Great Throughts Treasury

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


"Cheerfulness sharpens the edge and removes the rust from the mind. A joyous heart supplies oil to our inward machinery, and makes the whole of our powers work with ease and efficiency." - Arthur Aughey

"That one who does not get fun and enjoyment out of every day in which he lives, needs to reorganize his life. And the sooner the better, for pure enjoyment throughout life has more to do with one's happiness and efficiency than almost any other single element." - George Matthew Adams

"There are five tests of the evidence of education - correctness and precision in the use of the mother tongue; refined and gentle manners, the result of fixed habits of thought and action; sound standards of appreciation of beauty and of worth, and a character based on those standards; power and habit of reflection, efficiency or the power to do." - Nicholas Murray Butler

"Even if governmental conduct of business could give us more efficiency instead of less efficiency, the fundamental objection to it would remain unaltered and unabated. It would destroy political equality. It would increase rather than decrease abuse and corruption. It would stifle initiative and invention. It would undermine the development of leadership. It would cramp and cripple the mental and spiritual energies of our people. It would extinguish equality and opportunity. It would dry up the spirit of liberty and progress." - Herbert Hoover, fully Herbert Clark Hoover

"If the Day of Judgment came tomorrow, and God asked us what we had made of His revelation, of His grace and our freedom… we would be hard put to it to explain the advantages of a machine civilization whose highest efficiency is used for murder and slavery." - R. L. Bruckberger, fully Raymond Léopold Bruckberger

"Efficiency is concerned with doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things." - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"Efficiency is intelligent laziness." - David Dunham

"We are in the grip of a scientific materialism, caught in a vicious cycle where our security today seems to depend on regimentation and weapons which will ruin us tomorrow… the intellectual achievements of great scientists are being perverted by the material exploitation of industry and war…I have lived to experience the early results of scientific materialism… have watched pride of workmanship leave and human character decline as efficiency of production lines increased… I have seen the science I worshipped and the aircraft I loved destroying the civilization I expected them to save." -

"The yuppie generation are very good gameplayers, but morally, ethically, they have no idea what they’re about. To them, justice is efficiency, not fairness." -

"The political problem of mankind is to combine three things: Economic Efficiency, Social Justice, and Individual Liberty." - John Maynard Keynes

"We are in the grip of a scientific materialism, caught in a vicious cycle where our security today seems to depend on regimentation and weapons which will ruin us tomorrow… the intellectual achievements of great scientists are being perverted by the material exploitation of industry and war…I have lived to experience the early results of scientific materialism… have watched pride of workmanship leave and human character decline as efficiency of production lines increased… I have seen the science I worshipped and the aircraft I loved destroying the civilization I expected them to save." - Charles Lindbergh, fully Charles Augustus Lindbergh, nicknamed "Slim,""Lucky Lindy" and "The Lone Eagle"

"The requirement of maximal efficiency leads as a consequence to the requirement of minimal individuality. " - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the defining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity. " - Jacques Ellul

"Technique has taken over the whole of civilization. Death, procreation, birth all submit to technical efficiency and systemization." - Jacques Ellul

"Openness of mind means accessibility of mind to any and every consideration that will throw light upon the situation that needs to be cleared up, and that will help determine the consequences of acting this way or that. Efficiency in accomplishing ends which have been settled upon as unalterable can coexist with a narrowly opened mind. But intellectual growth means constant expansion of horizons and consequent formation of new purposes and new responses. These are impossible without an active disposition to welcome points of view hitherto alien; an active desire to entertain considerations which modify existing purposes. Retention of capacity to grow is the reward of such intellectual hospitality. The worst thing about stubbornness of mind, about prejudices, is that they arrest development; they shut off the mind from new stimuli. Open-mindedness means retention of the childlike attitude; closed-mindedness means premature intellectual old age." - John Dewey

