A few Good Men
I was flying from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur when I read this book. The hour was late and it was a moonless, cloudless night. The stars were shining brighter than I had ever seen them before. The setting made the book even more memorable.
So many of the giants who helped shape our present were such normal, flawed individuals. It was their unwavering devotion to a particular cause that allowed them to come up with breakthroughs. Devotion is not the domain of only the exceptional or the gifted. Devotion can be practised by anyone.
We have come a very long way from those dark days. However, we have also forgotten the lessons we learnt from that hopeless ignorance. Dogma and stupidity can never be any substitute for pure, hard science. Science is what brought us here from that murky past. Science is the way.
“She has known the innocence and insouciance of childhood, the passion and abandon of youth, and the ripe wisdom of maturity that comes from long experience of pain and pleasure; and over and over again she has renewed her childhood and youth and age.”
— Jawaharlal Nehru
“I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind - an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. If you can’t force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader.”
— Lee Kuan Yew
“You are born with a particular makeup and tendencies that mark you as a piece of fate. It is who you are to the core. Some people never become who they are; they stop trusting in themselves; they conform to the tastes of others, and they end up wearing a mask that hides their true nature. If you allow yourself to learn who you really are by paying attention to that voice and force within you, then you can become what you were fated to become—an individual, a Master.”
— Robert Greene
“In your life, there are going to be constant demands for your time and attention. How are you going to decide which of those demands gets resources? The trap many people fall into is to allocate their time to whoever screams loudest, and their talent to whatever offers them the fastest reward. That’s a dangerous way to build a strategy.”
— Clayton M. Christensen
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.
So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”
— Carl Sagan
“In the most abstract fields—music, mathematics, physics, even chess—the young thrive. Child prodigies are not quite common, but they turn up regularly. Perhaps it makes sense that if a Mozart or a Bobby Fischer were to appear anywhere, it would be in a self-contained field that does not require insight into the quirks of human psychology. We are unlikely ever to meet a twelve-year-old Tolstoy.”
— Edward Dolnick