“When people say ‘I hate math’ what you’re really saying is, ‘I hate the way mathematics was taught to me.’ Imagine an art class, in which, they teach you only how to paint a fence or wall, but never show you the paintings of the great masters. Then, of course, years later you would say, ‘I hate art.’ What you would really be saying is ‘I hate painting the fence.’ And so it is with math. When people say ‘I hate math’ what they are really saying is ‘I hate painting the fence.’”
“I don’t particularly care about the usual. If you want to get an idea of a friend’s temperament, ethics, and personal elegance, you need to look at him under the tests of severe circumstances, not under the regular rosy glow of daily life. Can you assess the danger a criminal poses by examining only what he does on an ordinary day? Can we understand health without considering wild diseases and epidemics?
Indeed the normal is often irrelevant. Almost everything in social life is produced by rare but consequential shocks and jumps; all the while almost everything studied about social life focuses on the ‘normal,’ particularly with ‘bell curve’ methods of inference that tell you close to nothing. Why? Because the bell curve ignores large deviations, cannot handle them, yet makes us confident that we have tamed uncertainty. Its nickname in this book is GIF, Great Intellectual Fraud.”
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, on the black swan theory.
“It’s a competitive world I guess, but all we can do is feel our best. I’m not a competitive person, I love women, I’m intrigued by them. I think women are fascinating and complex.”
“I asked Yuri, ‘How do I do this? How do I live a political life with motherhood?’ I was exhausted, but Yuri made it seem so easy. ‘This,’ she said, gesturing to my daughter in her lap, ‘is what you do. You just take your daughter everywhere, like I did with my kids — protests, rallies, long late-night planning meetings. We take our children with us and they grow up to be good people, people who care about the community. And she will learn what kind of woman her mother is by watching you work in the movement.’”
“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot—it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”
—Dr. Maya Angelou. Rest in peace, beautiful soul.