"Faced with the admitted difficulty of managing the creative process, we are doubling our efforts to do so. Is this because science has failed to deliver, having given us nothing more than nuclear power, penicillin, space travel, genetic engineering, transistors, and superconductors? Or is it because governments everywhere regard as a reproach activities they cannot advantageously control? They felt that way about the marketplace for goods, but trillions of wasted dollars later, they have come to recognize the efficiency of this self-regulating system. Not so, however, with the marketplace for ideas. " - John Charles Polanyi

"Does man exist for the sake of society? The ultimate worth of a person would then be determined by his usefulness to others, by the efficiency of his social work.... Such service does not claim all of one’s life and can therefore not be the ultimate answer to his quest for the meaning of life as a whole. Man has more to give than what other men are able or willing to accept. Man’s quest for a meaning of existence is essentially a quest for lasting... The way to the lasting does not lie on the other side of life; it does not begin where time breaks off. The lasting begins not beyond but within time, within the moment, within the concrete... The days of our lives are representatives of eternity rather than fugitives, and we must live as if the fate of all time would totally depend on a single moment." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"A country that displays an almost ruthless commitment to efficiency and performance in every aspect of its economy, a country that switched to Japanese cars the moment they were more reliable, and to Chinese T-shirts the moment they were five cents cheaper, has loyally stuck with a health-care system that leaves its citizenry pulling out their teeth with pliers." - Malcolm Gladwell

"The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Nobody spends somebody else's money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else's resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property." - Milton Friedman, fully John Milton Friedman

"Many people complain about government waste, but I welcome it…for two reasons. In the first place, efficiency is not a desirable thing if somebody is doing a bad thing.…Government is doing things that we don’t want it to do; so the more money it wastes, the better. In the second place, waste brings home to the public at large the fact that government is not an efficient and effective instrument for achieving its objectives. One of the great causes for hope is a growing disillusionment…with the idea that government is the all-wise, all-powerful big brother who can solve every problem that comes along." - Milton Friedman, fully John Milton Friedman

"Experts often arrive at different results, both in fundamental matters, and in application who does not know of at least one case in his family where one doctor recommends a certain operation, another argues against it, while a third suggests an entirely different procedure? Who has not read of the debates about nuclear safety, the end of the economy, the effects of pesticides, aerosol sprays, the efficiency of methods of education, the influence of race on intelligence? Two, three, five and even more views arise in such debates, and scientific supporters can be found for all of them. Occasionally one almost feels inclined to say: as many scientists, as many opinions. There are of course areas in which scientists agree- but this cannot raise our confidence. Unanimity is often the result of a political decision: dissenters are suppressed, or remain silent to preserve the reputation of science as a source of trustworthy and almost infallible knowledge. On other occasions, unanimity is the result of shared prejudices: positions are taken without detail examination of the matter under review and are infused with the same authority that proceeds from detailed research." - Paul Feyerabend, fully Paul Karl Feyerabend

"Because the restorative economy inverts ingrained beliefs about how business functions, it may precipitate unusual changes in the economy...the restorative economy will be one in which some businesses get smaller but hire more people, where money can be made by selling the absence of a product or sevice, as is the case where public utilities sell efficiency rather than additional power, and where profits increase when productivity is lowered. Corporations can compete to conserve and increase resources rather than deplete them. Complex and onerous regulations will be replaced by motivating standards." (This is exactly the situation where we are now at with R2000 and masonry heaters. We have the option of adopting an enlightened approach to change, favouring collaborative efforts to redesign codes and standards for everyone's benefit)." - Paul Hawken

"Growth is a pressing moral imperative for those whose needs are not being met, and industrialized countries have not yet found ways to maintain their standard of living, without continued economic growth. One hopeful strategy to deal with this dilemma involves massive improvements in the efficiency of economic activity so that growth in consumption of goods and services is "decoupled" from growth in the use of energy and material. In theory, this should permit an increase in consumption to be accompanied by a decrease in resource use. In fact, this "dematerialization" of economic goods and services must proceed faster than economic growth to produce the necessary reduction in humanity's total load on the ecosphere. The political attractiveness of this approach is self-evident - it enables the rich to maintain their high material standards while freeing up the ecological space needed for the poor to increase theirs." - William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel

"The area of a population’s theoretical eco-footprint depends on four factors: the population size, the average material standard of living, the average productivity of land/water ecosystems, and the efficiency of resource harvesting, processing, and use. Regardless of the relative importance of these factors and how they interact, every population has an ecological footprint and the productive land and water captured by EFA represents much of the ‘natural capital’ (productive natural resource base) required to meet that study population’s consumptive demands. It is important to recognize that population eco-footprints constitute mutually exclusive appropriations of productive capacity. The biocapacity used by one population is not available for use by another. All human populations are competing for the available productive capacity of Earth." - William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel

"At the very least, people ought to think twice before throwing up their hands in horror at manipulating genes to, say, make a child good at music while approving sending a child to a school that is especially good at music. These are the same kinds of things. The genetic equivalent of sending your child to Eton is going to be expensive, too. There is no obvious distinction between spending your money on one kind of child manipulation and the other... You will immediately see the oddness in what you have just said. You are saying that one works and the other doesn't. It's odd to take refuge in lack of efficiency as a defense." - Richard Dawkins

"The evolutionary importance of the fact that genes control embryonic development is this: it means that genes are at least partly responsible for their own survival in the future, because their survival depends on the efficiency of the bodies in which they live and which they helped to build." - Richard Dawkins

"16 Rules for Investment Success - Invest — don’t trade or speculate. “The stock market is not a casino, but if you move in and out of stocks every time they move a point or two…the market will be your casino.” Remain flexible and open-minded about types of investment. “There are times to buy blue chip stocks, cyclical stocks, corporate bonds, U.S. Treasury instruments, and so on. And there are times to sit on cash…The fact is there is no one kind of investment that is always best.” Buy low. “It is extremely difficult to go against the crowd — to buy when everyone else is selling or has sold, to buy when things look darkest…[but] chances are if you buy what everyone is buying you will do so only after it is already overpriced.” When buying stocks, search for bargains among quality stocks. “Determining quality in a stock is like reviewing a restaurant. You don’t expect it to be 100% perfect, but before it gets three or four stars you want it to be superior.” Diversify. “In stocks and bonds, as in much else, there is safety in numbers.” Do your homework or hire wise experts to help you. “People will tell you: Investigate before you invest. Listen to them. Study companies to learn what makes them successful.” Don’t panic. “The time to sell is before the crash, not after.” Learn from your mistakes. “The only way to avoid mistakes is not to invest — which is the biggest mistake of all…The big difference between those who are successful and those who are not is that successful people learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others.” An investor who has all the answers doesn’t even understand all the questions. “A cocksure approach to investing will lead, probably sooner than later, to disappointment if not outright disaster. Even if we can identify an unchanging handful of investing principles, we cannot apply these rules to an unchanging universe of investments—or an unchanging economic and political environment. Everything is in a constant state of change, and the wise investor recognizes that success is a process of continually seeking answers to new questions.” Do not be fearful or negative too often. “Even in the dark ’70s, many professional money managers — and many individual investors too — made money in stocks, especially those of smaller companies. There will, of course, be corrections, perhaps even crashes. But, over time, our studies indicate stocks do go up…and up…and up.”" - John Templeton, fully Sir John Marks Templeton

"It seems to be a law in American life that whatever enriches us anywhere except in the wallet inevitably becomes uneconomic." - Russell Baker. fully Russell Wayne Baker

