My Favorite Quotes from Books

As I read books, I try to find at least one good quote from each one. Here is my list from the last few decades, taken in chronological order.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart.

Animal Farm, Harper Collins, Kindle Edition
Orwell wrote the book in 1943 during the middle of WWII. No publisher would print it since it criticized the Soviet Union. Orwell wrote a preface (unpublished until 1970) describing the dangers of social censorship and totalitarianism. Here are a few of my favorite passages from his preface, which still resonate today in the struggle to keep democracy alive.

"The British press is extremely centralized, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is 'not done' to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals."

"If the intellectual liberty which without a doubt has been one of the distinguishing marks of western civilisation means anything at all, it means that everyone shall have the right to say and to print what he believes to be the truth, provided only that it does not harm the rest of the community in some quite unmistakable way."

"These people don't see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you."

"If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."


“The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.”

Just a reminder for the real world that our national allies are constantly changing. Some of our worst enemies of WWII, Germany and Japan, are some of our closest allies now.
2034 by Ackerman and Stavridis

No one had listened to her, not from the start. Hendrickson and his cronies on the national security staff had been so certain of their superiority, of their ability to take on any threat, and that overconfidence had backed them into this corner, cutting squares in the South China Sea, waiting for the imminent strike against their homeland.

page 208
In the book, an over-confident America picks a fight that destroys it as a world power. With rapidly changing technologies, it's hard to be certain of superiority.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

"But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them."

page 192
Shared trials and hardships are the fastest way to bond with our fellow humans.

"Always the innocent are the first victims..."

page 272
When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut

"In 1907 [Fritz] Haber was the first to obtain nitrogen, the main nutrient required for plant growth, directly from the air. In this way, from one day to the next, he addressed the scarcity of fertilizer that threatened to unleash an unprecedented global famine at the beginning of the twentieth century. Had it not been for Haber, hundreds of millions of people who until then had depended on natural fertilizers such as guano and saltpetre for their crops would have died from lack of nourishment."

page 27
Haber gave the world an amazing, life saving gift with the process to pull nitrogen from the air. But the nitrogen also allowed Germany to manufacture explosives for the war. Without Haber's process, Germany would not have been able to prosecute the war for lack of nitrogen to make explosives. He also perfected chlorine gas which caused such suffering in the war.

"When Haber returned victorious from the massacre at Ypres [where he supervised the chlorine gas dispersal], Clara accused him of perverting science by devising a method for exterminating human beings on an industrial scale. Haber ignored her: for him, war was war and death was death, regardless of the means of its infliction. He used his two day's furlough to invite his friends to a party that lasted until dawn, and, at its end his wife walked down to the garden, took off her shoes, and shot herself in the chest with her husband's service revolver."

page 26
Stuck in the Present by David George Moore

"True learning involves pain, but if we desire to know the truth, the only wise option is to dig in deeply and constantly put ourselves in a place where we may be proven wrong."

page 66

"Ancient Greek and Roman cultures placed no premium on humility. Personal glory, power, and aggressiveness were valued. Even in the main grouping of classical virtues (justice, courage, self-discipline, and wisdom), we find no mention of humility. In contrast, Christians throughout the ages have trumpeted the importance of cultivating humility."

page 128

"This is the pitfall that I label the "history-as-ammunition" approach - where we approach the past looking for supporting evidence for a position we already hold. Sadly, we can never learn anything at all from the past when that is our motivation." - McKenzie

page 152
Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe

"... the Chamorros [people] thought that there were no other men in the world besides them."

page 228
After Magellan rounded the tip of South America and sailed over the Pacific, he came upon the Marianas islands in 1521 inhabitated by the Chamorros people. They were shocked to see Magellan because they literally thought their island contained all the people in the world.
The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War

"They will welcome war, it will be some much easier than training."

An Israeli general gave this reply when asked why he drove his troops so hard in training.

"Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them." - Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, Dune, Frank Herbert

Reminds me of the inevitable fall of the internet from hacking and the uselessness of high-tech weapons in the presence of hackers.
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann

"In the feud- and faction-ridden Ming court, government policies were often accidental by-products of ministerial intrigues, enacted with little regard for their actual effects."

page 174
Reminds me of US politics.
The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne

"Pooh," said Rabbit kindly, "you haven't any brain."
"I know," said Pooh humbly.

Chapter 7, page 91
"House on Pooh Corner" is all about the triumph of friendship over intelligence. It doesn't matter if you can spell "Tuesday", as long as you are a good faithful friend.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

"If they killed men as they did this fall, the Allies would be cooked in another year. He said we were all cooked, but we were alright as long as we did not know it. We were all cooked. The thing is not to realize it. The last country to realized they were cooked, would win the war."

