September and October Quotes: “In all the noise, finding those trusted voices is more important than ever” – Tom Friedman

Aren’t quotes amazing? You get a distilled capsule of wisdom from someone (or some thing) that has withstood the test of time.

I’m constantly trying to memorize my favorites. Sometimes repetition is the only way to really learn a thing and make it a part of yourself.

I think certain types of processes don’t allow for any variation. If you have to be part of that process, all you can do is transform – or perhaps distort – yourself through that persistent repetition, and make that process a part of your own personality. – Haruki Murakami

Of course we need to start with Murakami. I’m bummed he didn’t win the Nobel Prize, but I’m sure Alice Munro deserves the prize and look forward to reading her work.

Literature is not like music; it isn’t for the young; there are no prodigies in writing. The knowledge or experience a writer seeks to transmit is social or sentimental; it takes time, it can take much of a man’s life, to process that experience, to understand what he has been through; and it takes great care and tact, then, for the nature of the experience not to be lost, not to be diluted by the wrong forms. The other man’s forms served the other man’s thoughts. – V.S. Naipaul

Been spending a lot of time with Naipaul. He is a craftsman with words and he produces work of astonishing detail and clarity. It’s like seeing a painting so intricately drawn that you feel like you’re in the uncanny valley.

Because of the intuitive way in which I have written, and also because of the baffling nature of my material, every book has come as a blessing. Every book has amazed me; up to the moment of writing I never knew it was there. But the greatest miracle for me was getting started. I feel – and the anxiety is still vivid to me – that I might easily have failed before I began. – V.S. Naipaul

He shares a frequently cited concept in his Nobel Prize speech: that he is the sum of his books, and that each new book holds all his previous books. I had a hard time with the second part, but I think it’s akin to saying that within your current self is your teenage self, your adolescent self, your child self…and so on.

I don’t buy into this happiness stuff…if you want to know happiness, look at a heroin addict. Now THEY’RE happy. – Dr. Drew

Count on Dr. Drew and Adam to call bullshit on our society’s addiction to the sort of modern self-help that offers band-aids for deep wounds.

Every really good creative person…whom I have ever known has always had two noticeable characteristics. First, there was no subject under the sun in which he could not easily get interested — from, say, Egyptian burial customs to modern art. Every facet of life had fascination for him. Second, he was an extensive browser in all sorts of fields of information. For it is with the advertising man as with the cow: no browsing, no milk. – James Young

A helpful reminder that we shouldn’t limit our pursuits – intellectual or otherwise.

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. – Pico Ayer

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s a trite statement but all trite statements are true. Because they’re obvious, we – ironically – ignore them.

In all the noise, finding those trusted voices is more important than ever – Tom Friedman

Part of a great talk promoting his new book That Used To Be Us (which I’ve bought but haven’t opened).

We’re lonely, but we’re afraid of intimacy – Sherry Turkle

Sherry has a point.

The palest ink is better than the best memory – Chinese proverb (Kinsey to Peggy)

This never happened. It’ll shock you how much it never happened – Don to Peggy

I recently watched all 5 and a half seasons of Mad Men. I’d already seen about half of the episodes, but wanted to start from the beginning and work through them in the right order and with full attention. Things made a LOT more sense the second time around, but I’m sure there will be revelations from a third viewing, or a fourth…

Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. Our fires are damped, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental resources. . .men the world over possess amounts of resource, which only exceptional individuals push to their extremes of use. – William James

A useful reminder.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.