Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"The Way of Peace" by James Allen

Kindle edition here.

  • "Meditation is the intense dwelling, in thought, upon an idea or theme, with the object of thoroughly comprehending it, and whatsoever you constantly meditate upon you will not only come to understand, but will grow more and more into its likeness, for it will become incorporated into your very being, will become, in fact, your very self. If, therefore, you constantly dwell upon that which is selfish and debasing, you will ultimately become selfish and debased; if you ceaselessly think upon that which is pure and unselfish you will surely become pure and unselfish."
  • "There is an unavoidable tendency to become literally the embodiment of that quality upon which one most constantly thinks."
  • "He who would secure any worldly advantage must be willing to work vigorously for it, and he would be foolish indeed who, waiting with folded hands, expected it to come to him for the mere asking."
  • "Do not then vainly imagine that you can obtain the heavenly possessions without making an effort."

Monday, November 7, 2011

"The Misfit" by Steven Poser

Kindle edition here.
  • "You can imagine how difficult it is treating a Hollywood actress, who has so many serious problems and is completely alone in the world, and yet at the same time is extremely famous." 
  • "She was so childlike she could do anything, and you would forgive as you would forgive a seven-year old. She was both a woman and a baby, and both men and women adored her." 

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Emma" by Jane Austen

Kindle edition here.
  • "a valetudinarian all his life, without activity of mind or body, he was a much older man in ways than in years; and though everywhere beloved for the friendliness of his heart and his amiable temper, his talents could not have recommended him at any time"
  • "It was a melancholy change; and Emma could not but sigh over it, and wish for impossible things"
  • "from his habits of gentle selfishness, and of being never able to suppose that other people could feel differently from himself"
  • "a fanciful, troublesome creature!"
  • ""And have you never known the pleasure and triumph of a lucky guess?— I pity you.—I thought you cleverer—for, depend upon it a lucky guess is never merely luck. There is always some talent in it."
  • "He had never been an unhappy man; his own temper had secured him from that"
  • "a great deal better to choose than to be chosen, to excite gratitude than to feel it"

"Common Sense" by Thomas Payne

Kindle edition here.
  • "Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them"
  • "Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher."
  • "Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one"
  • "I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the easier repaired when disordered"
  • "There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of monarchy; it first excludes a man from the means of information, yet empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgment is required. The state of a king shuts him from the world, yet the business of a king requires him to know it thoroughly"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"The Soul of Man Under Socialism" by Oscar Wilde

Kindle edition here.

  • "The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence"
  • "Most personalities have been obliged to be rebels.  Half their strength has been wasted in friction."
  • "The note of the perfect personality is not rebellion, but peace."
  • "it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought"
  • "their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it.  Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Notes From The Underground" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Kindle edition here.
  • "I am well-educated enough not to be superstitious, but I am superstitious"
  • "I refuse to consult a doctor from spite."
  • "Of course, I can't explain who it is precisely that I am mortifying in this case by my spite: I am perfectly well aware that I cannot "pay out" the doctors by not consulting them; I know better than anyone that by all this I am only injuring myself and no one else. But still, if I don't consult a doctor it is from spite. My liver is bad, well--let it get worse!"
  • "I was inwardly conscious with shame that I was not only not a spiteful but not even an embittered man, that I was simply scaring sparrows at random and amusing myself by it."
  • "opposite elements. I knew that they had been swarming in me all my life"
  • "Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything."

"The House of Pomegranates" by Oscar Wilde

  • "The burden of this world is too great for one man to bear, and the world’s sorrow too heavy for one heart to suffer"
  • "strange passion for beauty that was destined to have so great an influence over his life"
  • "the secrets of art are best learned in secret, and ... Beauty, like Wisdom, loves the lonely worshiper."
  • "Far away, in an orchard, a nightingale was singing.  A faint perfume of jasmine came through the open window. "
  • "Never before had he felt so keenly, or with such exquisite joy, the magic and the mystery of beautiful things."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"The Antichrist" by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Download here.