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention by William Rosen

"A literate population bound by the rule of law and exhibiting middle class behaviors such as deferral of gratification and low levels of corruption is as valuable to a nation as to a business firm."

"... humans are considerably more efficient than most draft animals in converting sunlight into work. An adult human is able to convert roughly 18% of the calories consumed into work, while a hay-burner like a pig or an ox is lucky to hit 10% - one of the reasons for the popularity of slavery throughout history."

"Once a generation of artisans discovered they could prosper from owning even temporarily the fruits of their mental labor they began investing that labor where they saw the largest potential return. Most failed of course but that did not prevent a trickle of inventors from becoming a flood. The virtual inexhaustible source for the raw material the fuel of industrialization had been discovered and Britain was home to the mother lode."

A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel

"History does not move us as much as a couple of anecdotes of success."

The human brain is more suited to looking at individual events rather than a statistical analysis, which is why people are susceptible to being lead to believe in a magic stock-picking theory.
Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe by George Dyson

"Some failures stem from lack of vision, and some failures from too much."

"In 1952 codes were small enough to be completely debugged, but hardware could not be counted on to perform consistently from one kilocycle to the next. This situation is now reversed. How does nature with both sloppy hardware and sloppy coding achieve such reliable results? There is reason to suspect that our predilection for linear codes ... is chiefly a literary habit ... a very efficient language will depart from linearity."

"Sixty some years ago biochemical organisms began to assemble digital computers. Now digital computers are beginning to assemble biochemical organisms. viewed from a distance this looks like part of a life cycle, but which part are biochemical organisms the larvae phase of digital computers or are digital computers the larval phase of biochemical organisms."

"In the MANIAC however cathode ray tubes were the core memory, storing the instructions that drove the operations of the CPU. The use of display for memory was of those discontinuous adaptations of pre-existing features for unintended purposes by which evolution leaps ahead."

"According to Oppenheimer, Tea is where we explain to each other what we do not understand."

The Checklist Manifesto by Dr. Atul Gawande

"Discipline is hard, harder than trustworthiness and skill and perhaps even than selflessness. We are by nature flawed and inconstant creatures. We can't even keep from snacking between meals. We are not built for discipline. We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at."

Gone for Soldiers by Jeff Shaara

"Point is, Mr. Lee, command is all about the minds of the people around you, understanding how they think, how they see you, and how they see themselves. Am I making sense, Mr. Lee?"

page 852
Spoken by Winfield Scott (as envisaged by Jeff Shaara) to then Captain Robert E. Lee during the Mexican-American War, a test bed for the American Civil War.

How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman

"The intermingling of the practical and the intellectual was in fact, a keynote of the Glasgow Enlightenment. It explains why engineer James Watt, who helped build Scotland's first dry dock at Port Flasgow in 1762, was just as highly regarded by university professors such as Adam Smith and Joseph Black as he was by Glasgow's merchants..."

page 168
In building a prosperous country, it's important that practical, constructive labor is highly esteemed.

This, too, made the Scottish Enlightenment unique. At its core was a group of erudite and believing clergymen (unlike the various abbes of the French Enlightenment, who were by and large skeptics, and clerics only as a matter of convenience and income). They resolutely believed that a free and open sophisticated culture was compatible with, even predicated on, a solid more and religious foundation.

page 193

He [Adam Smith] summed up his experience there in his description of the average university as a "sanctuary in which exploded systems and obsolete prejudices find shelter and protection, after they have been hunted out of every other corner of the world."

page 198

He [John Witherspoon] made much the same point in a pastoral letter to all the Presbyterian churches in the colonies, saying that he preferred "war with all its horrors, and even extermination, to slavery, riveted on us and our posterity".

page 246
John Witherspoon, president of Princeton College, was instrumental in fanning the flames of the revolt against the British, but to me he seems to be overstating the case of British rule as slavery.

Edmund Burke, Irishman and Episcopalian, was a strange figure in relation to the Scottish school. He knew many of its members; they heavily influenced his own view of history. But he had rejected their most characteristic conclusion, that the great driving force in the progress of civilization was economic change. Burke insisted it was the other way around: it was the elaborate network of civilized "manners," meaning morality, law, and tradition grown up over generations, that made a system of commercial exchange based on trust possible, and hence human progress possible."

page 272
Burke was respected later for predicting the French Revolution would end badly, when many in England thought it was ushering in a wonderful new era for mankind.

[John Hunter] passed on his great motto, "Don't think, try," to his most famous English student, Edward Jenner.

page 327
I think this is a very important overstatement of what was wrong with science from the Greeks to early modern times. The Greeks would postulate something as being correct, and if it made sense it was accepted as fact. Aristotle said heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones, so everyone believed it until Galileo actually did an experiment. (Edward Jenner is credited with inventing inoculation).
Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M. Barrie

" vain a tabernacle is man...?"