"Any man who tries to excite class hatred, sectional hate, hate of creeds, any kind of hatred in our community, though he may affect to do it in the interest of the class he is addressing, is in the long run with absolute certainly that class's own worst enemy." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"It's not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the doer of deeds might have done them better. Instead, the credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by sweat and blood and tears." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Practical equality of opportunity for all citizens, when we achieve it, will have two great results. First, every man will have a fair chance to make of himself all that in him lies; to reach the highest point to which his capacities, unassisted by special privilege of his own and unhampered by the special privilege of others, can carry him, and to get for himself and his family substantially what he has earned. Second, equality of opportunity means that the commonwealth will get from every citizen the highest service of which he is capable. No man who carries the burden of the special privileges of another can give to the commonwealth that service to which it is fairly entitled." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The joy in life is his who has the heart to demand it." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The process has aroused much antagonism, a great part of which is wholly without warrant. It is not true that as the rich have grown richer the poor have grown poorer. On the contrary, never before has the average man, the wage-worker, the farmer, the small trader, been so well off as in this country and at the present time. There have been abuses connected with the accumulation of wealth; yet it remains true that a fortune accumulated in legitimate business can be accumulated by the person specially benefited only on condition of conferring immense incidental benefits upon others. Successful enterprise, of the type which benefits all mankind, can only exist if the conditions are such as to offer great prizes as the rewards of success." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"A country survives its legislation. That truth should not comfort the conservative nor depress the radical. For it means that public policy can enlarge its scope and increase its audacity, can try big experiments without trembling too much over the result. This nation could enter upon the most radical experiments and could afford to fail in them." - Walter Lippmann

"Our model citizen is a sophisticate who before puberty understands how to produce a baby, but who at the age of thirty will not know how to produce a potato." - Wendell Berry

"It is quite natural that if a child of limited intelligence can only do one subject, that subject should be arithmetic. The judgments involved in thinking, "Is this the right block? No, that one's too long," and later associating the various blocks with 0, 1, 2, ...., and 9 are much simpler than those required to learn the 26 letters of the alphabet and the eccentricities of English and American spelling." - W. W. Sawyer, fully Walter Warwick Sawyer

"The overwhelming majority of Indian people today have little understanding or remembrance of the powers once possessed by the spiritual leaders of their communities. What we do today is often simply a "walk-through" of a once-potent ceremony that now has little visible effect on the participants. The exercise of spiritual powers still continues in some places but lacks the definitive intensity of the old days." - Vine Deloria, fully Vine Victor Deloria, Jr.

"Basically all the world’s computer parts come from the same supply chain that runs from Korea, down through coastal China, over to Taiwan, and down to Malaysia." - Thomas L. Friedman, fully Thomas Lauren Friedman

"Using computer simulation and graphics, you can now bring all sorts of data together to create models that will show you how all kinds of complex things work together–before you actually go through the process of building them." - Thomas L. Friedman, fully Thomas Lauren Friedman

"The interesting and inspiring thing about America is that she asks nothing for herself except what she has a right to ask for humanity itself." - Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

"They stood where they stood by the power of the sword." - Thucydides NULL

"Could the Cheerios be in bad voice? Might not they handle well on curves? Do they ejaculate too quickly? Has age affected their timing or are they merely in a mid-season slump? Afflicted with nervous exhaustion or broken hearts, are the Cheerios smiling bravely, insisting that the show must go on?" - Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

"The use of text messaging for propaganda purposes – known as “red-texting” – reveals another creative streak among China’s propaganda virtuosos. The practice may have grown out of a competition organized by one of China’s mobile phone operators to compose the most eloquent Party-admiring text message. Fast forward a few years, and senior telecom officials in Beijing are already busily attending “red-texting” symposia. “I really like these words of Chairman Mao: ‘The world is ours, we should unite for achievements. Responsibility and seriousness can conquer the world and the Chinese Communist Party members represent these qualities.’ These words are incisive and inspirational.” This is a text message that thirteen million mobile phone users in the Chinese city of Chongqing received one day in April 2009. Sent by Bo Xilai, the aggressive secretary of the city’s Communist Party who is speculated to have strong ambitions for a future in national politics, the messages were then forwarded another sixteen millions times. Not so bad for an odd quote from a long-dead Communist dictator." - Evgeny Morozov

"The Sabbath is a time to “unplug”." - Eugene Peterson

"No one perceives where the shoe pinches but he who wears it." -

"Science affects the average man and woman in two ways already. He or she benefits by its application driving a motor-car or omnibus instead of a horse-drawn vehicle, being treated for disease by a doctor or surgeon rather than a witch, and being killed with an automatic pistol or shell in place of a dagger or a battle-axe." - J. B. S. Haldane, fully John Burdon Sanderson Haldane