“Have A Little Faith” Quotes

I recently read “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

“Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.” (44)

“No matter how far they try to go the other way – to extend life, play around with the genes, clone this, clone that, live to one hundred and fifty – at some point, life is over. And then what happens? When life comes to an end?”
I shrugged.
“You see?”
He leaned back. He smiled.
“When you come to the end, that’s where God begins.” (79)

“[The doctor said, I envy you] because when you lose someone you love, you can curse God. You can yell. You can blame him. You can demand to know why. But I don’t believe in God. I’m a doctor! And I couldn’t help my brother!”
“He was near tears. ‘Who do I blame?’ he kept asking me. ‘There is no God. I can only blame myself.’”
The Reb’s face tightened, as if in pain.
“That,” he said, softly, “is a terrible self-indictment.”
Worse than an unanswered prayer?
“Oh yes. It is far more comforting to think God Listened and sadi no, than to think that nobody’s out there.” (82)

Gandhi said, “The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.” (85)

“Most religions warn against war, yet more wars have been fought over religion than perhaps anything else. Christians have killed Jews, Jews have killed Muslims, Muslims have killed Hindus, Hindus have killed Buddhists, Catholics have killed Protestants, Orthodox have killed pagans, and you could run that list backward and sideways and it would still be true. War never stops; it only pauses.” (90)

“But so many people wage wars in God’s name.
“Mitch,” the Reb said, “God does not want such killing to go on.”
Then why hasn’t it stopped?
He lifted his eyebrows.
“Because man does.” (91)

“He refused to wallow in self-pity. In fact, the worse things got for him, the more intent he seemed on making sure no one around him was saddened by it.” (97)

“I have what I need,” he said, surveying his messy shelves. “Why bother chasing more?” (117)

“We have this photograph, all of us together,” the Reb says. “Whenever I feel the spirit of death hovering, I look at that picture, the whole family smiling at the camera. And I say, ‘Al, you done okay. This is your immortality.’””

“When everyone jumped and cheered at the baseball game, his old-world grandmother stayed seated. He turned and asked why she wasn’t clapping for the big hit. And she said to him, in yiddish, “Albert, is it good for the Jews?” (157)

“Rajchandra was the Indian poet who influenced Gandhi by teaching that no religion was superior because they all brought people closer to God.” (159)

“Napoleon once dismissed religion as “what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” (196)

“Maybe people who only get chances to do bad, always around bad things, like us, when they finally make something good out of it, God’s happy.” (207)

“When I had a disagreement with someone, and they came to talk to me, I always began by saying, ‘I’ve thought about it. And in some ways maybe you’re right.’” (211)

“You can’t work your way into heaven. Anytime you try and justify yourself with works, you disqualify yourself with works.” (221)

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“The Passion Economy” Quotes

I recently read “The Passion Economy: The New Rules For Thriving in the Twenty-First Century” by Adam Davidson. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

“Most businesses that struggle do so because they fail to understand the value they are (or should be) creating or fail to capture the value they have created.” (22)

“What are you selling? Who most wants it? Why do they want it? How do they pay for it?” (24)

“Pick your customer.” (25)

“Pick your competition.” (27)

“Aim for a product whose price is determined by the value it provides the customer, not by the raw material that is used to make it.” (67)

“For most of the twentieth century, the safest, most lucrative strategy was to be as much like others as possible. In the twenty-first century, the best strategy is to be fully yourself and to highlight your areas of difference from everyone else.” (74)

“The very act of charging considerably more ensures that the kinds of customers who won’t truly value [your company’s] offerings won’t hire them.” (120)

“You have a price, and then you find customers who understand that it is worthwhile to pay that price for the benefits they hope to receive: benefits based on very specialized knowledge.” (122)

“Price should be a bit shocking – a couple of notches higher than the prospective customer was prepared for. You want him to have an uncomfortable moment where he truly has to ask himself if this is worth the investment.” (122)

“Always use the word “investment” to signal that this is not money the client is losing but money he is spending so that he can make more money later.” (122)

“For any business to attract some group of passionate followers, it must contain elements that some people will love and others will dismiss, or even find off-putting.” (140)

“The key to success was not coming up with new things to sell; it was in the efficiency of the operation that was used to make a standard product. The victors in key market areas were not those with the most original products but the companies with the best systems for manufacturing standardized goods.” (166)

“Most (textile) companies kept doing the same, safe thing, right until they collapsed.” (180)

“Do not be a commodity. Do not be easily comparable to other people who have, roughly, the same set of skills and the same background.” (187)

“Write down what you do for a living and then circle those things that bring you real joy.” (243)

