Book Quotes

There were too many good quotes to fit them all into yesterday’s post. Here’s another batch.

The Evolutionary Void (Commonwealth: The Void Trilogy) by Peter F. Hamilton

  • We all regard the past too highly. We should cut ourselves free of it. You can only ever look forward to the future.”
  • Most people who have failed miserably in life itself have one last resort left available to them. They become politicians.

American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman

  • The young boss realized that his job was not to show his subordinates how much smarter he was than they were, but to bring them up to his level.
  • Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again. —HENRY FORD
  • When you get a whole country—as did ours—thinking that Washington is a sort of heaven and behind its clouds dwell omniscience and omnipotence, you are educating that country into a dependent state of mind which augurs ill for the future. —HENRY FORD
  • “You have to expect the unexpected, and you have to deal with it,” he said. “Whining is not a plan. Wallowing is not a plan. We have a plan, and if we need to adjust it, we will.”
  • Washington was now spending taxpayer dollars to pay for advertising touting the benefits of GM and Chrysler products over competing Fords. Those companies were also using taxpayer dollars to offer bigger incentives in an effort to win back sales. Even more troubling for Ford was the fact that the government was using General Motors’ former lending arm, GMAC, to offer attractive financing terms to buyers that Ford simply could not match.
  • The leader’s job is to remind people of that vision, make sure they stick to the process, and keep them working together.

WAR by Sebastian Junger

  • Apaches have a 30 mm chain gun slaved to the pilot’s helmet that points wherever he looks; if you shoot at an Apache, the pilot turns his head, spots you, and kills you.
  • Good leaders know that exhaustion is partly a state of mind, though, and that the men who succumb to it have on some level decided to put themselves above everyone else. If you’re not prepared to walk for someone you’re certainly not prepared to die for them, and that goes to the heart of whether you should even be in the platoon.
  • We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. —Winston Churchill (or George Orwell)
  • The only way to calm your nerves in that environment was to marvel at the insane amount of firepower available to the Americans and hope that that changed the equation somehow. They have a huge shoulder-fired rocket called a Javelin, for example, that can be steered into the window of a speeding car half a mile away. Each Javelin round costs $80,000, and the idea that it’s fired by a guy who doesn’t make that in a year at a guy who doesn’t make that in a lifetime is somehow so outrageous it almost makes the war seem winnable.
  • “Combat is such an adrenaline rush,” he says. “I’m worried I’ll be looking for that when I get home and if I can’t find it, I’ll just start drinking and getting in trouble. People back home think we drink because of the bad stuff, but that’s not true… we drink because we miss the good stuff.”
  • The most traumatic things about combat is having to give it up.
  • Men say they miss combat, it’s not that they actually miss getting shot at—you’d have to be deranged—it’s that they miss being in a world where everything is important and nothing is taken for granted. They miss being in a world where human relations are entirely governed by whether you can trust the other person with your life.
  • Statistically, it’s six times as dangerous to spend a year as a young man in America than as a cop or a fireman, and vastly more dangerous than a one-year deployment at a big military base in Afghanistan. You’d have to go to a remote firebase like the KOP or Camp Blessing to find a level of risk that surpasses that of simply being an adolescent male back home.

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five by John Medina

  • I had deep feelings for my son—always will—but I wondered at the time what ever made me decide to have a baby. I had no idea that something so wonderful was also going to be so hard. I learned a difficult but important lesson: Once a kid comes into the world, the calculus of daily living coughs up new equations. I am good at math, but I was no good at this. I had no idea how to solve these problems.
  • The baby takes. The parent gives. End of story.
  • When I lecture on the science of young brains, the dads (it’s almost always the dads) demand to know how to get their kids into Harvard. The question invariably angers me. I bellow, “You want to get your kid into Harvard? You really want to know what the data say? I’ll tell you what the data say! Go home and love your wife!” This chapter is about that retort: why marital hostility happens, how it alters a baby’s developing brain, and how you can counteract the hostility and minimize its effects.
  • Couples who regularly practice empathy see stunning results. It is the independent variable that predicts a successful marriage.
  • For all of us, nature controls about 50 percent of our intellectual horsepower, and environment determines the rest.
  • There are four nutrients you will want in your behavioral formula, adjusting them as your baby gets older: breast-feeding, talking to your baby, guided play, and praising effort rather than accomplishment. Brain research tells us there are also several toxins: pushing your child to perform tasks his brain is not developmentally ready to take on; stressing your child to the point of a psychological state termed “learned helplessness”; and, for the under-2 set, television.
  • Along with the ability to regulate emotions, the ability to perceive the needs of another person and respond with empathy plays a huge role in your child’s social competence. Empathy makes good friends.

Book Quotes

I’ve been reading a lot of good books lately thanks to Good Reads. Here are some of the quotes that I’ve highlighted while reading them on my Kindle.

Pandora’s Star (The Commonwealth Saga) by Peter F. Hamilton

  • He never did understand why people collected or even admired art; the greatest human artist could never hope to match what nature did with a single flower.
  • That’s the thing with serious money, you can do so much that you never have time to do anything.
  • Ozzie knew just how much truth there was in the old saying that every conservative is another liberal who got mugged.

Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle by Si Robertson

  • When you were born and they were handing out brains, you thought they said ‘trains’.
  • Christine was ready to have a baby, so she really wanted me to visit the doctor to find out what was going on. I wanted to have children badly as well, so I agreed to go. After an examination, the doctors thought my sperm count might be low. They handed me a glass jar and told me to bring back a specimen the next day. Now, I’m not going to lie. I didn’t feel comfortable doing it. Despite my embarrassment, I agreed to come back with a specimen. The next day, I returned to the doctor’s office. “Where’s the sample?” the doctor asked me. “Hey, I tried to do it,” I told him. “But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it. I asked my wife for help, but I still couldn’t do it. Then I asked my neighbor to help me, and I even asked my army buddies for assistance. No matter who helped, I couldn’t do it.” I looked at the doctor and his face was bright red. “Hey, none of us could get the lid off the jar,” I said.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

  • In World War II, 35,933 AAF planes were lost in combat and accidents. The surprise of the attrition rate is that only a fraction of the ill-fated planes were lost in combat. In 1943 in the Pacific Ocean Areas theater in which Phil’s crew served, for every plane lost in combat, some six planes were lost in accidents. Over time, combat took a greater toll, but combat losses never overtook noncombat losses.
  • In one time frame, in the Eastern Air Command, half of the Catalina flying boats attempting rescues crashed while trying to land on the ocean. It seems likely that for every man rescued, several would-be rescuers died, especially in the first years of the war.

The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One by Patrick Rothfuss

  • When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
  • If there is one thing I will not abide, it is the folly of a willful pride.
  • My parents danced together, her head on his chest. Both had their eyes closed. They seemed so perfectly content. If you can find someone like that, someone who you can hold and close your eyes to the world with, then you’re lucky. Even if it only lasts for a minute or a day.
  • There are two sure ways to lose a friend, one is to borrow, the other to lend.

The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two by Patrick Rothfuss

  • Books are a poor substitute for female companionship, but they are easier to find.
  • Everyone knows a man’s reputation except the man himself.
  • Nothing in the world is harder than convincing someone of an unfamiliar truth.
  • Trying to have a conversation with him was like playing catch with a well.

Peter F. Hamilton’s Commonwealth Universe

I heard about Peter F. Hamilton from enough distinct sources that I decided it was time to dive into his books. I started by reading Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained. These two books go together and tell the story of our future as humans invent wormhole technology. I enjoyed the story but it was a bit too long in some places.

The Void trilogy (The Dreaming Void, The Temporal Void, and The Evolutionary Void) continues in the same universe, the Commonwealth, as the first two books. Some of the same characters appear too helping to tie the two stories together. This one too took a while to get going but finished strong with the third book. If I hadn’t had such strong recommendations for it, I don’t know that I would have stuck it out.

All five books land in the 3-4 star range for me. They’re good books, but they could be great with some pruning.


The ratio of good books I hear about to good books I have time to read is approximately 7000 to 1. Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but I do have a huge backlog of books that I’d love to read. Keeping track of them was a bit ugly in the past but it got a lot cleaner once I started using Goodreads.

The concept is pretty simple. Think of it like a Netflix catalog and queue except it’s for books instead of movies. You can easily add books to your queue, keep track of books you’ve read, write reviews for books, and see recommendations of other books you might like based on what you’ve already read. There are apps for just about every platform (on Windows Phone look for “Social Reads”.) If you have one a Kindle Paperwhite 2, Goodreads is integrated straight into the operating system!

With so little time to read, I want to make that time count. Goodreads has really upped the average quality of books that I’ve read since I started using the site.

Ender’s Game

The Ender’s Game movie launched this weekend. I’m excited to see it (probably at home after it comes out on disc) so I can’t tell you if the movie is any good or not. But the book? The book is fantastic. This is probably my favorite book of all time. There’s always the debate about whether you should read the book or watch the movie first. Both have their merits and I’ve done both. There’s no argument for this one though. You really need to read the book first. Why? Well I can’t tell you for the same reason you shouldn’t watch the movie first. I guess the only case where you should ever watch the movie first is if you have absolutely zero intention of ever reading the book.

If you enjoy the book, the next three books in the series form a trilogy and are good. I think there are 9 or 10 total books in the series and I feel like they kind of dwindle as you go. But if you’re reading by book 7 or 8, you’re probably so engrossed in Ender’s universe that you don’t care too much.