Psychology quotes 201 to 250

  1. ‘Their experiment, the authors write, suggests that when we do something with another person, we pay more attention to that experience than we would if we weren’t sharing it, even though we now have somebody else to think about.’ Anna North
  2. ‘You and your friend are listening to Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring.’ Thoughts about this piece of music are now intertwined with thoughts about your friend. Even though you are both focused on the melody, you are also highly aware of one another. Thinking about your friend and his or her mind might therefore cause you to think more about the ‘Rite of Spring,’ because that is also what is on his or her mind.’ Anna North
  3. ‘The research distinguishes between sharing or ‘self-disclosure,’ which is associated with positive friendships and positive feelings, and dwelling on problems, concerns and frustrations. Dwelling and rehashing issues can keep girls, who are more prone to depression and anxiety than boys, stuck in negative thinking patterns, psychologists say.” Anna North
  4. ‘Our research suggests that doing an unpleasant task together can make it worse,” she explained, “but that we can get relief from the negativity if the person we’re with is instead focused on a different task. In other words, what really matters for experience amplification seems to be the locus of the other person’s attention. If someone else is attending to the same thing you are, your experience will be more intense than if that person is attending to something else.” Erica J. Boothby
  5. ‘We cannot cure existential anxiety, but we can show that there is no necessity to have big ideas worth dying for in order to find small pleasures worth living for.’ Adam Gopnik
  6. ‘When you are alone you have to face all your problems alone – there’s no one to discuss them with. But in all the time that I have spent alone, I have never felt lonely. I had so many things that I wanted to see. I loved it so much, doing things in my own rhythm, drifting along streets and looking at things just as I wanted to. It is a great luxury.’ Dorothea Bluemer
  7. ‘When we’re inactive or slow down the pace at which we live, we can’t help thinking of features of our lives we’d prefer to forget – above all, the fact that we’re going to die. By being always on the move and never leaving ourselves without distraction, we can avoid such disturbing thoughts.’ John Gray
  8. ‘Blaise Pascal (a Mathematician) suggested that humans are driven by a need for diversion. A life that’s always time-pressed might seem a recipe for unhappiness, but in fact the opposite is true. Human beings are much more miserable when they have nothing to do and plenty of time in which to do it.’ John Gray
  9. “It’s the principle of reciprocity. If someone does something for you and you feel obliged to do something back. It’s the same principle that marketing people use when they give you free samples.” Sandy Mann, on why giving free food to employees might increase their productivity
  10. ‘Maslow described a “hierarchy of needs” for human beings. The most basic are physiological – including food and shelter – and a feeling of safety. If these are taken care of, employees can move on to the next stages – feeling socially accepted and gaining a sense of self-esteem. Once freed of such ordinary human concerns, Maslow argued, they can progress to “self-actualisation” – a full-on commitment to their work which leaves them feeling fulfilled.’ Justin Parkinson
  11. ‘From then onwards (after detesting aristocracy), Dostoyvesky realised that human life was not a movement from a backward past to a better future, as he had believed or half-believed when he shared the ideas of the radical intelligentsia. Instead, every human being stood at each moment on the edge of eternity.’ John Gray
  12. ‘Dostoyevsky suggests that the result of abandoning morality for the sake of an idea of freedom will be a type of tyranny more extreme than any in the past.’ John Gray
  13. ‘So rather than trying to override your decision-making impulses on splurging on expensive items, a better strategy might be to try to change them. And recent research suggests that an effective way to do that is by cultivating the emotion of gratitude.’ David DeSteno
  14. ‘Findings show is that certain emotions can temporarily enhance self-control by decreasing desires for immediate gratification. While feeling happy doesn’t do much to increase patience, feeling grateful does.’ David DeSteno
  15. ‘Working longer, in other words, only guarantees achieving more if you’re confident that every minute is well spent.’ Gaby Hinsliff
  16. ‘Are you really, really happy or are you just comfortable?’ Unknown
  17. ‘A friend with a degree in positive psychology and who is a “psychotherapist and resilience coach” distinguishes between two ideas of happiness: hedonism and eudaimonia. The first is defined by pleasure and consumption, the second by virtue and excellence. Hedonism is a source of fleeting feelings of pleasure, but it ultimately fuels dissatisfaction. Eudaimonia, by contrast, is the idea of human flourishing, of how human beings thrive when they choose certain ways of living. A central concept in Aristotle’s Ethics, it is about the good life as an end to strive for, not as a thing to possess or consume.’ Lydia Lim, a ST editor
  18. ‘The more we learn, the more we are able, by linking our areas of knowledge together, to come up with creative ideas…Thus the more we know, the more we can create.’ Philippa Perry (How to Stay Sane)
  19. ‘It has been an important experience to see how people can take ordinary things and transform them into meaningful symbols. We can create aesthetic experiences — not only aesthetic, but ecstatic — by paying attention to what’s around us, finding the beauty in things that you normally pass over.’ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  20. ‘Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to be heroes overnight. Just a step at a time. Meeting each thing that comes up. Seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared. Discovering we have the strength to stare it down.’ Eleanor Roosevelt
  21. ‘We can’t live outside time, we begin to age the moment we’re born. But the emerging age-acceptance movement neither decries nor denies the aging process. It recognizes that one can remain vital and present, engaged and curious, indeed continue to grow, until one’s dying breath.’ Anne Karpf
  22. ‘When alternatives are on a par, when the world doesn’t determine a single right thing to do, that doesn’t mean that value writ large has been exhausted. Instead of looking outward to find the value that determines what you should do, you can look inward to what you can stand behind, commit to, resolve to throw yourself behind. By committing to an option, you can confer value on it.’ Ruth Chang
  23. ‘When we choose between options that are on a par, we make ourselves the authors of our own lives. Instead of being led by the nose by what we imagine to be facts of the world, we should instead recognize that sometimes the world is silent about what we should do. In those cases, we can create value for ourselves by committing to an option.’ Ruth Chang
