Witty sayings that I like

Isaac Asimov

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

J M Barrie

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.

John Barrow

Where there’s smoke, there’s smoke.

Samuel Beckett

The bastard!! He doesn’t exist. (referring to God: Hamm in Endgame)

Niels Bohr

It is very difficult to predict — especially the future. [other attributions exist]

William Bruce Cameron

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

Anton Chekhov

When a lot of remedies are suggested for a disease, that means it can’t be cured.

Charles Darwin

Many kinds of monkeys have a strong taste for tea, coffee and spirituous liqueurs.

Paul Dirac

The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way.

Albert Einstein

The less they know about physics, the more they philosophise.

Richard Feynman

If you thought that science was certain – well, that is just an error on your part.

Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.

There’s a big difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.

Sigmund Freud

I can heartily recommend the Gestapo to anyone. [on signing a form allowing him to leave Vienna in 1939 for exile]

J B S Haldane

I suppose the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages: i) This is worthless nonsense, ii) This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view, iii) This is true, but quite unimportant, iv) I always said so.

Two brothers or eight cousins. [when asked whether he would lay down his life for his brother]

Stephen Hawking

I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers. [when asked about his IQ]

‘Big Bill’ Haywood

If one man has a dollar he didn’t work for, some other man worked for a dollar he didn’t get.

Robert Hooke (not that one)

It is commonly believed that anyone who tabulates numbers is a statistician. This is like believing that anyone who owns a scalpel is a surgeon.

Dr Johnson

There is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea.

Abraham Lincoln (attrib.)

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

Groucho Marx

Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.

Somerset Maugham

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.

H L Mencken

For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

Lord Palmerston

Only three people have ever really understood the Schleswig-Holstein business—the Prince Consort who is dead—a German professor, who has gone mad—and I, who have forgotten all about it.

Wolfgang Pauli

The best that most of us can hope to achieve in physics is simply to misunderstand at a deeper level.

That is not even wrong. (Das ist nicht einmal falsch.) (attrib.)

Bertrand Russell

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.

What is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first one is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.

No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor, but honest.

Carl Sagan

If the dinosaurs had had a space program, they would not be extinct.

The Spartans

If. [reply to message from Philip II of Macedonia: “If I invade Lakonia you will be destroyed, never to rise again.”]

Jonathan Swift

Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired.

Silvanus P Thompson

What one fool can do, another can.

(from Calculus Made Easy)

John Wanamaker

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.

P G Wodehouse

Never confuse the unusual with the impossible. (Psmith in Psmith, Journalist)

One of the Georges – I forget which – once said that a certain number of hours’ sleep each night – I cannot recall at the moment how many – made a man something which for the time being has slipped my memory. (Mike and Psmith)