Accumulated Wisdom Page

Recommended reading for wisdom and understanding:

  • Zen and the art of motor-cycle maintenence - Robert Pirsig (and the sequel, Lila)
  • The art of war - Sun Tzu
  • Please understand me - Davis Keirsey and Marilyn Bates
  • What they don't teach you at Harvard Business School - Mark McCormack
  • How to win friends and influence people - Dale Carnegie
  • Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - John Gray
  • The problems of philosophy - Bertrand Russell
  • Spiral Dynamics - Don Edward Beck, Christopher C. Cowan
  • The Selfish Gene (and others) - Richard Dawkins
  • A theory of everything - Ken Wilber
  • The 48 laws of power - Robert Greene and Joost Elffers (summary)

    Or, just read the following collection of quotes and thoughts:

    "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but
    World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
    	-- Albert Einstein
    Steinbach's Guideline for Systems Programming
            Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle.
    Leibowitz's Rule:
            When hammering a nail, you will never hit your finger if you
            hold the hammer with both hands.
    The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at
    least until we've finished building it.
    Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find  a rock.
    Ray's Rule of Precision:
            Measure with a micrometer.  Mark with chalk.  Cut with an axe.
    A closed mouth gathers no foot.
    Glib's Fourth Law of Unreliability:
            Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the
            probable cost of errors, or until someone insists on getting
            some useful work done.
    The Roman Rule
            The one who says it cannot be done should never interrupt the
            one who is doing it.
    But in our enthusiasm, we could not resist a radical overhaul of the
    system, in which all of its major weaknesses have been exposed,
    analyzed, and replaced with new weaknesses.
            -- Bruce Leverett, "Register Allocation in Optimizing Compilers"
    If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite
    you.  This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
            -- Mark Twain
    Peace: In international affairs, a period of cheating between two
    periods of fighting.
    Williams and Holland's Law:
            If enough data is collected, anything may be proven by
            statistical methods.
    "When you are in it up to your ears, keep your mouth shut."
    Hoare's law of small problems:
            Inside every small problem is a large problem struggling to get out.
    Jones' First Law: Anyone who makes a significant contribution to any
    field of endeavor, and stays in that field long enough, becomes
    an obstruction to its progress -- in direct proportion to the importance
    of their original contribution.
    A Law of Computer Programming:
    Make it possible for programmers to write in English and you will find
    the programmers cannot write in English.
    A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming
    is not worth knowing.
    A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that
    you will look forward to the trip.
    A classic is something that everybody wants to have read
    and nobody wants to read.
                    -- Mark Twain
    Re graphics: A picture is worth 10K words -- but only those to describe
    the picture. Hardly any sets of 10K words can be adequately described
    with pictures.
    `I have read your article, Mr Johnson, and I am no wiser now than when I
    started'.  -- `Possibly not, sir, but far better informed.'
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
       - Clarke's law
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.
    "Geez.  I'm impressed.  In one short paragraph, you have succeeded
    in leaping in status from Moron-Without-Portfolio, _past_ Insensitive
    Jerk, *beyond* Reprehensible Cretin, and straight to Thing In A Cage
    People Pay Two Bits To Point And Gawk At." -Sarah Kahn, in the Single
    Most Awe-inspiring Flame ever Witnessed
    Artificial Intelligence is the study of how to make real computers
    act like the ones in movies.
    Jury: Twelve people who determine which client has the better lawyer.
    "Einstein argued that there must be simplified  explanations
    of nature, because God is not capricious or arbitrary. 
    No such faith comforts the software engineer."  --Fred Brooks
    "I don't watch television. It's a cultural wasteland filled with
    inappropriate metaphors and an unrealistic portrayal of life created
    by the liberal media elite."
      - unnamed security officer, _Babylon 5_
    Never share a trench with anyone braver than yourself.
    "Just once, I wish we would encounter an alien menace that wasn't
    immune to bullets"
    	-- The Brigader, from Dr. Who
    'I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.' 
    - Bjarne Stroustrup, inventor of the C++ programming language 

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    John Davis Last updated: 1 Feb 2007
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