Tag Archives: Books

Killer Quotes – Robert A. Heinlein on specialisation and the human condition

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein – Time Enough for Love

What separates humans from the insects in a nutshell.  Robert A. Heinlein is recognised as one of the leading lights of the Golden Age of science fiction along with Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov.  He is responsible for some of the seminal works of science fiction which have influenced popular culture and modern thought.  He obviously didn’t think much of the man who couldn’t change a car tyre.

Killer Quotes – Fear – Frank Herbert

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Frank Herbert – Dune

In his epic novel Dune Frank Herbert gives us this litany against fear and inspiration that has been keeping tattoo artists busy ever since.

Killer Quotes – James Gleick on the perfection of the book, the hammer and the bicycle.

“As a technology, the book is like a hammer. That is to say, it is perfect: a tool ideally suited to its task. Hammers can be tweaked and varied but will never go obsolete. Even when builders pound nails by the thousand with pneumatic nail guns, every household needs a hammer. Likewise, the bicycle is alive and well. It was invented in a world without automobiles, and for speed and range it was quickly surpassed by motorcycles and all kinds of powered scooters. But there is nothing quaint about bicycles. They outsell cars. “

James Glieck

Sometimes we forget, as the pace of life quickens and the technology available to us accelerates, develops and evolves wonders undreamed of twenty, ten even five years ago and blinds us to what we have already achieved and what is already available to us – even necessary to us even in the face of even greater advancement, that sometimes the simple things in life really are the best and newer faster shinier and more advanced is not necessarily better suited to the task at hand.  

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