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, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

— Robert Heinlein

There is nothing, I think, in which the power of art is shown so much as in playing on the fiddle. In all other things we can do something at first. Any man will forge a bar of iron, if you give him a hammer; not so well as a smith, but tolerably. A man will saw a piece of wood, and make a box, though a clumsy one; but give him a fiddle and a fiddle-stick, and he can do nothing.

- Samuel Johnson in Boswell’s Life of Johnson

Students should synthesize as they listen. This is not a “passive” learning experience, and it cannot be replicated by asking students to watch videotaped lectures online: the temptations of the Internet, the safeguard of the rewind button and the comforts of the dorm-room sofa are deadly to the attention span.

- Molly Worthen

Pablo Casals, who performed at the UN recently, is 81. He agreed to have Robert Snyder make a movie short, “A Day in the Life of Pablo Casals.  Snyder asked Casals, the world’s foremost cellist, why he continues to practice four and five hours a day. Casals answered: “Because I think I am making progress.”

- Leonard Lyons on Pablo Casals

M K Fisher on who to invite to dinner:

"A good combination would be one married couple, for warm composure; one less firmly established, to add a note of investigation to the talk; and two strangers of either sex, upon whom the better-acquainted diners could sharpen their questioning wits….(two beautiful, one intelligent, three of correlated professions such as architecture, music and photography).”

- M K Fisher, The Art of Eating

One walking with me observed, with some emphasis, “I do not believe as you do. I am
an Agnostic.” “Oh,” I said to him. “Yes. That is a Greek word, is it not? The Latin
word, I think, is ignoramus.” He did not like it at all. Yet I only translated his
language from Greek to Latin. These are queer waters to get into, when all your
philosophy brings you is the confession that you know nothing, and the stolidity
which enables you to glory in your ignorance.

- Spurgeon

Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody else to benefit from his experience?

- Thomas J. Watson, former Chairman and CEO of IBM (1874-1956)