  • "In brief, what he saw in Christian ethics, under all the poetry and all the fine show of altruism and all the theoretical benefits therein, was a democratic effort to curb the egoism of the strong—a conspiracy of the chandala against the free functioning of their superiors, nay, against the free progress of mankind."
  • "Well, an idea is an idea. The present one may be right and it may be wrong. One thing is quite certain: that no progress will be made against it by denouncing it as merely immoral."
  • "But in any battle between an institution and an idea, the idea, in the long run, has the better of it."
  • "The majority of men prefer delusion to truth. It soothes. It is easy to grasp. Above all, it fits more snugly than the truth into a universe of false appearances—of complex and irrational phenomena, defectively grasped."

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Dynamics of Faith" by Paul Tillich

Paperback and Kindle edition via Amazon.
  • "There is hardly a word in the religious language, both theological and popular, which is subject to more misunderstanding, distortions and questionable definitions that the word "faith." It belongs to those terms which need healing before they can be used to the healing of men."
  • "Today the term "faith" is more productive of disease than of health. It confuses, misleads, creates alternately skepticism and fanaticism, intellectual resistance and emotional surrender, rejection of genuine religion and subjection to substitutes."
  • "there is as yet no substitute expressing the reality to which the term "faith"points. So, for the time being, the only way of dealing with the problem is to try to reinterpret"
  • "Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned: the dynamics of faith are the dynamics of man's ultimate concern."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Anthem" by Ayn Rand

Download here.
  • "It is a fearful word, alone."
  • "Nothing matters save the work, our secret, our evil, our precious work."
  • "all men are one and that there is no will save the will of all men together"
  • "This is a great sin, to be born with a head which is too quick."
  • "The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them."
  • "So much is still to be learned! So long a road lies before us, and what care we if we must travel it alone!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"As a Man Thinketh" by James Allen

Download here or here.
  • "The aphorism, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," not only embraces the whole of a man's being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts."
  • "Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits"
  • "cause and effect is as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things"
  • "A noble and Godlike character is not a thing of favour or chance, but is the natural result of continued effort in right thinking, the effect of long-cherished association with Godlike thoughts. An ignoble and bestial character, by the same process, is the result of the continued harbouring of grovelling thoughts."
  • "Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace."
  • "man is the master of thought, the moulder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"The Grand Inquisitor" (from The Brothers Karamazov) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Brothers Karamazov (by Fyodor Dostoyevsky) - the Kindle edition.
  •          "And blind faith remained alone To lull the trusting heart"
  • "vague and undefined promise of freedom, which men, dull and unruly as they are by nature, are unable so much as to understand"
  • "never was there anything more unbearable to the human race than personal freedom!"
  • "where is there freedom of choice where men are bribed with bread?"
  • "Feed us first and then command us to be virtuous!" will be the words written upon the banner"

Friday, August 12, 2011

"All Things Considered" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Download here or here.
  • "I cannot understand the people who take literature seriously; but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this book."
  • "It is so easy to be solemn; it is so hard to be frivolous."
  • "It is more dignified to sit still than to dance the Barn Dance."
  • "That is why so many tired, elderly, and wealthy men go in for politics. They are responsible, because they have not the strength of mind left to be irresponsible."
  • "One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time."
  • "In these essays (as I read them over) I feel frightfully annoyed with myself for not getting to the point more quickly; but I had not enough leisure to be quick."