  24. ‘Writing about your feelings, a practice long embraced by teenagers and folk singers, is now attracting attention as a path to good health. And a recent study suggests that reflecting on your emotions could help you get over a breakup.’ Anna North
  25. ‘There’s a really delicate balance between avoiding and getting over-involved for every stressful event, and so you touch on it, you think about it, you put it out there, you reflect, and then you sort of create some distance.” Dr. Sbarra
  26. ‘Because being easy on the eye won’t give you an easy pass to online success (dating websites). Instead, having people think you are unattractive can actually work to your advantage.’ Hannah Fry
  27. ‘And the maths behind this algorithm comes with an important result: those who do the asking (take initiative) will always end up with much better partners than the group who sit back and accept a suitor’s advances.’ Hannah Fry
  28. ‘When choosing a profile picture (dating website), don’t be afraid to put some people off. You’re not trying to appeal to the masses, so don’t make yourself bland. Play up to whatever makes you different – that’s the best way to attract the people who matter.’ Hannah Fry
  29. ‘As almost a century of research on romantic relationships has taught us, predicting whether two people are romantically compatible requires the sort of information that comes to light only after they have actually met.’ Eli J. Finkel
  30. ‘Curated text and a handful of pictures will never be able to tell you whether the first-date conversation will crackle or whether you’ll feel a desire to discover what makes this person tick.’ Eli J. Finkel
  31. ‘But for open-minded singles — those who would like to marry someday and want to enjoy dating in the meantime — Tinder may be the best option available now. Indeed, it may be the best option that has ever existed.’ Eli J. Finkel
  32. ‘The more you express your happiness, the stronger it becomes inside you. If you hold your happiness in and never express it, it gradually dissipates. Express it clearly and visibly and it gets stronger and lasts longer.’ Alexander Kjerulf (Happy Hour is 9 to 5)
  33. “I mused for a few moments on the question of which was worse, to lead a life so boring that you are easily enchanted, or a life so full of stimulus that you are easily bored.” Bill Bryson
  34. ‘We are all human beings. We were born without any guarantee that we would not make mistakes.’ Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger
  35. ‘We pick our friends not only because they are kind and enjoyable company, but also, perhaps more importantly, because they understand us for who we think we are.’ Alain De Botton (The Consolations of Philosophy)
  36. ‘The scientists suggested that a single alcoholic drink could make people seem more attractive because it caused facial muscles to relax, pupils to dilate and cheeks to flush. Rosiness is attractive because it characterizes good physical health characteristics.’ Professor Marcus Munafo
  37. ‘The emotions of hatred, envy and covetousness and lust for domination are life-conditioning emotions…which must fundamentally and essentially be present in the total economy of life.’ Friedrich Nietzsche
  38. ‘Male dogs responded better than female dogs and both groups spent less time standing and barking when the music was being played. Although by the end of the week their heart rates and behaviour associated with kennel stress had returned to normal, the initial findings are very encouraging and show that classical music does have a positive impact on the dogs’ welfare.’ Mendes Ferreira
  39. ‘People who are generally impatient, or who get bored or frustrated easily, are more likely to engage in repetitive body-focused behaviors such as skin-picking, nail-biting or eyelash-pulling.’ Dr Kieron O’Connor
  40. “We believe that individuals with these repetitive behaviors may be perfectionistic, meaning that they are unable to relax and to perform task at a ‘normal’ pace. They are therefore prone to frustration, impatience, and dissatisfaction when they do not reach their goals. They also experience greater levels of boredom.” Dr. Kieron O’Connor
  41. ‘If you ever aren’t sure if you attended the very best party or bought the very best computer, just settle for “good enough.” People who do this are called “satisficers,” and they’re consistently happier, he’s found, than are “maximizers,” people who feel that they must choose the very best possible option.’ Albert Schwartz
  42. ‘A person of kindness and virtue, in whom we find nothing to which to object, can leave us indifferent or cold from a romantic point of view, whereas someone else who is without these virtues may, for reasons that are almost completely unclear, appeal to us profoundly.’ Christopher Hamilton (How to Deal with Adversity)
  43. ”That is why those who are truly addicted to something feel, when indulging the addiction, that the world is theirs. But, of course, when the moment has passed, they feel even more acutely the indifference of the world – which feeds the addiction.’ Christopher Hamilton (How to Deal with Adversity)
  44. ‘Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at the effect of donation on the brain. They found increased activity in the ventral striatum during acts of voluntary giving. This is a region associated with reward, one of the areas that bursts into life under the influence of addictive stimulants like cocaine. Charity can get you high.’ David Shariatmadari
  45. ‘I’m a human being, and the good feeling I get from being generous isn’t something I can rise above. Better to acknowledge that giving to charity is selfish, and keep on giving, all the same.’ David Shariatmadari
  46. ‘‘What’s more, our ability to read for pleasure is taxed by the amount of reading we do. There is such a glut of blogs, emails, texts and tweets that the distinction between literary works and nonliterary works has become badly blurred and people tend to read everything in the same way, pragmatically.’ Lily Tuck
  47. ‘In his book “The Act of Reading,” Wolfgang Iser, known for his reader-response theories, writes that ideally a book should transform a reader by “disconfirming” his habitual notions and perceptions and thus forcing him or her to a new understanding of them.’ Lily Tuck
  48. ”The idea that young people are indefatigable hedonists, forever in search of their next pleasure-fix, surgically attached to social media, utterly belies the fact that young people are more prone to wrestle with life’s meaning and purpose than older and often more cynical adults.’ Anne Karpf (How to Age)
  49. ‘We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.’ Orson Welles
  50. ‘If you were required to choose all your phone settings on your own, you would have to spend a great deal of time thinking about which settings were best, and you might end up frustrated and bored. You might also make a lot of mistakes.’ Cass R. Sunstein