“Three core values made work more satisfying for employees and, simultaneously, made them more effective at their jobs: One: people want to feel some sense of autonomy over their work, feel that they can make choices that will have an impact. Two: they want to feel a sense of belonging to the organization they work for. Three: they want to trust their company and their bosses.” (263)

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“The Second Mountain” Quotes

I recently read “The Second Mountain: The Quest For A Moral Life” by David Brooks. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

“It usually starts with a subculture. A small group of creative individuals finds the current moral ecology oppressive and alienating. So they go back in history and update an old moral ecology that seems to provide a better way to live. They create a lifestyle that others find attractive. If you can create a social movement that people want to join, they will bend their energies and ideas to you.” (8)

“In Irish Murdoch’s words: “Man is a creature who makes pictures of himself and then comes to resemble the picture.” (8)

“America has always had a more individualistic culture than other places, which Tacqueville noticed back in the 1830s. But when individualism becomes the absolutely dominant ethos of a civilization – when it is not counterbalanced with any competing ethos – then the individuals within it may have maximum freedom, but the links between individuals slowly begin to dissolve.” (10)

“Colleges generally ask a person distinguished by fantastic career success to give a speech in which they claim that career success is not that important.” (14)

“Freedom sucks. Political freedom is great. But personal, social, and emotional freedom – when it becomes an ultimate end – absolutely sucks. It leads to a random, busy life with no discernible direction, no firm foundation, and in which, as Marx put it, all that’s solid melts to air. It turns out that freedom isn’t an ocean you want to spend your life in. Freedom is a river you want to get across so you can plant yourself on the other side – and fully commit to something.” (20)

“When you choose to work at a certain company, you are turning yourself into the sort of person who works in that company.” (22)

“The meritocracy is the most self-confident moral system in the world today. It’s so engrossing and seems so natural that we’re not even aware of how it encourages a certain economic vocabulary about non-economic things. Words change their meaning. “Character” is no longer ” (23)

“Acedia is the quieting of passion. It is a lack of care. It is living a life that doesn’t arouse your strong passions and therefore instills a sluggishness of the soul, like an oven set on warm. The person living in acedia may have a job and a family, but he is not entirely grabbed by his own life.” (24)

“When you have nothing but your identity and job title to res on, then you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others.” (25)

“Every age group in America is less trusting than the one before, and, as Robert Putnam of Harvard points out, that’s for a very good reason: People are less trustworthy. It’s not that perception is getting worse. It’s actual behavior.” (33)

“Individualism, taken too far, leads to tribalism.” (34)

“Once politics becomes your ethnic or moral identity, it becomes impossible to compromise, because compromise becomes dishonor.” (35)

“Suffering that is not transformed is transmitted.” (40)

“The ultimate heart’s desire… is the desire to lose yourself in something or someone.” (45)

“In Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, he tells her, “Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.” (46)

“C.S. Lewis observed, there’s never been a country where people are admired for running away in battle, or for double-crossing people who were kind to them.” (47)

“You have to be loved first so you can understand love, and you have to see yourself actively loving others so that you know you are worthy of love.” (53)

“That’s the paradox of privilege. When we are well-off we chase the temporary pleasures that actually draw us apart. We use our wealth to buy big houses with big yards that separate us and make us lonely. But in crisis we are compelled to hold closely to one another in ways that actually meet our deepest needs.” (57)

“As the theologian Tim Keller puts it, real freedom “is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones.” (58)

“Alasdair MacIntyre has pointed out, the concept of altruism was invented only in the eighteenth century. Once people decided that human nature is essentially egoist and selfish, then it was necessary to invent a word for when people weren’t driven by selfish desires. But before that, what we call altruism – living for relationships – was just how people lived. It wasn’t heroic or special.” (64)

“If you wanted to generalize a bit, you could say there are six layers of desire:
Material pleasure. Having nice food, a nice car, a nice house.
Ego pleasure. Becoming well-known or rich and successful. Winning victories and recognition.
Intellectual pleasure. Learning about things. Understanding the world around us.
Generativity. The pleasure we get in giving back to others and serving our communities.
Fulfilled love. Receiving and giving love. The rapturous union of souls.
Transcendence. The feeling we get when living in accordance with some ideal.” (67)

“Giving is the primary relationship between on person and another, not the secondary one.” (71)

“Annie Dillard once asked a friend how he knew he was meant to become a painter. “I like the smell of paint,” he replied.” (90)