"Now then, bullies," he [Hook] said briskly, "six of you walk the plank to-night, but I have room for two cabin boys. Which of you is it to be?"

"Don't irritate him unnecessarily," had been Wendy's instructions in the hold; so Tootles stepped forward politely. Tootles hated the idea of signing under such a man, but an instinct told him that it would be prudent to lay the responsibility on an absent person; and though a somewhat silly boy, he knew that mothers alone are always willing to be the buffer. All children know this about mothers, and despise them for it, but make constant use of it.

In the old days at home the Neverland had always begun to look a little dark and threatening by bedtime. Then unexplored patches arose in it and spread, black shadows moved about in them, the roar of the beasts of prey was quite different now, and above all, you lost the certainty that you would win. You were quite glad that the night-lights were in. You even liked Nana to say that this was just the mantelpiece over here, and that the Neverland was all make-believe.

Of course Neverland had been make-believe in those days, but it was real now, and there were no night-lights, and it was getting darker every moment, and where was Nana?

page 44
What If... by Robert Cowley (Editor)

"...milliseconds influence centuries."

Code Complete, Second Edition by Steve McConnell

A blanket attempt to avoid mistakes is the biggest mistake of all.

page 852
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

As soon as the three doctors had left the room, the Fairy went to Pinocchio's bed and, touching him on the forehead, noticed that he was burning with fever.
She took a glass of water, put a white powder into it, and, handing it to the Marionette, said lovingly to him:
"Drink this, and in a few days you'll be up and well."
Pinocchio looked at the glass, made a wry face, and asked in a whining voice: "Is it sweet or bitter?"
"It is bitter, but it is good for you."
"If it is bitter, I don't want it."
"Drink it!"
"I don't like anything bitter."
"Drink it and I'll give you a lump of sugar to take the bitter taste from your mouth."
"Where's the sugar?"
"Here it is," said the Fairy, taking a lump from a golden sugar bowl.
"I want the sugar first, then I'll drink the bitter water."
"Do you promise?"
The Fairy gave him the sugar and Pinocchio, after chewing and swallowing it in a twinkling, said, smacking his lips:
"If only sugar were medicine!"

page chapter 17
Deep in our souls don't we join Pinocchio and cry, "If only sugar were medicine."
Prey by Michael Crichton

"We think we know what we are doing. We have always thought so. We never seem to acknowledge that we have been wrong in the past, and so might be wrong in the future. Instead, each generation writes off earlier errors as the result of bad thinking by less able minds - and then confidently embarks on fresh errors of its own."

in the Forward
Salt A World History by Mark Kurlansky

"A Salt is a small but perfect thing."

page 300
A wonderful book about the history of something we take for granted, but in previous history ruled the fates of empires.
Connecting by Larry Crab

"The battle is not to improve our circumstances, to supply us with money, to protect us from suffering, to keep us safe from pain and struggle, or to quickly fix whatever problems develop in our bodies. We are encouraged to pray for all these things, but we must always finish our prayer with that wonderful caveat that in our immaturity we find so annoying: if it be Thy will."

page 172
Blind Man's Bluff by Sherry Sontag et. al.

"If anything can be installed backwards, it will."

Referring to a possible explosion being caused by parts being installed correctly. This also applies to my field of software development. Software needs to be self checking.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

"Software development, like professional sports, has a way of making 3O year old men feel decrepit."

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

"But we have received a sign, Edith - a mysterious sign. A miracle has happened on this farm... in the middle of the web there were the words 'Some Pig'... we have no ordinary pig."

"Well", said Mrs. Zuckerman, "it seems to me you're a little off. It seems to me we have no ordinary spider.

"Oh, no," said Zuckerman. "It's the pig that's unusual. It says so, right there in the middle of the web."

page 80 Chapter 11, "The Miracle"
I like this exchange because it shows how often we as humans really lose focus of the source of the everyday miracles in our lives.
The Persian Expedition by Xenophon, 401BC (Penguin Classics paperback)

The Greeks will give their allegiance to the man whose reason, not his blood, proves his fitness to lead.

page 10

... they came to the Wall of Media. This wall was made of burnt bricks laid in bitumen. It was twenty feet thick, a hundred feet high, and said to be sixty miles long. It is quite close to Babylon.

page 119

The first and most important point is that our oaths to the gods prevent us from being enemies of each other. A man who has his conscience burdened with neglect of such oaths is not a man whom I would ever consider happy. I do not see how one who is an enemy of the gods can run fast enough away, nor where he can flee to escape, nor what darkness

page 123

All these soldiers of ours have their eyes on you, and if they see that you are downhearted they will all become cowards, while if you are yourselves clearly prepared to meet the enemy and if you call on the rest to do their part, you can be sure that they will follow you and try to be like you.

page 145
Xenophon says the above to the freshly elected Generals after the Persians had killed their previous Generals at a "peace" banquet. Not bad advice on any project.

