coherence. Although we fancy ourselves primarily Type 2 creatures, many … [ Read more ]

Daniel Pink

A lot of the power of positive thinking was not built on any evidence. It was built on beliefs, some of which turned out to be right. But it wasn’t guidance from an empirical perspective. [University of North Carolina professor] Barbara Fredrickson has shown that positivity enhances well-being when it’s in the right balance. She has a three-to-one ratio: Your positive emotions should outnumber your … [ Read more ]