“Vocations invariably have testing periods – periods when the costs outweigh the benefits – which a person must go through to reach another level of intensity. At these moments, if you were driven by a career mentality you would quit. You’re putting more into this thing than you are getting out. But a person who has found a vocation doesn’t feel she has a choice. It would be a violation of her own nature. So she pushes through when it doesn’t seem to make sense.” (91)

“Lucky is the man who does not secretly believe that every possibility is open to him,” Walker Percy observes.” (98)

“When the expert is using her practical knowledge, she isn’t thinking more, she is thinking less. She has built up a repertoire of skills through habit and has thereby extend the number of tasks she can perform without conscious awareness.” (101)

“The right question is not What am I good at? It’s the harder questions: What am I motivated to do? What activity do I love so much that I’m going to keep getting better at it for the next many decades? What do I desire so much that it captures me at the depth of my being? In choosing a vocation, it’s precisely wrong to say that talent should trump interest. Interest multiplies talent and is in most cases more important than talent.” (111)

“All vocational work, no matter how deeply it touches you, involves those moments when you are confronted by the laborious task. Sometimes, if you are going to be a professional, you just have to dig the damn ditch.” (124)

“There are (at least) two kinds of failure. In the first kind you are good, but other people can’t grasp how good you are. Melville’s Moby-Dick sold only 2,300 copies in its first eighteen months and only 5,500 copies in its first fifty years. It was savaged by reviewers. Some artists have to create the taste by which they will be judged. In the second kind, you fail because you’re not as good as you thought you were, and other people will see it.” (131)

“There’s a moment in many successful careers when the prospect of success tires to drag you away from your source, away from the daemon that incited your work in the first place. It is an act of raw moral courage to reject the voices all around and to choose what you have chosen before. It looks like you are throwing away your chance at stardom, but you are actually staying in touch with what got you there.” (133)

“People don’t become lovely by loving themselves; they become lovely by loving others, by making vows to others, by taking on the load of others and fulfilling those vows and carrying that load. All the dignity and gravity of life is in this surrender.” (143)

“Your personality is the hidden history of the places where love entered your life or was withdrawn from your life. It is shaped by the ways your parents loved you, the ways they did not love you.” (151)

“If the love is to bloom, they have to get to, “This is how I’m crazy.”” (152)

“Society is a massive conspiracy to distract you from the important choices of life in order to help you fixate on the unimportant ones.” (166)

[Frankl says] “Human beings’ primary motivation is not for money or even happiness, but for meaning. We are driven above all to understand the purpose of our lives. Once that is understood even the most miserable conditions cannot upend inner peace.” (208)

“Thomas Merton once wrote that ‘trying to solve the problem of God is like trying to see your own eyeballs.’” (234)

“When people talk about dying to self, they are really talking about dying to old desires and coming alive to a new and better set of desires.” (255)

“Willfulness is the desire to be captain of your own ship. Willingness is the desire to answer a call with a strong response.” (255)

”Pretty soon you end up with what Rabbi Sacks calls ‘pathological dualism,’ a mentality that divides the world between those who are unimpeachably good and those who are irredeemably bad.” (256)

“T.S. Eliot observed, the chief illusion of modern political activity is the belief that you can build a system so perfect that the people in it do not have to be good.” (308)

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“Stillness Is The Key” Quotes

I recently read “Stillness Is The Key” by Ryan Holiday. Below are the quotes I found most interesting.

“All outdoors may be bedlam, provided that there is no disturbance within.” -Seneca (xiv)

“Buddhism. Stoicism. Epicureanism. Christianity. Hinduism. It’s all but impossible to find a philosophical school or religion that does not venerate this inner peace – this stillness – as the highest good and as the key to elite performance and a happy life. And when basically all the wisdom of the ancient world agrees on something, only a fool would decline to listen.” (xvi)

“The goal of Zen, his master taught him, was to “achieve a void… noiseless, colorless, heatless void” – to get to that state of emptiness, whether it was on the mound or in the batter’s box or at practice.” (42)

“Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward. Work not for the reward; but never cease to do thy work.” -The Bhagavad Gita (75)

“Each of us must break the link in the chain of what the Buddhists call samsara, the continuation of life’s suffering from generation to generation.” (110)

“Give more. Give what you didn’t get. Love more. Drop the old story.” -Gary Shandling (111)

“Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.” -Joseph Epstein (114

“To have blessings and to prize them is to be in Heaven; to have them and not to prize them is to be in Hell… To prize them and not to have them is to be in Hell.” Thomas Traherne (122)

“If you believe there is ever some point where you will feel like you’ve “made it,” when you’ll finally be good, you are in for an unpleasant surprise… just as that feeling appears to be within reach, the goal is moved just a little bit farther up the mountain and out of reach.” (124)