..the gods are judges of the contest, and they will naturally be on our side, since it was our enemies who took their names in vain, while we, with many good things before our eyes, resolutely kept our hands off them because of the oaths we had sworn to the gods. So it seems to me that we can enter the contest with much more confidence than they can.

You are well aware that it is not numbers or strength that bring the victories in war. No, it is when one side goes against the enemy with the god's gift of a stronger morale that their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them.

page 146

Then it was certainly a terrible sight. The women threw their children down from the rocks and then threw themselves after them, and the men did the same. While this was going on Aeneas of Stymphalos, a captain, saw one of them, who was wearing a fine garment, running to throw himself down, and he caught hold of him in order to stop him; but the man dragged him with him and they both went hurtling down over the rocks and were killed.

page 208
Xenophon describes the self-destructive behavior of people whose city has just been taken by the Greeks. Rather than submit to new masters, they killed themselves. Aeneas just proves the old adage, "No good deed goes unpunished." Overall a wonderful book chronicling the exploits of 10,000 Greek soldiers trapped in the middle of Persia in 401BC.
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

"In dealing with history, he added, all sorts of things are possible, but not all possible things are equally probable."

page 40
A good book touching on the basic evidences for the Christian faith.
How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

[Quoting Augustine]
"I carried inside me a cut and bleeding soul, and how to get rid of it I just didn't know. I sought every pleasure - the countryside, sports, fooling around, the peace of a garden, friends, and good company, sex, reading. My soul floundered in the void - and come back upon me. For where could my heart flee from my heart? Where could I escape from myself?"

No one had every talked this way before. If we page quickly through world literature from its beginnings to the advent of Augustine, we realize that with Augustine human consciousness takes a quantum leap forward - and becomes self-consciousness.

page 1
The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks

The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination.

page 7
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp

"He shepherds the child to understand not just the "what" of the child's actions, but also the 'why'".

page xix

"You must learn to work from the behavior you see back to the heart, exposing heart issues for your children. In short, you must learn to engage them, not just reprove them. Help them to see the ways that they are trying to slake their souls' thirst with that which cannot satisfy."

page 6
A very "Crabb" thought.

"When the experts tell you that you must find what works with each child, they are saying you must find the idols of the heart that will move this child."

page 69

"You will never have the hearts of your children if you talk with them only when something has gone wrong."

page 93

"The more you talk with your children, helping them to understand themselves, their temptations, fears and doubts, the more you prepare them to understand life in the world."

page 101

"You must not warn...[of impending discipline]. If you do, you are training them to wait for the warning before they obey. Your children must understand that when you speak for the first time, you have spoken for the last time."

page 151

"...Harold is crippled by needing relationships in an idolatrous manner. Harold must understand that only God can slake the thirst of the soul for relationship."

page 169
Without A Doubt by Marcia Clarke

"...but how can you expect a clown to stop a circus?"

One of her many scathing comments about Judge Lance Ito in the OJ Simpson trial.
Thoughts From the Diary Of A Desperate Man by Walter A. Henrichsen

"Seemingly senseless pain and trauma engulfs much of life. If you seek to follow Him, you must be content to trust His character rather than your ability to understand. The difference between a knife in the hand of an assassin and a knife in the hand of a surgeon is intent: both inflict severe pain. You must decide whether God is an assassin or a surgeon. But remember, your choice does not change God, only your opinion."

page January 12

"If you cannot forgive because of hurt inflicted by others, you will be unwilling to be vulnerable for fear of being hurt again. Because people are sinners, you cannot love and you cannot minister without getting hurt."

"God charges the state with the task of justice, the individual with forgiveness. When the state seeks to be merciful, oppression and injustice reign."

page January 17

"God has no grandchildren. Each follower of Christ must develop his own convictions and perspective."

page January 25
The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

"One never gets used to the idea that there is nothing one can do."

page 394
The book overall was OK. I did appreciate the way that human nature was portrayed in the future as very similar (petty bureaucratic infighting, proud people) to past history.
Peace Child by Don Richardson

"The twins also died. Even if they had both lived, their own father would have killed one of them, in line with Sawi belief that the second twin born is actually an evil spirit..."

I highly recommend this story of the first contact with a primitive tribe in New Guinea. We often think that primitive peoples live in peace and harmony with nature and each other, but in fact the opposite is the norm. (The above quote also applies to the Hawaiian culture, preCook).
Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva J. Dawn

"We scramble after the security of personal status and think that we will be invincible when we have climbed the corporate ladder and demanded human respect - only to discover our perpetual vulnerability."

The Pessimist's Guide to History by Flexner & Flexner

"I will slaughter and cause devastation to my enemy... so my name will live." Genghis Khan.

page 38
The Road Ahead by Bill Gates

"Success is a lousy teacher."

