(Had Vincent succeeded? She felt by any rational measure she was living an extraordinary life, but on the other hand she wasn’t sure what the goal had been. later she stood alone on the terrace, filming the Mediterranean, and thought, Maybe this could be enough. Maybe not everyone needs to have a specific ambition. ic ould be the sort of person who just goes to beautiful places and owns beautiful things. Maybe I could film five-minute videos of every sea and every ocean and perhaps there would be some meaning in that project, some kind of completion.)

It wasn’t the romance of the century, but it didn’t have to be; if you genuinely enjoy someone’s company, she’d been thinking lately, if you enjoy your life with them and don’t mind sleeping with them, isn’t that enough? Do you have to actually be in love for a relationship to be real, whatever real means, so long as there’s respect and something like a friendship?

Anyway, it wasn’t just that. I was having one of those moments, where you look at your life and think, Is this really it? I thought there’d be more.

What kept her in the kingdom was the previously unimaginable condition of not having to think about money, because that’s what money gives you: the freedom to stop thinking about money. If you’ve never been without, then you won’t understand the profundity of this, how absolutely this changes your life.


My staff called it the family prayer. You have to thank another team for something that happened last week. You can’t thank yourself, and you can’t repeat what someone else said.

When a leader can get people past being passive-aggressive, then heated but honest arguments can happen.

… when it is called “debate” rather than “disagreement,” participants are more likely to share information.

When she was discussing a decision with her team, she always had to be the last person to speak. You may know the answer and you may be right, but when you just blurt it out, you have robbed the team of the chance to come together. Getting to the right answer is important, but having the whole team get there is just as important.

You tell the engineers the problem the consumer has. You give them the context of who the consumer is. Then let them figure out the features. They will provide you with a  far better solution than you’ll ever get by telling them what to build.

When you fire someone, you feel terrible for about a day, then you say to yourself that you should have done it sooner. No one ever succeeds at their third chance.

A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.

Often, when people ask for advice, all they are really asking for is approval.

Saying what you really think in a way that still lets people know you care.

It is often the highest-performing people who feel the most alone. They usually have more interdependent relationships but feel more independent and separate from others.

… power creates a subjective sense of separation and distinctiveness from others


One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious, as in It’s a nice day, or You’re very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you all right?

“Now it is such a bizarrely improbably coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the nonexistence of God.”

“The argument goes something like this: ‘I refuse to prove that I exist’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'”

“But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exists, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”

“Oh dear,” thought God. “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

“Oh that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

The main reason he had had such a wild and successful life was that he never really understood the significance of anything he did.

One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn’t be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn’t understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid. He was renowned for being amazingly clever and quite clearly was so – but not all the time, which obviously worried him, hence the act. He preferred people to be puzzled rather than contemptuous. This above all appeared to Trillian to be genuinely stupid, but she could no longer be bothered to argue about it.

became increasingly obsessed with he problem of what had happened to all the ballpoints he’d bought over the past few years.

For particulars, as everyone knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils.

Ending is better than mending.

I’m thinking of a queer feeling I sometimes get, a feeling that I’ve got something important to say and the power to say it – only I don’t know what it is, and I can’t make any use of the power.

Bernard, by this time, was fast asleep and smiling at the private paradise of dreams. Smiling, smiling. But inexorably, every thirty seconds, the minute hand of the electric clock above his bed jumped forward with an almost imperceptible click. Click, click, click, click … And it was morning. Bernad was back among the miseries of space and time. It was in the lowest spirits that he taxied across to his work at the Conditioning Centre. The intoxication of success had evaporated; he was soberly his old self; and by contrast with the temporary balloon of these last weeks, the old self seemed unprecedently heavier than the surrounding atmosphere.


The urge to excel and the urge to lead aren’t the same. Sometimes I think they may be opposites.

You could tell a lot about a society by what topics of conversation came up.

Beauty was the promise of happiness, not happiness itself; and the anticipated world was often more rich than anything real. but this time who could say? This time might be the golden one at last.

Mutual professional respect, a great maker of friendships.

People didn’t understand that true intimacy did not consist of sexual intercourse, which could be done with strangers and in a state of total alienation; intimacy consisted of talking for hours about what was most important in one’s life.

So probably she would not want to find any such evidence. Would that disinclination bias her work? Well, sure. If not consciously, then deeper. Consciousness was just a thin lithosphere over a big hot core, after all. Detectives had to remember that.


Like a drowning man clutching a straw, my inborn optimism clung to this thought: These prisoners look quite well, they seem to be in good spirits and even laugh. Who knows? I might manage to share their favorable position.

I think it was Lessing who once said, “There are things which must cause you to lose your reason or you have none to lose.” An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.

I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner, who threw himself about in his sleep, obviously having a horrible nightmare. Since I had always been especially sorry for people who suffered from fearful dream or deliria, I wanted to wake the poor man. Suddenly I drew back the hand which was ready to shake him, frightened at the thing I was about to do. At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounds us, and which I was about to recall him.

For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”


And it is rare for sons to be like fathers; only a few are better, most are worse

There is no harm in mourning when a person dies; it is the only honor we can pay the dead – to cut our hair and drench our cheeks with tears.

So may the gods grant all your heart’s desires, a home and husband, somebody like-minded. For nothing could be better than when two live in one house, their minds in harmony, husband and wife. Their enemies jealous, their friends delighted, and they have great honor.

So you must never treat your wife too well. Do not let her know everything you know. Tell her some things, hide others.

I would prefer to be a workman, hired by a poor man on a peasant farm, than rule as king of all the dead.


There comes a point

when someone repeats a “fact” so often that the legitimacy of the “fact” becomes suspect. If it’s really that obvious and true, why must you keep declaring it? 

I had a little pride, as I have said, and that was good. More would have been fatal.

Each spell was a mountain to be climbed anew. All I could carry with me from last time was the knowledge that it could be done.

“Tell me,” he said, “who gives better offerings, a miserable man or a happy one?”

“A happy one, of course.”

“Wrong,” he said. “A happy man is too occupied with his life. He thinks he is beholden to no one. But make him shiver, kill his wife, cripple his child, then you will hear from him. He will starve his family for a month to buy you a pure-white yearling calf. If he can afford it, he will buy you a hundred.

“Can no one stop her?”

“Zeus could, or your father, if they wished to. But why would they? Monsters are a boon to gods. Imagine all the prayers.


The men had built up a backlog of shared experiences that offset the vast differences between them.

Nevertheless, there was a remarkable absence of discouragement. All the men were in a state of dazed fatigue, and nobody paused to reflect on the terrible consequences of losing their ship. Nor were they upset by the fact they were now camped on a piece of ice perhaps 6 feet thick. It was a haven compared with the nightmare of labor and uncertainty of the last few days on Endurance. It was quite enough to be alive – and they were merely doing what they had to do to stay that way.

There was even a trace of mild exhilaration in their attitude. At least, they had a clear-cut task ahead of them. The nine months of indecision, of speculation about what might happen, of aimless drifting with the pack were over. Now they simply had to get themselves out, however appalling difficult that might be.

From studying the outcome of past expeditions, he believed that those that burdened themselves with equipment to meet every contingency had fared much worse than those that had sacrificed total preparedness for speed.