Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!

  • The test of originality for an idea is not the absence of one single predecessor but the presence of multiple but incompatible ones.

  • Work destroys your soul by stealthily invading your brain during the hours not officially spent working; be selective about professions.

  • Your reputation is harmed the most by what you say to defend it.

  • The most painful moments are not those we spend with uninteresting people; rather, they are those spent with uninteresting people trying hard to be interesting.

  • Usually, what we call a “good listener” is someone with skillfully polished indifference.

  • You exist if and only if you are free to do things without a visible objective, with no justification and, above all, outside the dictatorship of someone else’s narrative.

  • What fools call “wasting time” is most often the best investment. – Decline starts with the replacement of dreams with memories and ends with the replacement of memories with other memories.  
  • You want to avoid being disliked without being envied or admired. – Read nothing from the past one hundred years; eat no fruits from the past one thousand years; drink nothing from the past four thousand years (just wine and water); but talk to no ordinary man over forty.

  • You will be civilized on the day you can spend a long period doing nothing, learning nothing, and improving nothing, without feeling the slightest amount of guilt.

  • They are born, then put in a box; they go home to live in a box; they study by ticking boxes; they go to what is called “work” in a box, where they sit in their cubicle box; they drive to the grocery store in a box to buy food in a box; they go to the gym in a box to sit in a box; they talk about thinking “outside the box”; and when they die they are put in a box. All boxes, Euclidian, geometrically smooth boxes.

  • My only measure of success is how much time you have to kill.  
  • Writing is the art of repeating oneself without anyone noticing.  
  • We unwittingly amplify commonalities with friends, dissimilarities with strangers, and contrasts with enemies.

  • Greatness starts with the replacement of hatred with polite disdain.   
  • People often need to suspend their self-promotion, and have someone in their lives they do not need to impress. This explains dog ownership.   
  • When conflicted between two choices, take neither.   
  • Robust is when you care more about the few who like your work than the multitude who dislike it (artists); fragile when you care more about the few who dislike your work than the multitude who like it (politicians).   
  • Upon arriving at the hotel in Dubai, the businessman had a porter carry his luggage; I later saw him lifting free weights in the gym.   
  • Games were created to give nonheroes the illusion of winning. In real life, you don’t know who really won or lost (except too late), but you can tell who is heroic and who is not. – I suspect that IQ, SAT, and school grades are tests designed by nerds so they can get high scores in order to call each other intelligent.

  • The traits I respect are erudition and the courage to stand up when half-men are afraid for their reputation. Any idiot can be intelligent.  
  • You know you have influence when people start noticing your absence more than the presence of others.

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