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

How frequently, in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself we seek most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into, is the most dreadful to us, is oftentimes the very means or door of our deliverance, by which alone we can be raised again from the affliction we are fallen into.

The History of the English Speaking Peoples by Winston S. Churchill

Book I
For nearly 400 years Britain became a Roman province. This considerable period was characterized for a great part of the time by that profound tranquility which leaves history little to record. It stands forth sedate, luminous and calm.

What remained [of the Roman times]? noble roads sometimes overgrown with woodlands, the stupendous work of the Roman wall breached and crumbling, fortresses, market towns, country houses, whose very ruins the next comers contemplated with awe.

But of Roman speech, Roman law, Roman institutions, hardly a vestige. Yet we should be mistaken if we supposed that the Roman occupation could be dismissed as an incident without consequence; it had given time for the Christian faith to plant itself.

Chapter 2.
During the hundred years which followed Julius Caesar's invasion, the British Islanders remain unmolested.

No prejudice of race, language or religion obstructed the universal character of the Roman System.

Chapter 3
For nearly 300 years Britain, reconciled to the Roman system, enjoyed in many respects the happiest, most comfortable, most enlightened time the citizens had ever had.

[During the Roman era 100-350ad ] well to do persons in Britain lived better than they ever did until late Victorian times. From the year 400 to the year 1900 no one had central heating and few had hot baths.

Movement across the great empire was as rapid as when Queen Victoria came to the throne and no obstruction of frontiers, laws, currency , or nationalism hindered it. ... British sentinels watched along the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates. Troops from Asia minor peered through the mists at the Scottish raiders...

Although the process of wearing down was spread over many years, and misery deepened by inches, we must recognize in the year 367 circumstances of supreme and murderous horror. In that fatal year the Picts, the Scots, and the Saxons seemed to work in combination. All fell together upon Britannica. The empirical troops resisted manfully... A wide open breach was made in the defenses and murderous hordes poured in upon the fine world of country houses and homesteads; everywhere they were plotted out.

[Barbarians had breached the Rhine defenses and Stilla was fighting them intensely ] The British army, complaining that the province was being neglected, mutined...[They elected Constantine as emperor] Constantine, instead of protecting the island, found himself compelled to defend upon the continent, the titles that he had usurped. He drained Britain of troops and ... set forth.. to try his fortune. [After 3 years of fighting ] he was finally captured and executed. None of the troops who had accompanied him ever returned to Britain. Thus in these fatal years the civilized parts of the island were stripped of their defenders...

[When pressed by Britain for aid against the barbarians the emperor] Onorious could on send his valedictory message in 410 that "the cantons should take steps to defend themselves".

The heathen Saxons invaded Britain about 400. They fought the Christian British but won. The Saxons though eventually became Christian. The whole island was, at least politically Christian around 660ad.

[King] Arthur has been described as the last of the Romans.

The battle of Ashdown justly takes its place among the historic encounters because of the greatness of the issue. If the west Saxons had been beaten all England would have sunk into heathen anarchy.

The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas

"...Luther saw it was the whole man who was corrupt and needed God's forgiveness, not just particular sins that one by one could be erased by proper Church-defined actions. The particular sins were but symptoms of a more fundamental sickness in man's soul that required healing. One could not purchase redemption, step by step, through good works or through the legalisms of penance or other sacraments, not to mention the infamous indulgences. Only Christ could save the whole man, and only man's faith in Christ could justify man before God."

page 235

"Every age must remember its history anew."

Iliad by Homer, book XV

Achians and Trojans cut each other down at close quarters, no longer having patience for the volleys exchanged with bows and javelins, but stood up close against each of other, matching their fury and fought their battles with sharp hatchets and axes and with great swords...

I listened to this on tape and enjoyed hearing about the passion the Greeks had for their struggles. It reminded me sadly of the lack of passion I so often have in my life.
God in the Pits by Mark A. Ritchie

"Let us face the brute facts; the lottery is supported with the grocery money of hungry children."

page 203
Overall a good book, a little uneven at times, but a good description of a man struggling to serve God in the Chicago Board of Trade Commodity pits.
All the Trouble in the World by P.J. O'Rourke

"Professor Amartya Sen says, 'There has never been a famine in any country that's been a democracy with a relatively free press. I know of no exception. It applies to very poor countries with democratic systems as well as to rich ones.'"

page 94
I enjoyed the book. O'Rourke exposes many of the myths about development in the third world and the environmental movement. The ending of the book is just awful.
Marine Sniper by Charles Henderson

"It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with the sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause... his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." - quoting --Theodore Roosevelt, "Man in the Arena" Speech (April 23, 1910)

The God Particle by Leon Lederman

"In classical science we stress the importance of replicating experiments. In the quantum world, we can replicate everything except the result."

page 180

"The fine-structure constant also answers to the name alpha, and it can be arrived at by taking the square of the charge of the electron divided by the speed of light times Planck's constant. What all that verbiage means is that one number, 137, contains the crux of electromagnetism (the electron), relativity (the velocity of light), and quantum theory (Planck's constant). It would be less unsettling if the relationship between all these important concepts turned out to be on or three or maybe a multiple of pi. But 137?"

page 28
( alpha = 2(pi)e^2/hc)
The Gripping Hand by Niven and Pournell
The Mote in God's Eye by Niven and Pournell

"Humans appear to respect admission of truth contrary to interests."

