I’m a fan of interesting things that other people have said. I’ve collected a few of them below. Some are witty, some are wise, and some are funny (for various reasons). I had a web page like this back in college and I looked for the files, but alas, they have been lost to the sands of time and my own carelessness.

I’m going to try to stick to quotes that are off the beaten path. So no Ben Franklin on liberty, Oppenheimer on the atomic bomb, or Kennedy on the arts. This has the added benefit of making the page a bit shorter and easier to update.

I’m also going to try to keep the software development and computer science quotes to a reasonable number, but we’ll see how that goes.

“Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.”

~ Harold Abelson

“Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch?” asked Scrooge.

“There is. My own.”

“Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day?” asked Scrooge.

“To any kindly given. To a poor one most.”

“Why to a poor one most?” asked Scrooge.

“Because it needs it most.”

~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun.

~ Clifford Geertz

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

~ Charles Goodhart

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.

~ Brian Kernighan

I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing. Is it simply self-love? That’s a good thing, but one mustn’t make a virtue of it, or a profession….

~ Estraven, from The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

“Your team’s strength is not a function of the talent of individual members. It’s a function of their collaboration, tenacity, and mutual respect.”

~ Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

A George Lesica joint