Fiction quotes 151 to 200

  1. ‘It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes- make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge.’ Mustapha Mond
  2. ‘We haven’t any use for old things. Particularly when they’re beautiful. Beauty’s attractive, and we don’t want people to be attracted by old things. We want them to like the new ones.’ Mustapha Mond
  3. ‘The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma.’ Mustapha Mond
  4. ‘But that’s the price we have to pay for stability. You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We’ve sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead.’ Mustapha Mond
  5. ‘Stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contended has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.’ Mustapha Mond
  6. ‘That’s another item in the cost of stability. It isn’t only art that’s incompatible with happiness; it’s also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled.’ Mustapha Mond
  7. ‘They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years.’ Mustapha Mond
  8. ‘The religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason become less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed…that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false – a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth.’ Mustapha Mond
  9. ‘God isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make your choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness. That’s why I have to keep these religious books locked up in the safe…’ Mustapha Mond
  10. ‘Civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In our society, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. When there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended – there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren’t any wars nowadays.’ Mustapha Mond
  11. ‘But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin…All right then, I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.’ The Savage
  12. ‘I’d rather you shot at tin cans with your air-rifle in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit them, but remember that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’ Atticus Finch, to his children (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)
  13. ‘If you want the rainbow, you have to deal with the rain…’ Hazel Grace (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)
  14. ‘First of all, if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’ Atticus
  15. ‘…But do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let them get your goat. Try fighting with your head for a change…it’s a good one, even if it resists learning.’ Atticus Finch
  16. ‘Sometimes, we have to make the best of things, and the way we conduct ourselves when the chips are down.’ Atticus Finch
  17. ‘They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions. But before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.’ Atticus Finch
  18. ‘I certainly am a nigger-lover. I do my best to love everybody…I’m hard put, sometimes – baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you. So don’t let Mrs Dubose get you down. She has enough troubles of her own.’ Atticus Finch
  19. ‘I wanted you to see something about her – I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.’ Atticus Finch
  20. ‘You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women – black or white. But that is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. There is not a person in this courtroom who has never told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire.’ Atticus Finch
  21. ‘…Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal…We know that all men are not created equal in the sense that some people would have us believe – some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others – some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men.’ Atticus Finch
  22. ‘Our courts have their faults, as does every human institution, but in this country our courts are the greatest levellers, and in our courts all men are created equal.’ Atticus Finch
  23. ‘I know, and lots of them probably deserve it, too – but in the absence of eye witnesses there’s always a doubt, sometimes only the shadow of a doubt. The law says reasonable doubt. But I think a defendant’s entitled to the shadow of a doubt. There’s always the possibility, no matter how improbable, that he’s innocent.’ Atticus Finch
  24. ‘As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it – whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.’ Atticus Finch
  25. ‘You’ve many more miles to go, son. A jury’s vote supposed to be secret. Serving on a jury forces a man to make up his mind and declare himself about something. Men don’t like to do that. Sometimes it’s unpleasant.’ Atticus Finch
  26. ‘That’s what I thought too when I was your age. If there’s one kind of folks, why can’t they get along with each other? If they’re all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other?’ Jem
  27. ‘I can’t live one way in town and another way in my home.’ Atticus Finch
  28. ‘Two penguins in the penguin house were a little bit different. One was named Roy, and the other named Silo. Roy and Silo were both boys. But they did everything together. They bowed to each other. And walked together. They sang to each other and swam together. Wherever Roy went, Silo went too. They didn’t spend much time with the girl penguins and the girl penguins didn’t spend much time with them’ Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson (And Tango makes three)
  29. ‘Roy and Silo taught Tango how to sing for them when she was hungry. They fed her food from their beaks. They snuggled her in their nest at night. Tango was the very first penguin in the zoo to have two daddies.’ Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson (And Tango makes three)
  30. Atticus Finch captivated me with his measured, intelligent espousal of the importance of equality, democracy and justice for all.
  31. ‘Well educated, diligent and genial, Finch also has the courage of his convictions. Not only does he defend African American Tom Robinson, wrongly accused of raping a white woman – much to the chagrin of the majority of his fellow (white) townsfolk – he then sits outside the jailhouse to protect Robinson from a lynch mob.’
  32. ‘The worst form of execution: You stake a guy out on an anthill in the desert. He’s facing upward, and you put honey all over his balls and pecker, and you cut off his eyelids so he has to stare at the sun till he dies.’ Weary (Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut)
  33. ‘Earthlings must be the terrors of the Universe! If other planets aren’t now in danger from Earth, they soon will be. So tell me the secret so I can take it back to Earth and save us all: How can a planet live at peace?’ Billy, to aliens on planet Tralfamadoria (Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut)
  34. ‘There once was an onion man who wanted to shed his layers to unveil the core of his soul and being. What does it mean to be an onion, he wondered? He started shedding the layers. After a while, he grew lighter and more hopeful on finding the truth. Soon, he realized that he was left with nothing. The layers were all he had. Rephrased and Extracted from ‘Unapologetically Insane Tales by Zed Yeo’
  35. ‘If you put a puny ant on your torso, it could never understand that the entire terrain that it is crawling on is actually a human being. You are too huge for the ant to notice, too big to be perceived. It will only see your torso as a landscape upon which it stands.’ The Maker (Unapologetically Insane Tales by Zed Yeo)
  36. If he could just understand us…then perhaps we could come to some kind of arrangement with him… extracted from ‘Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka’
  37. ‘The Boy and the Grass (Story 3): A boy asked the grass how it felt to be green. The grass didn’t respond. The boy was disappointed but didn’t give up trying to talk to it. He kept on trying. Finally, when he was a grown man, the grass replied. One day, the grass said ‘Moo!’ That was the only response it could give. ‘Moo!’ was all the grass knew. Despite this, the boy continued talking to it and they formed an interesting, relationship for life. rephrased and extracted from ‘Unapologetically Insane Tales’ by Zed Yeo
  38. ‘The Boy and the Grass (Story 2): A boy asked the grass how it felt to be green. The grass didn’t respond. The boy was disappointed but didn’t give up trying to talk to it. He kept on trying. Finally, when he was a grown man, the grass replied. The grass was impressed by his persistence. The grass admitted that he learnt English from the boy. They remained best friends for the rest of their lives. rephrased and extracted from ‘Unapologetically Insane Tales by Zed Yeo’
  39. ‘The Boy and the Grass (Story 1): A boy asked the grass how it felt to be green. The grass didn’t respond. The boy was disappointed but didn’t give up trying to talk to it. He kept on trying. This went on for his lifetime till he died. The grass still didn’t speak. rephrased and extracted from ‘Unapologetically Insane Tales by Zed Yeo’
  40. ‘The glad game was to just find something about everything to be glad about – no matter what it was…You see, when you’re hunting for the glad things, you sort of forget the other kind.’ – Pollyanna
  41. ‘You see, lots of times; you get so used to looking for something to be glad about. And most generally there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.’ – Pollyanna
  42. ‘I like to do almost everything that’s LIVING. Of course I don’t like the other things very well – sewing, and reading out loud, and all that. But THEY aren’t LIVING. Aunt Polly says they’re “learning to live”.’ – Pollyanna
  43. ‘People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbours will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes – his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest! When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good – you will get that!’ – Reverent Paul
  44. ‘I don’t think I shall ever want to ride anywhere anymore. It will be so good just to walk. Oh, I’m so glad! I’m glad for everything. Why, I’m glad now I lost my legs for a while, for you never, never know how perfectly lovely legs are till you haven’t got them.’ – Pollyanna
  45. ‘You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.’ Alaska
  46. ‘Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future…If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless.’ Miles Halter
  47. ‘We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail. ‘Miles Halter
  48. ‘The problem, dear professor, is that you wanted someone who could be made intelligent but still be kept in a cage and displayed when necessary to reap the honours you seek. The hitch is that I’m a person.’ Charlie Gordon (Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes)
  49. ‘I don’t think it’s right to make you pass a test to eat.’ Charlie Gordon, reflecting on the treatment of the lab mouse Algernon (Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes)
  50. ‘Lawyers are all right, but they don’t appeal to me. They’re all right if they go around saving innocent guys’ lives. But you don’t do that kind of stuff if you’re a lawyer. All you do is make a lot of money and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hot-shot. And besides, even if you did go around saving guy’s lives, how would you know if you did it because you really wanted to save guys’ lives, or because you did it because you really wanted to be a terrific lawyer, with everyone slapping you on the back and congratulating you in court when the trial is over, the reporters and everybody, the way it is in the movies? How would you know you weren’t being a phony? The trouble is, you wouldn’t.’ Holden Caulfield


