Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Genius is but a greater aptitude for patience." - Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

"Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience." - Benjamin Franklin

"The message is clear: plan with attitude, prepare with aptitude, participate with servitude, receive with gratitude, and this should be enough to separate you from the multitudes." - Krish Khanam

"Most do violence to their natural aptitude, and thus attain superiority in nothing." - Baltasar Gracián

"No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which they took no interest. For it is part of education to interest ourselves in subjects for which we have no aptitude." - T. S. Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

"The game of status seeking, organized around committees, is played in roughly the same fashion in Africa and in America and in the Soviet Union. Perhaps the aptitude for this game is a part of our genetic inheritance, like the aptitude for speech and for music. The game has had profound consequences for science. In science, as in the quest for a village water supply, big projects bring enhanced status; small projects do not. In the competition for status, big projects usually win, whether or not they are scientifically justified. As the committees of academic professionals compete for power and influence, big science becomes more and more preponderant over small science. The large and fashionable squeezes out the small and unfashionable. The space shuttle squeezes out the modest and scientifically more useful expendable launcher. The Great Observatory squeezes out the Explorer. The centralized adduction system squeezes out the village well. Fortunately, the American academic system is pluralistic and chaotic enough that first-rate small science can still be done in spite of the committees. In odd corners, in out-of the-way universities, and in obscure industrial laboratories, our Fulanis are still at work. " - Freeman John Dyson

"It was from him I learned that the stage is too coarse a medium for the works of the supreme poet; Shakespeare's depths can only be plumbed in the solitude of the study. So I used to shut myself up and plumb away for hours, and I acquired such aptitude that for a time there was a belief that I might pipe Shakespeare into young minds of the rest of my days, as a full-fledged academic plumber." - Robertson Davies

"And now, first and foremost, you can never afford to forget for a moment what is the object of our forest policy. That object is not to preserve forests because they beautiful, though that is good in itself; nor because they are refuges for the wild creatures of the wilderness, though that, too, is good in itself; but the primary object of our forest policy, as of the land policy of the United States, is the making of prosperous homes. It is part of the traditional policy of home making in our country. Every other consideration comes as secondary. You yourselves have got to keep this practical object before your minds: to remember that a forest which contributes nothing to the wealth, progress, or safety of the country is of no interest to the Government, and should be of little interest to the forester. Your attention must be directed to the preservation of forests, not as an end in itself, but as the means of preserving and increasing the prosperity of the nation." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The fundamental activity of medical science is to determine the ultimate causation of disease." - Wilfred Trotter, fully Wilfred Batten Lewis Trotter

"The writer has us by the hand, forces us along her road, makes us see what she sees, never leaves us for a moment or allows us to forget her. At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Bronte. Remarkable faces, figures of strong outline and gnarled feature have flashed upon us in passing; but it is through her eyes that we have seen them." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"He regarded love as a sort of cruel malady through which the elect are required to pass in their late youth and from which they emerge, pale and wrung, but ready for the business of living." - Thornton Wilder, fully Thornton Niven Wilder

"Life will frequently languish, even in the hands of the busy, if they have not some employment subsidiary to that which forms their main pursuit." - Hugh Blair

"A precious mouldering pleasure 't is to meet an antique book, in just the dress his century wore; a privilege, I think, his venerable hand to take, and warming in our own, a passage back, or two, to make to times when he was young. His quaint opinions to inspect, his knowledge to unfold on what concerns our mutual mind. The literature of old; what interested scholars most, what competitions ran when Plato was a certainty, and Sophocles a man; when Sappho was a living girl, and Beatrice wore the gown that Dante deified. Facts, centuries before, he traverses familiar, as one should come to town and tell you all your dreams were true: he lived where dreams were born. His presence is enchantment, you beg him not to go; old volumes shake their vellum heads and tantalize just so." - Emily Dickinson, fully Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

"Don't think of what you have to do, don't consider how to carry it out! he exclaimed. The shot will only go smoothly when it takes the archer himself by surprise." - Eugen Herrigel