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Random Musings

Oscar Wilde:

Where there is no exaggeration there is no love, and where there is no love there is no understanding. It is only about things that do not interest one, that one can give a really unbiased opinion; and this is no doubt the reason why an unbiased opinion is always valueless.


Henry Blodget:

Once we form opinions, we tend to overvalue information that reinforces them and undervalue information that undermines them (conservatism bias). We even tend to seek out supporting information (confirmatory bias). Thus, we irrationally cling to incorrect conclusions, and, to paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel, hear what we want to hear and disregard the rest.


Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google):

You learn when people talk.... You don't learn very much when you yourself are talking.


Peggy Noonan:

You can get so well educated in America that your thoughts become detached from common sense. You can get so complicated in your thinking that the obvious isn't real to you anymore.


From George Orwell's 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language:


Milton Friedman (1975):

The maintenance of a free society is a very difficult and complicated thing. And it requires a self-denying ordinance of the most extreme kind. It requires a willingness to put up with temporary evils on the basis of the subtle and sophisticated understanding that if you step in to try to do them, you not only may make them ... worse, but you will spread your tentacles and get bad results elsewhere....


The argument for collectivism, for government doing something is simple. Anybody can understand it. If there's something wrong, pass a law. If somebody is in trouble, get Mr. X to help him out. The argument for a free - for voluntary cooperation, for a free market is not nearly so simple. It says, you know, if you allow people to cooperate voluntarily and don't interfere with them, indirectly through the operation of the market, they will improve matters more than you can improve it directly by appointing somebody. That's a subtle argument, and it's hard for people to understand,


From Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human: Not suited to be a party man

He who thinks a great deal is not suited to be a party man: he thinks his way through the party and out the other side too soon. (Volume 1, section 579)


Steve Martin (with similar quotes by Elvis Costello and others - see this update):

Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.