Give War A Chance by P.J. O'Rourke

"East Germany was so total in its totalitarianism that everything that was not forbidden was compulsory."

Point Man by Steve Farrar

"The choices that you make with your family today will determine the quality of life in your family tree for generations to come."

The Andromeda Strain by M. Crichton

"...increasing vision is increasingly expensive."

I love Crichton's ideas for books. He's original and a great writer, but his endings are very unsatisfying. [ Spoiler alert:] In this case, all the millions of virus particles suddenly mutate into a benign form. I can understand some of them mutating, but an entire cloud of virus all mutating? Sphere was the same thing - cool story, great imagination and the ending just petered out.
The Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor

"My own experience is that for human beings certainty does not exist, has never existed, will not - in our finite states..."

page 94

"I desire above [all] that truth not be overcome in my hands." quoting Pascal

page 144

"Alex silenced the radio with a hand. Pulling the blankets over his head, he mourned with a painful heart the thinness of his life."

page 120

"The supernatural potential of Christians laboring to establish the kingdom of God together is so great that the reality of life in the typical church is both depressing and comic by comparison."

page 108
The Minister's Restoration by George McDonald

"But I simply cannot believe ye love God wi'all yer heart.
An' that is what matters most o'all in this."
"But dare you say that for yorself, Margaret?"
"No. But I do want to love God wi' my whole heart."

page 95
Neuromancer by William Gibson

"Anybody any good at what they do, that's what they are, right?"

page 50
Men and Women by Larry Crabb

"The greatest obstacle to building truly good relationships is [a feeling of ] justified self-centeredness, a selfishness that, deep in our souls, feels entirely reasonable..."

page 65
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

"A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there... Your whole life has the same shape as a single day."

page 171
The mathematician's description of fractals. I really got annoyed at his character for taking chaos theory to where it should not go.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

"... power will always end up with the sort of people who crave it..."

page 262
Good book, fast moving, interesting. A good quote too when you think about people like Stalin - too bad the good, decent people normally don't end up ruling.

"There are maybe two or three thousand people in the world as smart as us, little sister."

page 140
Understanding People by Larry Crabb

"The degree to which we openly express our feelings should be governed, not by fear of reprisal, but by our commitment to loving others."

page 187

"... people who deny how they feel typically are unable to enter and touch another person's life deeply."

page 186

"Behavior will feel like a choice to the degree that the goal of the behavior is recognized."

page 164

"A biblical view of responsibility requires that we see people as moving in a chosen direction toward a valued endpoint.

page 159
I really liked this book and it has had a significant impact in my life (not that you could tell from the number of quotes I listed.)
The Lazlo Letters by Lazlo Toth to Sammy Davis Jr.

"I've liked you ever since you were in the Little Rascals."

The Art of War, chapter 1, v.17 by Sun Tzu

"All warfare is based on deception."

Life and Campaigns of Lt. General T.J. (Stonewall) by R.L. Dabney

"Let us pass over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."

page 723
Stonewall Jackson's last words. Possibly an unknowing reference to passing over the Jordan into the promised land? This book was actually written before the end of the War Between the States.

"Has God taken the good man away from the evil to come?"

page 727

"The Federal is rarely found deficient in anything which cunning or diligence can supply; his defect is in the manhood of the soldiery."

page 713

"If it were in my power to replace my arm, I would not dare to do it, unless I could know it was the will of my Heavenly Father."

"... I think [it was] the most delightful physical sensation I ever enjoyed. I had enough consciousness to know what was doing; and at one time thought I heard the most delightful music that ever greeted my ears. I believe it was the sawing of the bone."

page 696
Jackson speaking of the influence of the new drug chloroform during the amputation of his arm.

"Duty is ours: consequences are God's."

page 654
a favorite maxim of Jackson's

"It must also be declared that this inability to reap the fruits of their heroic exertions arose partly from the lack of persistence which is the infirmity of the Southern character.

page 475

"It was indeed seldom that these officers were guilty of cowardice upon the field of battle; but they were often in the wrong place, fighting as common soldiers, when they should have been directing others."

page 301
Speaking of Southern officers. I thought about this alot while being a project manager.
Star Warriors by William J. Broad

"Stalin's concentration camps were the only place in Russia where people could really criticize the state. Freedom came only in captivity."

page 116
They Went That-a-way by Malcom Forbes

"The only thing remarkable about the death of Elvis Presley is that it didn't seem to slow up his career at all."

Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

"... just because we can't hear them doesn't mean they aren't there."

Your Temperament: Discover Its Potential by Tim LaHaye

"The unexcited good humor of the phlegmatic keeps him from being intensely involved with life so that he can often see humor in the most mundane experiences. He seems to have a superb inborn sense of timing in the art of humor and a stimulating imagination."

Castle Roogna by Piers Anthony

"The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward."

page 46
Eyewitness to History by Carey

"... we shall triumph over the enemy rather in suffering than in fighting, for we came to suffer, not to resist." quoting Thomas Becket, Dec 29, 1170AD

A wonderful book for giving just little tidbits of history from the originals sources. I was surprised at the quality of the sources, especially the ones from a millennium ago.
A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony

"... but of course that was the thing about information. Without it, a person suffered enormous complications."

page 142
One Day in a Long War by Mike Van Wagener

"There was so much going on it was impossible to comprehend everything. The human mind cannot take that many inputs, so it rules out a lot of them. The radar seemed to go quiet, the radar warning gear went quiet, everything appeared to go quiet as I tracked the Doumer Bridge..."

Know Why You Believe by Paul Little

"Believing something doesn't make it true; refusing to believe it doesn't make it false."

page 10
The Postman by David Brin
A good post-Apocalypse story
The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll
An interesting story of how an Astronomer catches an East block spy, while most people don't care that the spy is there.
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

"One of the compensations for wearing a uniform and earning less money than an equally talented man can make in the real world is the off chance of being killed."

page 256
Phantom Over Vietnam by John Trotti

"Plateaus in the learning curve occur when you are married to a perspective that allows no growth."

page 199
The Ultimate Entrepreneur by Metcalfe

"The Christian and the scientist should always seek the truth." - Ken Olsen

page 105

"A characteristic of many successful people is that they prefer being right over being consistent."

page 181
Inside Out by Larry Crabb

"No matter how together we may appear, even to ourself, buried deep within our heart is the vague sense that something is wrong, dreadfully wrong."

page 29
Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy

"No taskmaster is harsher than one's own self-expectations."

page 316
Never Give It Up by Shelia Walsh

"God is not a talent scout; He is looking for obedient loving hearts."

page 136

"Often our feelings lie beneath the surface,
Hidden by the smiles we wear upon our faces;
emotions are concealed,
we bear our sorrows on our own,
Grown-ups only cry when they're alone."
- Noel Richards,

The Conquest of Gaul, chapter 6 by Julius Caesar

"Much depends on fortune, in war, as in all other things"

"It is nearly always invisible dangers that are most terrifying"

Hackers by Stephen Levy

" It's your life story if you're a mathematician: every time you discover something neat, you discover that Gauss or Newton knew it in his crib." - Bill Gosper

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

"Andy," said Sam, "you's a promisin' child, der an't no manner o' doubt. I thinks lots of yer, Andy; and I don't feel no ways ashamed to take idees from you. We oughtenter overlook nobody, Andy, cause the smartest on us gets triped up sometimes."

Men and Atoms 1959 by William L. Laurence

"For in the nuclear [fission] reactor.. man has at last all the energy he needs to create wealth and leisure and spiritual satisfaction in such abundance as to eliminate forever any reason for one nation to covet the wealth of another."

(A slightly optimistic viewpoint about the future of commercial nuclear power.)
Cortes and the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards in 1521 by Bernal Diaz del Castillo

"A lake of clearest water was joined to the grand lake of Mexico by a channel capable of admitting the largest canoes. All was ornamented, painted, and admirably plastered and delightful with singing birds. When I beheld the scenes around me I thought within myself, this was the garden of the world. And of all the wonders I beheld that day, Nothing now remains. All is overthrown and lost."

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

"Hippies weren't really offering any alternatives other than short-term ones, and some of these were looking more and more like pure degeneracy. Degeneracy can be fun but it's hard to keep up as a serious lifetime occupation."

"The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there."

"If you have a high evaluation of yourself then your ability to recognize new facts is weakened. Your ego isolates you from ... reality"

Clark Pinnock

"It's an old rule of logic that the competence of a speaker has no relevance to the truth of what he says, ... The world's biggest fool can say the sun is shining, but that doesn't make it dark out."

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

We shall be sorry to part with him [their guide, Fergeson]. We have enjoyed his society very much. We trust he has enjoyed ours, but we are harassed with doubts.