“What do we want more of in life? That’s the question. It’s not accomplishments. It’s not popularity. It’s moments when we feel like we are enough.” (126)

“The Japanese have a concept, shinrin yoku – forest bathing – which is a form of therapy that uses nature as a treatment for mental and spiritual issues.” (132)

“There is no stillness to the mind that thinks of nothing but itself, nor will there ever be peace for the body and spirit that follow their every urge and value nothing but themselves.” (137)

“The nihilist is forced to wrestle with the immense complexity and difficulty and potential emptiness of life (and death) with nothing but their own mind. This is a comically unfair mismatch.” (140)

“It’s not that we need to believe that God is great, only that God is greater than us.” -Nassim Taleb (141)

“Anyone can be rich or famous. Only you can be Dad or Mom or Daughter or Son or Soul Mate to the people in your life.” (144)

“Your house might be quieter without kids and it might be easier to work longer hours without someone waiting for you at the dinner table, but it is a hollow quiet and an empty ease.” (148)

“Around noon Winston Churchill would stop in to say hello to his wife for the first time – believing all his life that the secret to a happy marriage was that spouses should not see each other before noon.” (173)

“The greats know that complete freedom is a nightmare. They know that order is a prerequisite of excellence and that in an unpredictable world, good habits are a safe haven of certainty.” (201)

“When the body is busy with the familiar, the mind can relax. The monotony becomes muscle memory.” (203)

“Everywhere I have sought peace and not found it, except in a corner with a book.” -Thomas a Kempis (217)

“Leisure is not the absence of activity, it is activity. What is absent is any eternal justification – you can’t do leisure for pay, you can’t do it to impress people. You have to do it for you.” (237)

“There is nourishment in pursuits that have no purpose – that is their purpose.” (241)

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“Everything Is F*cked” Quotes

I recently read (the kindle version of) “Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope” by Mark Manson. Here are the quotes I found most interesting.

How May I Help You? If I worked at Starbucks, instead of writing people’s names on their coffee cup, I’d write the following: One day, you and everyone you love will die. And beyond a small group of people for an extremely brief period of time, little of what you say or do will ever matter. This is the Uncomfortable Truth of life. And everything you think or do is but an elaborate avoidance of it. We are inconsequential cosmic dust, bumping and milling about on a tiny blue speck. We imagine our own importance. We invent our purpose—we are nothing. Enjoy your fucking coffee. Location 123-126

The opposite of happiness is hopelessness, an endless gray horizon of resignation and indifference. Location 153-154

Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness, and depression. It is the source of all misery and the cause of all addiction. This is not an overstatement.4 Chronic anxiety is a crisis of hope. It is the fear of a failed future. Depression is a crisis of hope. It is the belief in a meaningless future. Delusion, addiction, obsession—these are all the mind’s desperate and compulsive attempts at generating hope one neurotic tic or obsessive craving at a time. Location 158-162

Studies done in more than 132 countries show that the wealthier a country becomes, the more its population struggles with feelings of meaning and purpose. Location 326-327

The wealthier and safer the place you live, the more likely you are to commit suicide. Location 249-250

Hope doesn’t care about the problems that have already been solved. Hope cares only about the problems that still need to be solved. Because the better the world gets, the more we have to lose. And the more we have to lose, the less we feel we have to hope for. Location 255-257

To build and maintain hope, we need three things: a sense of control, a belief in the value of something, and a community. Location 257-258

And we usually don’t lie out of malice—rather, we lie to others because we’re in such a habit of lying to ourselves. Location 703-704

Wherever there is pain, there is always an inherent sense of superiority/inferiority. And there’s always pain. Location 727-728

Leaders need their followers to be perpetually dissatisfied; it’s good for the leadership business. If everything were perfect and great, there’d be no reason to follow anybody. Location 1471-1472

Success is in many ways far more precarious than failure. First, because the more you gain the more you have to lose, and second, because the more you have to lose, the harder it is to maintain hope. Location 1514-1515

By experiencing our hopes, we lose them. We see that our beautiful visions for a perfect future are not so perfect, that our dreams and aspirations are themselves riddled with unexpected flaws and unforeseen sacrifices. Location 1515-1517

The only thing that can ever truly destroy a dream is to have it come true. Location 1517-1518

Ideologies, because they’re constantly challenged, changed, proven, and then disproven, offer scant psychological stability upon which to build one’s hope. And when the ideological foundation of our Ideologies, because they’re constantly challenged, changed, proven, and then disproven, offer scant psychological stability upon which to build one’s hope. Location 1690-1691