Monday, July 25, 2011

"The Future of an Illusion" by Sigmund Freud

The Future of an Illusion (by Sigmund Freud) - the Kindle edition.
  •  "The one person this publication may injure is myself."
  •  "It is possible that cultural development lie ahead of us in which the satisfaction of yet other wishes, which are entirely permissible today, will appear just as unacceptable as cannibalism is today." 
  • "It goes without saying that a civilization which leaves so large a number of its participants unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves prospect of a lasting experience.
  • "scientific work is the only road which can lead us to a knowledge of reality outside ourselves. It is once again merely an illusion to expect anything from intuition and introspection; they can give us nothing but particulars about our own mental life, which are hard to interpret 
  • "Civilization has little to fear from educated people and brainworkers."
  • "But surely infantilism is destined to be surmounted. Men cannot remain children for ever; they must in the end go out into the 'hostile life'. We may call this 'education to reality'."
  • "The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest till it has gained a hearing.
  • "in the long run nothing can withstand reason and experience" 
  • "No, our science is no illusion. But an illusion would be to suppose that what science cannot give us we can get elsewhere."

"The Schopenhauer Cure" by Irvin Yalom

Kindle edition and Paperback.
  • "Live your life to the fullest; and then, and only then, die. Don't leave any unlived life behind."
  • "he knew exactly what to do and how to spend his final year. He would live just the way he had lived the previous year - and the year before that and before that. (He loved being a therapist; he loved connecting to others and helping to bring something to life in them.)"
  •  "A curious thought experiment. . . Nietzsche's message to us was to live life in such a way that we would be willing to repeat the same life eternally."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance" by Richard Powers

Paperback edition.
  • "We must be able to endure seeing the truth, but above all we should pass it on to our fellow men and to posterity whether it be favorable or unfavorable to us."
  • "a man with moral cause stands outside the law"
  • "foolishness went over better in public than gravity"
  • "Technology could feed dreams of progress or kill dreams of nostalgia."
  • "He embodies the unsolvable paradox at the heart of modern man."
  • "When we don't know what we are after, we risk passing it over in the dark."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer: The Wisdom of Life

Download here or here.
  • "a man is in himself, what accompanies him when he is alone, what no one can give or take away"
  • "The only thing that stands in our power to achieve, is to make the most advantageous use possible of the personal qualities we possess"
  • "Ordinary people think merely how they shall spend their time; a man of any talent tries to use it."
  • "the same external events or circumstances affect no two people alike; even with perfectly similar surroundings every one lives in a world of his own"
  •  "The world in which a man lives shapes itself chiefly by the way in which he looks at it, and so it proves different to different men; to one it is barren, dull, and superficial; to another rich, interesting, and full of meaning."
  • "every man is pent up within the limits of his own consciousness"
  • "the highest, most varied and lasting pleasures are those of the mind"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Soul Searching: Why Psychotherapy Must Promote Moral Responsibility" by William Doherty

Kindle edition.
  • "pushing me to be  more courageous at times when I was waffling"
  • "psychotherapy in America is facing a crisis of public confidence"
  • "the crisis is over psychotherapy's ability to  speak to the profound social and moral problems of our day"
  • "Are  therapists making these problems worse by justifying the contemporary   flight from personal responsibility, moral accountability,  and participatory community?"
  • "Two of the most prominent philosophers in the world,  Alasdair Maclntyre and Jurgen Habermas, have each raised concerns   about the impact of the "therapeutic culture" on contemporary   mores and morality. Both implicate psychotherapy in the  decline of family and community in the Western world."
  • "moral lobotomy"
  • "This book argues that therapists since the time of Freud have overemphasized individual self-interest"

"Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut

Kindle edition and paperback.
  • "People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order, so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say."
  • "The brainless serenity of charwomen and janitors working late at night came over us. In a messy world we were at least making our little corner clean."
  • "Americans are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be."
  • "You're looking at the world's champion mistakemaker"
  • "All the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies."
  • "Anyone unable to understand how a useful religion can be found on lies, will not understant this book either."

The Fruits of the Earth by Andre Gide

Book I
  • "Let your waiting be not even longing, but simply a welcoming. Welcome everything that comes to you, but do not long for anything else. Long only for what you have. ... Let your longing be for love, and your possession of a lover's."
  • "Let the importance lie in your look, not in the thing you look at."
  • "Look upon the evening as the death of the day; and upon the morning as the birth of all things. Let every moment renew your vision. The wise man is he who constantly wonders afresh."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Download here or here.
  • "He who relies solely on warlike measures shall be exterminated; he who relies solely on peaceful measures shall perish."
  • "Military weapons are the means used by the Sage to punish violence and cruelty, to give peace to troublous times, to remove difficulties and dangers, and to succor those who are in peril."
  • "Every animal with blood in its veins and horns on its head will fight when it is attacked."
  • "If I fight, I conquer."
  • "All warfare is based on deception."
  • "when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near."

"Petty Troubles of Married Life" by Honoré de Balzac

Download here.
  • "Then what? . . . . . Why, then come a crowd of petty unforeseen troubles, like the following: . . ."
  • "General Rule.--No man has ever yet discovered the way to give friendly advice to any woman, not even to his own wife."
  • "But as to knowing women as well as I know them, it will not be knowing them much; they don't know themselves!"
  • "Axiom.--A husband should always know what is the matter with his wife, for she always knows what is not."
  • "Axiom.--Inasmuch as women are always willing and able to explain their strong points, they leave us to guess at their weak ones."
  •  "You imagine you have married a creature endowed with reason: you are woefully mistaken, my friend."

"The Canterville Ghost" by Oscar Wilde

Download here or here.
  • "Miss Virginia E. Otis was a little girl of fifteen, lithe and lovely as a fawn, and with a fine freedom in her large blue eyes."
  • "It was a lovely July evening, and the air was delicate with the scent of the pinewoods."
  • "What a monstrous climate!" said the American Minister, calmly, as he lit a long cheroot. "I guess the old country is so overpopulated that they have not enough decent weather for everybody."
  • "He was sitting by the window, watching the ruined gold of the yellowing trees fly through the air, and the red leaves dancing madly down the long avenue."

"A Woman of No Importance" by Oscar Wilde

Download here or here.
  • "One should sympathise with the joy, the beauty, the colour of life."
  • "Nothing should be out of the reach of hope. Life is a hope."
  •  "I think the stupid people talk a great deal."
  • "More marriages are ruined nowadays by the common sense of the husband than by anything else. How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly rational being?"
  • "Oh, women have become so highly educated, Jane, that nothing should surprise us nowadays, except happy marriages. They apparently are getting remarkably rare."

"The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde

Download here or here.
  •  "Oh! it is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read."
  • "The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!"
  • "I really don't see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal."
  • "My dear fellow, the way you flirt with Gwendolen is perfectly disgraceful. It is almost as bad as the way Gwendolen flirts with you."

"On the Decay of the Art of Lying" by Mark Twain

Download here or here.
  • "The Lie, as a Virtue, A Principle, is eternal; the Lie, as a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man's best and surest friend, is immortal, and cannot perish from the earth while this club remains. My complaint simply concerns the decay of the art of lying."
  • "No fact is more firmly established than that lying is a necessity of our circumstances--the deduction that it is then a Virtue goes without saying. No virtue can reach its highest usefulness without careful and diligent cultivation--therefore, it goes without saying that this one ought to be taught in the public schools--even in the newspapers. What chance has the ignorant uncultivated liar against the educated expert?"
  • "None of us could live with an habitual truth-teller; but thank goodness none of us has to."

"Pygmalion" by Bernard Shaw

Download here or here.
  • "The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls"
  • "Never lose a chance: it doesn't come every day."
  • "What is life but a series of inspired follies?"
  • "the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she's treated"
  • "You see, we're all savages, more or less. We're supposed to be civilized and cultured—to know all about poetry and philosophy and art and science, and so on; but how many of us know even the meanings of these names?"

"This Side Of Paradise" by Scott Fitzgerald

 Download here or here.

  •           "Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a reverie of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into that dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken. . . ."
  •  "School ruined his French and gave him a distaste for standard authors."
  • "It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being."
  • "he was a slave to his own moods"
  •           "your heart - you've probably been neglecting your heart - and you don't know"