A witty book, full of wry comments on the Americans and Europeans. Twain went on his trip shortly after the Civil War (Southerners read: War Between the States) and helped spark the "Let's-Go-To-Europe" vacation.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville

"Oh, God! to sail with such a heathen crew that have small touch of human mothers in them."

"... he is chased over the watery moors,
and slaughtered in the valleys of the deep."

describing the hunting of the whale

"Our souls are like those orphans
whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them;
the secret of our paternity lies in their grave
and we must there to learn it"

The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History by Colin McEvedy

" The main objection to this type of hypothesis is that it is untestable; it may be the simplest explanation of the known facts but, events being often complex and redundant, it does not necessarily follow that it is the right one."

I really liked this book. Colin gives a wonderful overview of early history.
Who Speaks for God by Chuck Colson

"The quiet, often unnoticed actions of ordinary Christians who believe and obey, speak far more loudly than all the bombast of so-called religious leaders"

The Confessions by St. Augustine

"As if any enemy could be more hurtful than the hatred with which he is incensed against him; or could wound more deeply him whom he persecutes, than he wounds his own soul by his enmity."

page 24
Interactions by Sheldon L. Glashow

"The eternal mystery of the universe is its understandability." -Albert Einstein

Inside Out by Larry Crabb

"We were designed to love and when we do, something good develops inside. We feel clean, rich, whole. Even better, we become less concerned with how we feel and more concerned with the lives of others."

page 120
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.

"... I generally find great myths are great precisely because they represent and embody great universal truths..."

page 91
The Confessions by St. Augustine

"But what then if the memory itself loses anything, as falls out when we forget and seek that we may recollect? Where in the end do we search, but in the memory itself? and there if one thing be perchance offered instead of another, we reject it, until that we seek meets us; and when it doth, we say 'This is it' ".

Connections by James Burke

"To oversimplify the case: in China gunpowder propelled arrows, and even exploded grenades; in the West it destroyed cities."

page 68
The Life and Times of Napoleon by Enso Orlandi

"Soldiers, forty centuries look down upon you."

Napoleon pointing to the Pyramids of Egypt
Das Kapital by Karl Marx

"Perseus wore a magic cap that the monsters he hunted down might not see him. We draw the magic cap down over our eyes and ears as a make believe that there are no monsters."

While in grad school I wanted to read the seminal work on the political system that enslaved almost half the world. It is incredible dull - how it could launch a revolution I just don't know. I couldn't make it past the first chapter, but did find this good quote in the preface.
Military Anecdotes by Lt. Col. J. Enoch Powell quoted in

"Oh, the malice - the cursed, diabolical malice of inanimate objects!"

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis

"It is not a theory they put into his mind [the young student's], but an assumption, which ten years hence, its origin forgotten and its presence unconscious, will condition him to take one side in a controversy which he has never recognized as a controversy at all."

page 16,17
Selling of the Presidency 1968 by Gavin

" Reason requires a high degree of discipline, of concentration; impressionism is easier."

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

"Never pass up new experiences [Scarlett], They enrich the mind." - Rhett Butler

"Southerners can never resist a losing cause." - Rhett Butler

"But, no matter what sights they [the defeated Southern aristocracy] had seen, what menial tasks they had done and would have to do, they remained ladies and gentlemen, royalty in exile..."

Dune by Frank Herbert

"Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."

"When Spice production stops, all eyes will turn to Arakkis."

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

"Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison, and are so afraid of being taken in [be trickery] that they cannot be taken out."

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis

"The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts."

Reason Enough by Clark Pinnock

"The loss of faith is no trivial passing from illusion to rationality. It is a revolutionary shift in consciousness; we move out of an orientation in which the world is held together and makes sense and into an orientation where nothingness and desolation cast their shadow across our path."

Set Forth Your Case by Clark Pinnock

"American Sunday School humanism is a menace to Christianity."

The Kneeling Christian by ?

"Satan laughs at our work, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray."

Marco Polo by Richard Humble

"...his friends urged the dying man [Marco] to take back some of the most obvious exaggerations he had made about his experience, lest he meet his Maker with lies on his conscience. To which Marco murmured: `I never told the half of what I saw...'"

In his book on his travels, Marco Polo describes, among other things, giant birds that swoop down and carry off elephants. (He was not widely regarded for his veracity).
Roughing It by Mark Twain

"... many a man lives a long life through, thinking he believes certain universally received and well established things, and yet never suspects that if he were confronted by those things once, he would discover that he did not really believe them before, but only thought he believed them."

page 85
about seeing snow on the Rockies in August

"It is chloroform in print."

about a particularly boring book. 102

"So I learned then, once for all, that gold in its native state is but dull, `unornamental stuff, and that only lowborn metals excite the admiration of the ignorant with an ostentatious glitter."

page 163

"He ... steadfastly believed that the first and last aim and object of law and lawyers was to defeat justice."

page 266