Thus, began the stupid dick-measuring contest also known as human history. Location 1723-1724

We’ve got it backward: everything being fucked doesn’t require hope; hope requires everything being fucked. Location 1752-1752

Hope is, therefore, destructive. Hope depends on the rejection of what currently is. Location 1755-1756

A friend of mine once described parenthood as “basically just following around a kid for a couple decades and making sure he doesn’t accidentally kill himself—and you’d be amazed how many ways a kid can find to accidentally kill himself.” Location 1890-1892

then they won’t actually trust you. The most precious and important things in life are, by definition, nontransactional. And to try to bargain for them is to immediately destroy them. You cannot conspire for happiness; it is impossible. But this is often what people try to do, especially when they seek out self-help and other personal development advice—they are essentially saying, “Show me the rules of the game I have to play, and I’ll play it,” not realizing that it’s the very fact that they think there are rules to happiness that is preventing them from being happy. Location 1955-1958

Becoming an adult is therefore developing the ability to do what is right for the simple reason that it is right. Location 1965-1966

This is essentially what good early parenting boils down to: implementing the correct consequences for a child’s pleasure/pain-driven behavior. Punish them for stealing ice cream; reward them for sitting quietly in a restaurant. Location 1992-1994

Graduating to adolescence requires trust. A child must trust that her behavior will produce predictable outcomes. Location 2007-2008

the problem with hope is that it is fundamentally transactional—it is a bargain between one’s current actions for some imagined, pleasant future. Don’t eat this, and you’ll go to heaven. Don’t kill that person, or you’ll get in trouble. Work hard and save your money, because that will make you happy. Location 2122-2124

The Blue Dot Effect suggests that, essentially, the more we look for threats, the more we will see them, regardless of how safe or comfortable our environment actually is. Location 2251-2252

Developmental psychology has long argued something similar: that protecting people from problems or adversity doesn’t make them happier or more secure; it makes them more easily insecure. Location 2268-2269

What we find, then, is that our emotional reactions to our problems are not determined by the size of the problem. Rather, our minds simply amplify (or minimize) our problems to fit the degree of stress we expect to experience. Location 2271-2273

Nobody is fully happy all the time, but similarly, nobody is fully unhappy all the time, either. It seems that humans, Location 2344-2345

Regardless of our external circumstances, live in a constant state of mild-but-not-fully-satisfying happiness. Put another way, things are pretty much always fine, but they could also always be better. Location 2345-2346

Human perception and expectations warp themselves to fit a predetermined amount of pain. Location 2361-2362

Because you can’t get rid of pain—pain is the universal constant of the human condition. Therefore, the attempt to move away from pain, to protect oneself from all harm, can only backfire. Trying to eliminate pain only increases your sensitivity to suffering, rather than alleviating your suffering. It causes you to see dangerous ghosts in every nook, to see tyranny and oppression in every authority, to see hate and deceit behind every embrace. Location 2390-2393

Not only is there no escaping the experience of pain, but pain is the experience. Location 2407-2408

Living well does not mean avoiding suffering; it means suffering for the right reasons. Location 2416-2416

Our tolerance for pain, as a culture, is diminishing rapidly. And not only is this diminishment failing to bring us more happiness, but it’s generating greater amounts of emotional fragility, which is why everything appears to be so fucked. Location 2531-2533

Meditation is, at its core, a practice of antifragility: training your mind to observe and sustain the never-ending ebb and flow of pain and not to let the “self” get sucked away by its riptide.
Location 2544-2546

The pursuit of happiness is, then, an avoidance of growth, an avoidance of maturity, an avoidance of virtue. It is treating ourselves and our minds as a means to some emotionally giddy end. It is sacrificing our consciousness for feeling good. It’s giving up our dignity for more comfort. Location 2611-2613

No matter how much wealth is generated in the world, the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our character, and the quality of our character is determined by our relationship to our pain. Location 2625-2627

He saw marketing as an incredible new tool that could give people the feeling of having freedom when, really, you’re just giving them a few more flavors of toothpaste to choose from. Location 2813-2815

More stuff doesn’t make us freer, it imprisons us with anxiety over whether we chose or did the best thing. Location 2837-2837

The only true form of freedom, the only ethical form of freedom, is through self-limitation. It is not the privilege of choosing everything you want in your life, but rather, choosing what you will give up in your life. Location 2843-2845

Even if all the problems of today get magically fixed, our minds will still perceive the inevitable fuckedness of tomorrow. Location 3165-3165

Don’t hope for better. Just be better. Location 3169-3169

“The trick is you bite off more than you can chew . . . and then you chew it.” Location 3239-3240