Psychology quotes 151 to 200

  1. ‘Restaurants will centre-align their menu to make it more difficult to compare prices. If you right-justify items, customers can more easily compare and will be less likely to go for more expensive items.’ Charles Spence
  2. ‘Having an outrageously expensive item is both likely to get publicity for a restaurant, and will also get people to spend more. People think ‘I wonder if anyone ever orders that?’, without realising that its true purpose is to make the next most expensive item seem cheaper.” Charles Spence, a psychologist
  3. ‘Studies have shown that gratitude sparks an upward spiral of relationship growth where each individual feels motivated to strengthen the bond.’ Shawn Achor
  4. ‘Think of going to a restaurant for example, having low expectations may improve your dining experience if the food is better than expected. But having positive expectations may improve your happiness before the meal even starts because of your anticipation of the event.’ Melissa Hogenboom
  5. ‘The brain is trying to figure out what you should be doing in the world to get rewards, so all the decisions, expectations and the outcomes are information it’s using to make sure you make good decisions in the future. All of the recent expectations and rewards combine to determine your current state of happiness.’ Dr Robb Rutledge
  6. “The study also finds that your immediate sense of happiness depends on the size of the gap between what you achieve and what you expect. That makes good intuitive sense. It also fits with a great deal of statistical work by economists showing that happiness and job satisfaction is influenced by a person’s relative pay,” Professor Andrew Oswald
  7. “If you want to know how happy I am, don’t ask me my salary. Ask me how my salary compares to other professors or to my own salary in the past. It is the gap – whether positive or negative – that really matters. We are all creatures of comparisons and are thus prisoners of implicit expectations.” Prof Andrew Oswald
  8. ‘I started doing comedy because that was the only stage that I could find. It was the pure idea of being on stage. That was the only thing that interested me, along with learning the craft and working, and just being in productions with people.’ Robin Williams (1951 – 2014)
  9. ‘It’s very difficult to compete without feeling envy. A wise friend once told me that every time you try to compete, you’ll always lose. Because even if you’re the best this year, someone will be better than you next year.’ Carl Richards
  10. ‘Every status update you read on Facebook, every tweet or text message you get from a friend, is competing for resources in your brain with important things like whether to put your savings in stocks or bonds, where you left your passport or how best to reconcile with a close friend you just had an argument with.’ Daniel J. Levitin
  11. ‘Here’s the problem with bigger numbers and endless possibility: They don’t go well with humans. We don’t have the processing power. Dating is not simply about finding like-minded people, but about limiting your potential set of choices.’ Leah Reich
  12. ‘When the number of options increases, we become maximizers — unsatisfied with those options, and wanting more. On Tinder, we can judge, swipe and date as if there is an unlimited number of matches. When faced with boundless choices, can we ever choose?’ Leah Reich
  13. ‘Even without computers and phones, long before screens, we’ve always wondered, “But is there someone better?” There’s a simple reason for that, although the simple reason does not have a simple solution: Dating involves humans. We are strange creatures, sometimes brutal, not always photogenic, often delicate. We’re fascinated by metrics, big pictures and endless horizons of possibility. And we always, always want more.’ Leah Reich
  14. “You might be going for a walk or grocery shopping or doing something that doesn’t require sustained attention and suddenly — boom — the answer to a problem that had been vexing you suddenly appears. This is the mind-wandering mode, making connections among things that we didn’t previously see as connected.” Anna North
  15. ‘The best way to get someone to tell you what they know is to share your own knowledge too.’ Quinn Norton
  16. ‘If you are genuinely interested in people, it’s not that hard to get them to teach you. You do have to do some homework first so that you’re asking interesting questions, not totally elementary ones.’ Quinn Norton
  17. ‘When I need help myself, I would prefer to be pointed to information, not have someone walk me through it, because there’s that sense of discovery and learning on my own and not being handheld through the whole process.’ Jim Munroe
  18. ‘One of the things that sheep are really good at is responding to a threat (sheepdog etc) by working with their neighbours. It’s the selfish herd theory: put something between the threat and you. Individuals try to minimise the chance of anything happening to them, so they move towards the centre of a group.’ Dr. Andrew King, on how sheepdogs get sheep to gather and move as a group
  19. ‘The thing about going crazy is that it makes you incredibly smart, in a stupid sort of way.’ Neil Simon
  20. ‘Moreover, the psychologists Priyanka Carr and Gregory Walton of Stanford have shown that merely believing you are working with another person, compared with separately, can make you more interested in a task and less mentally exhausted by it.’ Paul A. O’Keefe
  21. ‘Taken together, interest in a task matters more than we ever knew. It is crucial to keeping us motivated and effective without emptying our mental gas tank, and it can turn the mundane into something exciting.’ Paul A. O’Keefe
  22. ‘I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings.’ Gustave Flaubert
  23. ‘Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.’ C.S. Lewis
  24. ‘One of the enemies of sound, lifelong motivation is a rather childish conception we have of the kind of concrete, describable goal toward which all of our efforts drive us…So you scramble and sweat and climb to reach what you thought was the goal. When you get to the top you stand up and look around and chances are you feel a little empty. Maybe more than a little empty…You wonder whether you climbed the wrong mountain.’ John Gardner
  25. ‘The thing you have to understand is that the capacities you actually develop to the full come out as the result of an interplay between you and life’s challenges –and the challenges keep changing. Life pulls things out of you.’ John Gardner
  26. ‘The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.’ William Blake
  27. ‘Blessed are those who give without remembering and take without forgetting.’ Elizabeth Bibesco
  28. ‘Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet.’ Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  29. ‘There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness.’ Alexandre Dumas
  30. “Individuals are more likely to mispredict the value of rediscovering ordinary events than to mispredict the value of rediscovering extraordinary events, which are more memorable. Additionally, ordinary events came to be perceived as more extraordinary over time, whereas perceptions of extraordinary events did not change across time.” Ting Zhang
  31. ‘The findings suggest you shouldn’t feel bad if you’re compelled to blog about your day, tweet about what you had for lunch, or Instagram that photo of a pretty sunset. The post may come in handy when you’re in a bad mood sometime down the line.’ Ting Zhang
  32. ‘Our research shows that we can find joy in journalling about ordinary events, and importantly, later rediscovering those journal entries at a future point in time,” Ting Zhang
  33. ‘Writing about everyday things could be valuable for all sorts of reasons. One is it helps to consolidate what you’ve done during that day, another is just as a marker of what you’ve done — you could go back and look at it.’ James W. Pennebaker
  34. ‘People are happier to the extent that they find their lives easy rather than difficult. Happy people say they have enough money to buy the things they want and the things they need. Good health is a factor that contributes to happiness but not to meaningfulness. Healthy people are happier than sick people, but the lives of sick people do not lack meaning.’ Roy F Baumeister
  35. ‘If you want to maximise your happiness, it looks like good advice to focus on the present, especially if your needs are being satisfied. Meaning, on the other hand, seems to come from assembling past, present and future into some kind of coherent story.’ Roy F Baumeister
  36. ‘In empirical fact, happiness is often fairly consistent over time. Those of us who are happy today are also likely to be happy months or even years from now, and those who are unhappy about something today commonly turn out to be unhappy about other things in the distant future. It feels as though happiness comes from outside, but the weight of evidence suggests that a big part of it comes from inside.’ Roy F Baumeister
  37. ‘Simply put, meaningfulness comes from contributing to other people, whereas happiness comes from what they contribute to you.’ Roy F Baumeister
  38. ‘For parents, on the other hand, caring for children was a substantial source of meaning, though it still seemed irrelevant to happiness, probably because children are sometimes delightful and sometimes stressful and annoying, so it balances out.’ Roy F Baumeister
  39. ‘Spending time with friends was linked to higher happiness but it was irrelevant to meaning. Having a few beers with buddies or enjoying a nice lunch conversation with friends might be a source of pleasure but, on the whole, it appears not to be very important to a meaningful life. By comparison, spending more time with loved ones was linked to higher meaning and was irrelevant to happiness.’ Roy F Baumeister
  40. ‘Highly meaningful lives encounter plenty of negative events, which of course reduce happiness. Indeed, stress and negative life events were two powerful blows to happiness, despite their significant positive association with a meaningful life.’ Roy F Baumeister
  41. ‘If happiness is about getting what you want, it appears that meaningfulness is about doing things that express yourself. Even just caring about issues of personal identity and self-definition was associated with more meaning.’ Roy F Baumeister
  42. ‘Marriage is a good example of how meaning pins down the world and increases stability. Most animals mate, and some do so for long periods or even for life, but only humans marry… Marriage smooths out these bumps and helps to stabilize the relationship.’ Roy F Baumeister
  43. ‘There are 4 elements of a meaningful life. 1) Purpose (reproduction; culture; our own choices) 2) Value (good vs bad) 3) Efficacy (Making a difference to others); 4) Self-worth (perform decently so as to gain others’ respect).’ Roy F Baumeister
  44. ‘Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance…”Have the courage to use your own understanding,” is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.’ Immanuel Kant
  45. ‘Short men make better husbands, and make up in wisdom what they lack in stature.’ Adam Gopnik
  46. ‘Give me a great novel or memoir, some tea, and a cozy spot to curl up in, and I’m in heaven. I love to live in another person’s thoughts; I marvel at the bonds I feel with people who come alive on the page, regardless of how different their circumstances might be from mine. I not only feel I know these people, but I also recognize more of myself. Insight, information, knowledge, inspiration, power: All that and more can come from a good book.’ Oprah Winfrey
  47. ‘Happiness is like an orgasm: if you think about it too much, it goes away.’ Tim Minchin
  48. ‘Unsurprisingly, a majority of religious believers said they thought that these events happened for a reason and that they had been purposefully designed (presumably by God). But many atheists did so as well, and a majority of atheists in a related study also said that they believed in fate — defined as the view that life events happen for a reason and that there is an underlying order to life that determines how events turn out.’ Konika Banerjee
  49. ‘WHATEVER the origin of our belief in life’s meaning, it might seem to be a blessing. Some people find it reassuring to think that there really are no accidents, that what happens to us — including the most terrible of events — reflects an unfolding plan.’ Konika Banerjee
  50. ‘But even those who are devout should agree that, at least here on Earth, things just don’t naturally work out so that people get what they deserve. If there is such a thing as divine justice or karmic retribution, the world we live in is not the place to find it. Instead, the events of human life unfold in a fair and just manner only when individuals and society work hard to make this happen.’ Konika Banerjee


Fiction quotes 51 to 100

  1. How could you make an appeal to the future when not a trace of you, not even an anonymous word scribbled on a piece of paper, could physically survive? – George Orwell (1984)
  2. Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. – Syme
  3. When you make love you’re using up energy; and afterwards you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you to be bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour? If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother? – Julia
  4. It would not have occurred to her that an action which is ineffectual thereby becomes meaningless. If you loved someone, you loved him, and when you had nothing else to give, you still gave him love. – George Orwell
  5. By comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. The ruling groups were always infected to some extent by liberal ideas, and were content to leave loose ends everywhere…Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. – George Orwell
  6. Indeed, so long as the masses are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed. – George Orwell
  7. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful. Every success, every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue directly from his leadership and inspiration. Nobody has ever seen Big Brother. He is a face on the hoardings, a voice on the telescreen. – George Orwell
  8. And since the Party is in full control of the records, and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it. It also follows that though the past is alterable, it never has been altered in any specific instance. For when it has been recreated in whatever shape is needed at the moment, then this new version in the past, and no different past can ever have existed. – George Orwell
  9. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently…We know that no one every seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. – O’Brien to Winston
  10. How does one man assert his power over another? By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation…Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph and self-abasement. – O’Brien to Winston
  11. When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind. – Dr Wayne W. Dyer (Wonder by R.J. Palacio)
  12. What’s cool about really little kids is that they don’t say stuff to try to hurt your feelings, even though sometimes they do say stuff that hurt your feelings. But they don’t actually know what they’re saying. – P.J. Palacio (Wonder)
  13. It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. – James Thurber
  14. Who we are! What kind of people are we? What kind of person are you? Isn’t that the most important thing of all? Isn’t that the kind of question we should be asking ourselves all the time? What kind of person am I? – Mr Browne, a teacher (Wonder by R.J. Palacio)
  15. The things we do are the most important things of all. They are more important than what we say or what we look like. The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. – August (Wonder by R.J. Palacio)
  16. There are always going to be jerks in this world, son. But I really believe, and Daddy really believes, that there are more good people on this earth than bad people, and the good people watch out for each other and take care of each other…sometimes people surprise us… – August’s mum
  17. But the best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average- though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you have touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success. – Mr Tushman, the school principal
  18. What a marvelous line, isn’t it? Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed. Why I love that line, that concept, is that it reminds me that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of happiness. And what does that mean? How is that measured? You can’t use a yardstick. It’s like I was saying just before: it’s not like measuring how much you’ve grown in a year. It’s not exactly quantifiable, is it? How do we know we’ve been kind? What is being kind, anyway? – Mr Tushman, the school principal
  19. Children, what I want to impart to you today is an understanding of the value of that simple thing called kindness. And that’s all I want to leave you with today. – Mr Tushman, the school principal
  20. I want you to take away the knowledge that, in the future you make for yourselves, anything is possible. If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary- the world really would be a better place. – Mr Tushman, the school principal
  21. The strength of one’s courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness. – Mr Tushman, the school principal
  22. Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength…He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own. – Mr Tushman
  23. Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can. – John Wesley’s Rule
  24. Last night I thought about all that kerosene I’ve used to burn books in the past 10 years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on papers. It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down. – Montag (Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury)
  25. I sometimes think drivers don’t know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly. If you showed a driver a green blur, he’d say that’s grass. A pink blur? That’s a rose garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows…Isn’t that funny, and sad, too? – Clarisse (Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury)
  26. There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing. – Montag
  27. But, how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real? – Montag, on self-reflection
  28. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. – Beatty
  29. …The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That’s why we’ve lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we’re almost snatching them from the cradle. – Beatty
  30. You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. – Beatty
  31. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving…Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy and sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. – Beatty
  32. It is because we’re having so much fun at home we’ve forgotten the world? Is it because we’re so rich and the rest of the world’s so poor and we just don’t care if they are? – Montag
  33. So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless.. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality. – Prof Faber
  34. The things you’re looking for are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see 99% of them is in a book. – Montag
  35. You’re afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be. Mistakes can be profited by. Man, when I was younger I shoved my ignorance in people’s faces…If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn. – Professor Faber
  36. When the war’s over, perhaps we can be of some use in the world. If not, we’ll just have to wait. We’ll pass the books on to our children, by word of mouth, and let our children wait, in turn, on the other people. A lot will be lost that way, of course. But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up under them It can’t last. – Mr Granger
  37. Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shows made…Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. – Mr Granger
  38. Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. – Ray Bradbury
  39. They began by controlling books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressures, there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves. – Prof Faber
  40. I believe in having fun first, and along the way, if you teach people, well and good. But I don’t want to set out to influence people. I don’t want to set out to change the world in any self-conscious way. That way leads to self-destruction; that way, you’re pontificating, and that’s dangerous and it’s boring. – Ray Bradbury
  41. I mean it’s not like in the movies where girls like assholes or anything like that. It’s not that easy. They just like a guy that can give them a purpose. Girls like guys to be a challenge. It gives them some mold to fit in how they act. Like a mom. – Patrick to Charlie (The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky)
  42. I just need to know that someone out there listens and understand and doesn’t try to sleep with people even if they could have. I need to know that these people exist. – Charlie (The Perks of being a Wallflower)
  43. And in that moment, I swear we were infinite. – Charlie – the perks of being a wallflower –
  44. Why don’t they teach logic in schools? There are only 3 possibilities. Either your sister (Lucy), is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn’t tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth. – The Professor (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis)
  45. You know…a lot of kids hate their parents. Some of them got hit. And some of them got caught in the middle of wrong lives. Some of them were trophies for their parents to show the neighbors like ribbons or gold stars. And some of them just wanted to drink in peace. – Charlie (the perks of being a wallflower)
  46. The thing is some girls think they can actually change guys. And what’s funny is that if they actually did change them, they’d get bored. They’d have no challenge left. You just have to give girls some time to think of a new way of doing things, that’s all. Some of them will figure it out here. Some later. Some never. – Patrick to Charlie
  47. You feel really bad, and then it goes away, and you don’t know why. I try to remind myself when I feel great like this that there will be another terrible week coming someday, so I should store up as many great details as I can, so during the next terrible week, I can remember those details and believe that I’ll feel great again. – Charlie
  48. Something like that. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. – Charlie
  49. It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things. Like take their hands when the slow song comes up for a change. Or be the one who asks someone for a date. Or tell people what you need. Or what you want. – Sam to Charlie
  50. I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to be who I really am. And I’m going to figure out what that is. But right now I’m here with you. And I want to know where you are, what you need, and what you want to do. – Sam to Charlie


My random musings 51 to 75

  1. The Amazon Kindle, to me, is one of the best inventions. It is light, reliable, feels like a paperback, has outstanding battery life and is able to store hundreds of books on one device. It has allowed me to kill time, pursue my hobby, improve my concentration/knowledge and not feel pissed off when having to wait for friends/public transport etc. Thanks Amazon, Jeff Bezos and team.’
  2. My view of Nelson Mandela: he is one generous, selfless, helpful, virtuous, courageous, impartial, determined, dignified, self-confident, merciful, honest man who believed in equality, rights and justice for all. Since young, he was extremely committed to fight for the rights of the black people and was even willing to give up his life for it. He sacrificed time from his family, his friends, his marriage and a potential career as a lawyer. Even after being jailed for 27 years, he remained undeterred and refused to give up on his goal. A man with balls of steel and extreme moral courage (just like Gandhi and Martin Luther King).
  3. Lessons from Audrey Tan (founder of Play Moolah, a financial education game for kids): look to your past to see what you liked; meet the right people and recruit a strong team with skills that complement each other; have a strong mentor; one can only prepare so much; it would be better to try first and make corrections along the way; do something you are passionate about; network with those who share similar interests as you.
  4. Objective of clearing leave but not travelling overseas: to act like a tourist in my own country; to visit as many interesting tourist attractions as possible; to avoid weekend crowds; to lead a snail’s pace of life; to lead a carefree life and explore the wonders of SG!
  5. I never liked the feeling of getting slightly tipsy and having to walk to find a particular location. But it does help in deep breathing! Should be good for Yoga, meditation or deep sea diving.
  6. I decided that (due to my lack of accounting knowledge), I have made a promise to myself that over the course of the next 2 months, I will do a brief summary of all the financial reporting standards (FRSs) and post them on fb only, not WhatsApp. Hope you guys will enjoy and learn something from them.
  7. Lee Kuan Yew once said about Singapore: ‘No, it’s not a nation. It’s a society in transition. You need a few hundred years to build a nation.’ Very true. Hope SG can get on a fast track to become a nation and have a rich and illustrious history. Happy 48th bday!
  8. Omg. Listened to Yo-Yo Ma’s 6 bach cello suites on YouTube and became high. Suddenly want to pick up the cello. Gg. Such a haunting, deep, sad, yet beautiful sound.
  9. Read ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg and it suggested one of the ways to make yourself jog on weekday evenings is to put on your running gear IMMEDIATELY after you get home from work. Sounds like a good idea!
  10. Lessons from an alumni talk on happiness: 3 fundamental needs of humans are 1) need to be known, 2) to be affirmed, 3) to be intimate. The more you give/serve, you more you receive in return. Use money to buy experiences and spend them on your loved ones. Tell your boss to keep it simple, keep it clear and take action in the workplace to make employees happy.
  11. Part 2: exhibit positive emotions by scheduling pleasurable activities or by writing a gratitude letter to someone you want to thank. Keep a gratitude journal. Note the +ve/-ve interactions in your relationships. A ratio of 5:1 is needed for one to thrive. To maintain hope, write down in 20min about your best possible self and 3 good things that happened to you each day.
  12. Just met a bartender who now dared to venture out on his own. It’s a cocktail bar at 60A Boat Quay. Ah Sam Cold Drinks Stall (don’t be deceived by the name). It’s great to see people like him drive the economy and pursue his passion at the same time. Encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in sg!
  13. Meaningful insight from a close friend: One can spend a 5k Euro trip for 3 weeks and enjoy for that short period of time. Or one could use that 5k to invest in shares which produce dividends etc. Or one could use that sum to buy a PC, books, magazines etc; spend on loved ones to improve quality of time for a longer period. Short vs long term. Experience vs material items. To each his own.
  14. Just met a friend of mine and he introduced me to 4 other guys. A commodities trader, a commodities structurer, a bonds salesman and a brokerage guy. Need to read up more before I can connect to them. Naturally, they feel auditors are restricting their progress. I fully understand. But as regulators, we have our role to play.
  15. Discovered a new key insight about myself. I like the feeling of feeling prepared as it provides confidence and I prefer depth over breadth. Prefer reading an entire book for 3 weeks to scanning the book and capturing the key points in a few days. That also explains why I’m not keen on playing soccer when I’m unfit cos’ I don’t feel I can contribute much.
  16. I think I need a real mentor in my life. Although I’ve read much about inspiring and famous people, I can’t seek them for advice. Warren Buffett had Benjamin Graham as a mentor, Steve Jobs had Mike Markkula, Richard Branson had his parents, Nelson Mandela had Albert Luthuli, Sam Walton had L.S. Robson etc. Still looking for one.
  17. Growing up made me realize that I dislike doing activities/tasks which I’m poor at or not interested in. Even if I admit to myself that I tried my best and tried to squeeze as much fun out of it, it is barely comforting. As Warren Buffett said, know your circle of competence.
  18. Am really impressed with the baby boomer generation (like my parents) and their ability to stay in a particular job for like 15+ years. Gen Y people are so different. Always trying out new stuff, thinking that they are special and trying to find their ‘calling’ in life. Is the idea of loyalty to a company a thing of the past?
  19. Criteria for receiving my quotes on WhatsApp. At least one or more of the following: 1) we are friends; 2) I see you as a potential friend; 3) I respect you as a person; 4) I think that you are someone who appreciates quotes; 5) you are good looking.
  20. Impressed by my company managers who gave presentations while maintaining a high level of enthusiasm and willingness to impart knowledge despite the fact that the bulk of the audience wasn’t paying attention to them. Guess they have a high degree of passion for their work.
  21. If you want to complete an audit, don’t piss off your associates by sending them working papers, dividing the work and giving orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the joy of learning and seeing the signed financial statements.
  22. I realized that in my free time (hope to get some soon), I should be trying to find out ways on how to escape the trap of working 40 years (64,000 hours) of your life, till retirement. Fortune favours the brave?
  23. Don’t understand why some kids like to run for no reason despite their parents discouraging them not to run. Kids marathon perhaps? Tough. But I think kids are cool! Got the rebellious streak in them.
  24. Watched a YouTube video of a cellist playing a Bach piece with his eyes closed. Wow! And the cello doesn’t have clear demarcations on the strings on what a musical note will sound like. Guess Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of spending 10000 hours to be a master at something is true. To be good at something, one needs to spend a helluva load of time on it. Tough…
  25. I wish humans can choose whether to struggle or not in life. People should be given a choice. But when housing is so expensive, I guess the majority will have no choice but to struggle.


My random musings 1 to 25

1. After listening to a Singapore Qualifying Programme (SQP) talk, the following thoughts came to my mind: If non-accountancy university graduates can embark on this 6 module part-time programme and become a Chartered Accountant of Singapore with 3 years of relevant working experience, shouldn’t this programme be extended to other professions like law, engineering etc? To facilitate an open market economy, shouldn’t this be extended to other professions so that accountants have an option to explore other career options? Is an accountant’s skillset so easily replaceable? In addition, if the economic growth is not in tandem with the potential influx of professional accountants flooding the market, wouldn’t there be a case where existing accountancy university graduates will eventually face competition from those who passed the SQP for jobs? How is this problem going to be addressed? Would there be a lack of workers in other aspects of the economy if many suddenly choose to enter the accountancy/finance sector?

2. The size of our Earth compared to the scale of the Universe is like a grain of sand on a beach. Similarly, as an individual, you are just 1 out of 7 billion others. Insignificant. It’s hard to take. However, the little prince is optimistic and thinks the exact opposite. A true classic!

3. What I think the little prince is trying to tell me: Adults are boring, don’t know how to appreciate the arts, like to use stereotypes, culturally-insensitive, serious, calculative, judgmental, uncaring, cold, aloof, authoritative, domineering, depressed, vain, condescending, materialistic, unhealthy, lead the rat race, weird, theoretical, lonely, unfriendly, busy, aimless, clingy and stubborn. Kids on the other hand are, creative, imaginative, well-prepared, nature-loving, caring, curious, diligent, determined, passionate, affectionate, dreamy, optimistic, interesting and receptive! I think there is certainly some truth in that. A real classic!

4. Woot. A cab driver just recommended a thick and awesome coffee which says can be found at provision stores in sg. it’s called morning sun. LOL.

5. Wow, it’s 10+ pm and I struggle to enter the train and get pushed right to the door. I mean I know SMRT wants to maximise profits by reducing the train frequency. However, if you reach the position where the public is unhappy with public transportation, that’s not a nice position to be in. I believe there is a balance has to be struck, and a sweet spot can be found.

6. Conclusion: When a middle aged lady gives you her number and asks for your name before you can even ask for hers, you are one of the following: handsome, smooth talker, young, interesting, or just plain weird.

7. The client can choose the audit firm they want. Of course, some will want to choose the one with the lowest fees. Or the one with the best reputation. Or the one which can best serve their needs. Or the one which can offer extra services and value-add. Or the one which can provide the best opinion over their financial statements and internal controls. However, I do not see it as a conflict of interest when the client chooses an audit firm because of that. As auditors, we should exercise professional skepticism over what the client provides and not just believe whatever the client says simply because they are providing revenue for our livelihood.

8. Warm and humid weather is a form of an indirect tax on people. Some will turn on their airconditioning, incurring heavy electricity charges. Others will likely seek refuge in shopping centres, cafes etc, possibly incurring GST upon expenditure. The govt’s standpoint: let’s look forward to more humid weather!

9. The audit business operates on the premise that not everyone is honest. If everyone is honest, why is there a need to check on clients work? Of course there might be the incompetence factor as well. Sadly, the world is not like that and there will always be people with selfish motives. Hence, there will always be a need for audit. A great business model!

10. My assessment of Warren Buffett after reading ‘The Snowball’: He is intelligent, confident, charismatic, charming, decisive, patient, romantic, disciplined, motivated, determined, self-aware, humorous, loyal, positive, honest, clean, filial, helpful, insightful, unwavering, curious, humble, thrifty, charitable, prudent, independent, focused, grateful, appreciative, ambitious, passionate, ethical, politically-savvy, trustworthy, protective, meritocratic, cautious and has an extreme thirst of knowledge. A remarkable man indeed.

11. Just bumped into a few poly girls. I think they are great for the following reasons: 1) they are hot; 2) they read 50 shades of grey; 3) they have good value systems; 4) they don’t know what they want in life but are willing to try their best to figure it out; 5) they break out into expletives once in a while; 6) they like to tease each other.

12. Margin of safety is when you reach 10min early before an important meeting. Margin of safety is when you quickly leave the house after observing an overcast sky. Margin of safety is when you choose to be slightly reserved when meeting someone new. Margin of safety is when you set aside money for a rainy day. Margin of safety is knowing it is time to head home after taking your last drink. Hi Warren, thanks for teaching me the concept of margin of safety.

13. After seeing my relatives visibly age every year during CNY, I wonder… Dear Lord Almighty(ies)/Universe Creator, what’s the point of ageing? Why do living things have to age? The only reason why people look forward to ageing is when they become more mature, have stronger values etc. But that does not necessarily come with age right? Lol. Anyway, thanks for teaching me the circle of life.

14. Dear Lord Almighty(ies)/Universe creator, why was rain created? What is it for? Is it to test the patience of homo sapiens? Lol. Thanks anyway. Patience is a virtue.

15. Either I do something myself, or nothing will happen.

16. Radical solutions to solve the problem of sustaining GDP growth without increasing population: gradually increase the working hours of the general public; tap on labor from the elderly, housewives etc; outsource non-core functions to places with cheaper labor; allow moonlighting in certain jobs; increase automation to generate higher productivity.

17. The thing about reading books by famous people like Ha-Joon Chang is that it is incredibly inspiring. Makes you want to get out there, make a lasting change to society and benefit Mankind. However, inspiration without concrete plans means nothing. Hope you will discover your true passion in life and make the effort to work on it! Merry Xmas.

18. Note to self: Peak period is here. Limit of reading non-fiction books to only 1 hour on weekends. Limit does not apply to FRS, SAS, Audit Approach Manuals or client policy & procedures.

19. Disadvantages of drinking: sleepy, liver damage, turn red, expensive, time flies. Advantages of drinking: adrenaline, feel high, more sociable, more daring, more inspired.

20. Tried a social experiment yesterday by giving a $10 Capitaland shopping voucher to a random stranger. Haha. Seems like not everyone appreciates it.

21. This is a tough qn. if money didn’t matter, i would probably be doing one of the following 1) Economics – to further understand what nations can do to exit from poverty; 2) Psychology – study on what are the steps humans can take to overcome biases and heuristics; 3) Sociology – how to maximise social welfare as well as economic efficiency and political stability; 4) Finance – to find out what is the optimal level of regulation for nations, based on a nation’s individual characteristics; 5) Politics – to further understand the pros and cons of adopting foreign labor; 6) Accounting – to analyse the pros and cons of disclosure for companies and how the accounting standards should evolve towards that; 7) music – to bring and promote classical music to the masses.

22. Old friends met from circumstance or new friends who share common interests? Which is better? I cannot tell you. Who cares? Pokemon: gotta catch ’em all!

23. After tipping a cab driver, his expression was one of utter surprise. He went ‘You’re so kind. Never met a passenger like you before.’

24. Lol. Epiphany. Did Q&M dental in SG stem from the characters in James Bond?

25. Just had a quick chat with a cab driver just now. His highest qualification is sec 2. Does a technician job in the day (earns 2k plus), drives a taxi at night (earns 1k plus). He has to support 3 kids and his wife is not working. Hard truths. We peeps are actually very fortunate.


