Greatest Lines from Literature

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BuzzFeed recently surveyed their readers about their favorite lines from literature. Here are some of their most beautiful replies.

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2. “In our village, folks say God crumbles up the old moon into stars.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

3. “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
—J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew”

4. “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am.”
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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6. “Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.”
—Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed

7. “Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

8. “What are men to rocks and mountains?”
—Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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10. “‘Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.’”
—Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

11. “The curves of your lips rewrite history.”
—Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

12. “A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”
—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

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14. “As Estha stirred the thick jam he thought Two Thoughts and the Two Thoughts he thought were these: a) Anything can happen to anyone. and b) It is best to be prepared.”
—Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

15. “If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.”
—W. H. Auden, “The More Loving One”

16. “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”
—John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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18. “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
—William Shakespeare, Hamlet

19. “America, I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.”
—Allen Ginsburg, “America”

20. “It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.”
—W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

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22. “At the still point, there the dance is.”
—T. S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”

23. “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”
—Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

24. “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.”
—Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

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26. “The pieces I am, she gather them and gave them back to me in all the right order.”
—Toni Morrison, Beloved

27. “How wild it was, to let it be.”
—Cheryl Strayed, Wild

28. “Do I dare / Disturb the universe?”
—T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

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30. “She was lost in her longing to understand.”
—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

31. “She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.”
—Kate Chopin, “The Awakening”

32. “We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered.”
—Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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34. “The half life of love is forever.”
—Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her

35. “I sing myself and celebrate myself.”
—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

36. “There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”
—Bram Stroker, Dracula

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37. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”
—L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

38. “I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”
—Raymond Carver, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”

39. “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
—Charlotte Brontë , Jane Eyre

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41. “I have spread my dreams under your feet; / Tread softly because you tread on my dreams”
—W. B. Yeats, “Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”

42. “It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes.”
—Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

43. “For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly.”
—Langston Hughes, The Big Sea

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45. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
—Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

46. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

47. “Journeys end in lovers meeting.”
—William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

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49. “It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

50. “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”
—Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

51. “One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
—Cassandra Clare, The Infernal Devices

Did your favorite line from literature make the list?
If not, suggest it in the comments below – I’ll augment as suggestions accumulate.

25 Life Lessons from Albert Einstein

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1. Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.

2. Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.

3. Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.

4. If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

5. A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.

6. Love is a better teacher than duty.

7. If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

8. No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

9. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

10. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

11. It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.

12. Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

13. Force always attracts men of low morality.

14. Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.

15. A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.

16. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

17. A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

18. It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

19. Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.

20. Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

21. Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

22. Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

23. Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.

24. Information is not knowledge.

25. Never lose a holy curiosity.

Kobe Bryant Sucks At Basketball

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Sacramento Kings
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You may have read that tittle and thought… “Ludicrous! What about his five rings? His 81 point game? His legacy with the Lakers??!” Well in addition to all that, The King of Clank, The Baron of Bricks, Kobe Bryant has missed more shots than any player in basketball historymissed more shots than any player in NBA history, and for that, we salute him.

Imagine that – one of the top NBA players of our lifetime has screwed up more than everyone else who has ever played the game. Want to know who else is on this ignominious list? Here’s the leaderboard, as it stands:

  1. Kobe Bryant, 13,418 (and counting)
  2. John Havlicek, 13,417
  3. Elvin Hayes, 13,296
  4. Karl Malone, 12,682
  5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 12,470
  6. Michael Jordan, 12,345

Recognize anyone else on there? Everyone else on there? How is it that some of our greatest champions in this sport are also the biggest screwups?

We have, highlighted here, one of the biggest insights to winning – not just at sports – but at LIFE: There is no failure, only feedback.

Don’t be afraid of “failing” – get out there and fail over and over and over again. That’s the only way to get ahead. See, most people are terrified of failing. They equate it with “being a failure”. That fear paralyzes them and keeps them stuck in their tracks, unable to make a move, unable to take a shot. And as Wayne Gretsky – arguably hockey’s greatest player – has said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Isn’t that ironic? The truth is, it is actually the FEAR of failure that keeps you from succeeding – not failure itself. Failure is, in fact, the only gateway to success anyone ever has.

How To Suck At Sales

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My good friend and business partner Brady Rhoades covered these points on a conference call this morning and I thought them well worth sharing.

Remember, unsuccessful habits will always outweigh the positive and progressive habits. These are the habits of unsuccessful sales professionals:

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1) Be lazy (get distracted by no-pay activity and forget the name of the game is prospecting and pitching.)
2) Have no goals (go to bed late Sunday after watching a bunch of football with no goals or vision for the week. You’ll walk into the week blind and unmotivated.)
3) Don’t create a schedule (this includes family, personal time, church, extracurricular, etc)
4) Don’t be coachable and think you always know what you’re doing!
5) Let your mommy tell you you’re better than rejection (you’re not…)
6) Find nothing in common with the prospect (people who like me buy and I only sell to people I like.)
7) Know little about the company and products you represent
8) Assume everyone is a prospect (not everyone is a buyer – they’re a suspect before they’re a prospect, reference Sandler Rules.)
9) Let personal life get in the way (ie friends who want to go out on Weeknights, family dinners, happy hour, social clubs, etc. If you respect your career and the future it promises, your friends and family will respect the time you commit to it!)
10) Don’t ask for the sale by letting your prospect think about it! (You must value your time and demand that others value it)
11) Don’t collect qualified referrals
12) And whatever you do, DON’T HAVE FUN!!! Sales don’t make happy salesman, happy salesman make sales.

Billionaire Book Recommendations

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Who are the mentors to billionaires, chess prodigies, rockstars, and mega-bestselling authors?  Who teaches them to do what they do? To achieve the success they achieve? Oftentimes…it’s books.

On The Tim Ferriss Show (iTunes, SoundCloud), I dissect world-class performers to find the tools and tricks you can use.  Here’s a full list of guests.  One of the questions I always ask is:

“What book have you gifted most often to others, and why?”  

Below is a list of answers from people like billionaire investor Peter Thiel, Tony Robbins, Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull, chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin, etc.. (And here are my own current answers, if you’re interested.)

You’ll see several books that appear more than once. