Brevity is the Essence of Memorability : John W. Gardner, Francesca Gardner Reese : “Quotations of Wit and Wisdom”

The Gardners’ “Quotations of Wit and Wisdom” is one of those little books you pick up to be reminded that idiocy, unlike gravity, is not a universal constant. But then you chuckle your way into reading the whole thing in one sitting. Montaige, Mark Twain, Kierkegaard and Will Rogers make frequent appearances; so do, surprisingly, a lot of the Spanish proverbs I grew up with that were supposed to keep me from grievous errors in life. (They only half-succeeded.)

Here’s a couple of classic ones:

“When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.”

“Life must be understood backwards; unfortunately, it must be lived forwards.”

“Funny how up-and-coming people never go anywhere.”

“Everyone has the right to say what they think, and everyone else has the right to punch them for it.”

“Few of us can handle success. Someone else’s, I mean.”

“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”

“The wise man dies, just like the fool.” (The Bible is bleak, y’all.)



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