Business related quotes 201 to 250

  1. ‘We are all influenced—subconsciously and to some extent consciously—by what we see others do and approve. Therefore, if everybody’s buying something, we think it is better. We don’t like to be the one guy who is out of step.’ Charlie Munger
  2. ‘So you have to figure out what your own aptitudes are. If you play games where other people have the aptitudes and you don’t, you are going to lose. And that is as close to certain as any prediction that you can make. You have to figure out where you have got an edge. And you have got to play within your own circle of competence.’ Charlie Munger
  3. ‘Indeed, the average result has to be the average result. By definition, not everyone can beat the market. As I always say, the iron rule in life is that only 20% of the people can be in the top fifth. That is just the way it is.’ Charlie Munger
  4. ‘It is not given to human beings to have such talent that they can just know everything about everything all the time. But it is given to human beings who work all the time. But it is given to human beings who work hard at it—who look and sift the world for a mispriced bet—that they can occasionally find one.’ Charlie Munger
  5. ‘And what a diligent, objective curiosity will do for you in this life to elevate you above your intellectual peers—is a lot.’ Charlie Munger
  6. ‘We know, in matrimony, that if you are always available, the spouse is less likely to shift brands. And people don’t tend to organize marriage to include permanent long separations. Similarly, if you are selling a product and it is always available, people are less likely to shift to some other product and get reinforced by it.’ Charlie Munger
  7. ‘All you have to do is open up the psychology texts, assimilate about 16 little doctrines into your repertoire, add the four or five that the books don’t contain or explain well and add better recognition of how these things combine. And boom—you’ve got an edge on the rest of humanity. It’ll help you in business. It will help you in law. It will help you in life. It will help you in love. It will help you in everything.’ Charlie Munger
  8. ‘They’re all hard. But why should it be easy to get rich? In a competitive world, shouldn’t it be impossible for there to be an easy way for everybody to get rich? Of course, they are all hard.’ Charlie Munger
  9. ‘I’m just saying that you can learn to make fewer mistakes than other people—and how to fix your mistakes faster when you do make them. But there is now way that you can live an adequate life without making many mistakes.’ Charlie Munger
  10. ‘You must have the confidence to override people with more credentials than you whose cognition is impaired by incentive-caused bias or some similar psychological force that is obviously present.’ Charlie Munger
  11. ‘Good literature makes the reader reach a little for understanding. Then, it works better. You hold it better. It is the commitment and consistency tendency. If you’ve reached for it, the idea’s pounded in better.’ Charlie Munger
  12. ‘To the extent that you have learned it so well that you have enough confidence to intervene where it takes a little courage, you can add great value. And to the extent that you can prevent or stop some asininity, which would otherwise destroy your firm, your client or something or someone that you care about, you can add great value.’ Charlie Munger
  13. ‘Well, if you’re like me, it is kind of fun for it to be a little complicated. If you want it totally easy and totally laid out, maybe you should be a Moonie. I don’t think that is the way to go. I think you will just have to endure the world—as complicated as it is.’ Charlie Munger
  14. ‘I don’t know what we have to do to win. We played well today… The amount of opportunities and chances we created, we should have won the game. We only have ourselves to blame for not taking those chances, but I thought it was a good performance.’ David Moyes
  15. ‘My advice is: don’t give up. You will be rejected, but being rejected is actually the route to success. Celebrate that, because you have to go through that a few times before you achieve your goal.’ Gerald Ratner
  16. ‘I want players to play with passion, speed, tempo and be brave with imagination, all the things that are expected of a Manchester United player. To work hard but, most of all, enjoy it. As a player I know if I’m enjoying the game I can express myself a lot more.’ Ryan Giggs, new Man U manager
  17. ‘Control over what you do, and how you do it, is one of the most powerful traits you can acquire when creating work you love.’ Cal Newport
  18. ‘When deciding whether to follow an appealing pursuit that will introduce more control into your work life, seek evidence of whether people are willing to pay for it. If you find this evidence, continue. If not, move on.’ Cal Newport
  19. ‘I called this the law of financial viability, and concluded that it’s a critical tool for navigating your own acquisition of control. This holds whether you are pondering an entrepreneurial venture or a new role within an established company. Unless people are willing to pay you, it’s not an idea you’re ready to go after.’ Cal Newport
  20. ‘The point isn’t that money is the root cause of professional unhappiness. It’s not. The problems start occurring when it becomes the priority over all else, when hygiene factors are satisfied but the quest remains only to make more money.’ Clayton Christensen
  21. ‘It is hard to overestimate the power of these motivators – the feeling of accomplishment and of learnings, of being a key player on a team that is achieving something meaningful.’ Clayton Christensen
  22. ‘Depending on your particular circumstances, you should be prepared to experiment with different opportunities, ready to pivot, and continue to adjust your strategy until you find what it is that both satisfies the hygiene factors and gives you all the motivators.’ Clayton Christensen
  23. ‘Work can bring you a sense of fulfillment – but it pales in comparison to the enduring happiness you can find in the intimate relationships that you cultivate with your family and close friends.’ Clayton Christensen
  24. ‘But as you are getting your career off the ground, you will be tempted to do exactly that: assume you can defer investing in your personal relationships. You cannot. The only way to have those relationships bear fruit in your life is to invest long before you need them.’ Clayton Christensen
  25. ‘The thing about Luis Suarez, no matter where he’s playing or who he’s playing for, he’s going to give 100 percent because he’s a street fighter. Whether he’s playing in front of 50 people or 50,000, he’ll do exactly the same.” Ian Rush
  26. ‘Those suffering from boreout are “dissatisfied with their professional situation” in that they are frustrated at being prevented, by institutional mechanisms or obstacles as opposed to by their own lack of aptitude, from fulfilling their potential (as by using their skills, knowledge, and abilities to contribute to their company’s development) and/or from receiving official recognition for their efforts.’ Source: wikipedia
  27. ‘Of course, few if any employees (even among those who would prefer to leave) want to be fired or laid off, so the vast majority are unwilling and unlikely to call attention to the dispensable nature of their role.’ Source: wikipedia
  28. ‘Pseudo-commitment strategy: The pretence of commitment to the job by attending work and sitting at the desk, sometimes after work hours. As well, demotivated employees may stay at their desks to eat their lunch to give the impression that they are working through the lunch hour; in fact, they may be sending personal e-mails or reading an entertainment magazine.’ Source: wikipedia
  29. ‘Stretch your work strategy: This involves drawing out tasks so they take much longer than necessary. For example, if an employee’s sole assignment during a work week is a report that takes three work days, the employee will “stretch” this three days of work over the entire work week.’ Source: wikipedia
  30. ‘There is no bigger pleasure and happiness than when things looks lost, and you win it again. The only thing is that it shortens your life! But for all the rest there is no bigger happiness.’ Arsene Wenger, reflecting on Arsenal’s comeback victory against Hull in the FA cup final
  31. ‘The patients are such characters and the care you give can make a real difference. The thing you have to do is be upbeat. There is no room for negativity. Of course, that can be hard and it is difficult getting it right. The thing is you meet patients at all stages of the journey, but you can make a difference to all of them. You have to shape yourself to your patient. You have to get to know them really well to make a difference. I came into nursing to make a difference. Sometimes it is just the simple things like tucking them in with a blanket can mean the world.’ Louise Baxendale, a nurse
  32. ‘Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can.’ Gordon Marino
  33. ‘Miya Tokumitsu argued that the “do what you love” ethos so ubiquitous in our culture is in fact elitist because it degrades work that is not done from love. It also ignores the idea that work itself possesses an inherent value, and most importantly, severs the traditional connection between work, talent and duty.’ Gordon Marino
  34. ‘By portraying Apple as a labor of his individual love, Jobs elided the labor of untold thousands in Apple’s factories, conveniently hidden from sight on the other side of the planet — the very labor that allowed Jobs to actualize his love.’ Miya Tokumitsu
  35. ‘People are not well rewarded for drudgery. The greatest rewards go to those who are some mix of creative, unique and insightful. If you hate your job, you’ll struggle to be any of those things; certainly you won’t be close to fulfilling your potential.
  36. ‘Money is not the principal factor in happiness. It may be argued whether, as a factor in happiness, money is of twentieth-rate importance or fiftieth-rate importance. But it cannot be argued whether money, in point of fact, does or does not of itself bring happiness. There can be no doubt whatever that money does not bring happiness. Yet, in the face of this incontrovertible and universal truth, the whole public behaves exactly as if money were the sole or the principal preliminary to happiness.’ Arnold Bennett
  37. ‘There is far more to life than climbing a corporate ladder, including raising children, seeking personal fulfillment, contributing to society, and improving the lives of others. And there are many people who are deeply committed to their jobs but do not – and should not have to – aspire to run their organizations. Leadership roles are not the only way to have profound impact.’ Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO (Lean in) *good book for the ladies*
  38. “All I want to do is make better sushi. I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is.” Jiro Ono
  39. ‘Always look ahead and above yourself. Always try to improve on yourself. Always strive to elevate your craft. That’s what Jiro taught me.’ Yoshikazu Ono
  40. ‘Not all women want careers. Not all women want children. Not all women want both. I would never advocate that we should all have the same objectives. Many people are not interested in acquiring power, not because they lack ambition, but because they are living their lives as they desire. Some of the most important contributions to our world are made by caring for one person at a time. We each have to chart our own unique course and define which goals fit our lives, values and dreams.’ Sheryl Sandberg
  41. ‘It’s your ability to learn quickly and contribute quickly that matters. One of the things I tell people these days is that there is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.’ Sheryl Sandberg
  42. ‘We all want a job or role that truly excites and engages us. This search requires both focus and flexibility, so I recommend adopting two concurrent goals: a long-term dream and an eighteen-month plan.’ Sheryl Sandberg|
  43. ‘There is only one criterion mattered when picking a job – fast growth. When companies grow quickly, there are more things to do than there are people to do them. When companies grow more slowly or stop growing, there is less to do and too many people to not be doing them.’ Eric Schmidt
  44. ‘You can’t do it all. No one can have two full-time jobs, have perfect children and cook three meals and e multi-orgasmic till dawn…Superwoman is the adversary of the women’s movement.’ Gloria Steinem
  45. ‘The data shows that people who have had previous successes are more likely to have another success. Their businesses are 30% likely to succeed; first timers are 21% likely to succeed; and people who have previously failed are 22% likely to succeed next time.’ Unknown
  46. ‘Always remember to buy lunch for people who are more knowledgeable than you, richer than you or people who have helped you in your career…After one year, your circle of friends should have generated tremendous value for you.’ Li Ka-Shing
  47. ‘Monthly, spend a small amount of your income to buy books. When you buy the books, read them carefully and learn the lessons and strategies that are being taught in the book.’ Li Ka-Shing
  48. ‘Doing sales is challenging but it is the fastest way for you to acquire the art of selling and this is a very deep skill that you will be able to carry for the rest of you career. All successful entrepreneurs are good salespeople.’ Li Ka-Shing
  49. ‘Always make yourself useful. Increase your investment in networking. When you increase your social investment, expand your network of contacts, your income also grows proportionately. Increase you investment in learning, strengthen your self-confidence, increase investment in holidays, expand your horizons and increase investment in the future and that will ultimately increase your income.’ Li Ka-Shing
  50. ‘Life can be designed. Careers can be planed. Happiness can be prepared. When you are poor, spend less time at home and more time outside. When you are rich, stay at home more and less outside. This is the art of living.’ Li Ka-Shing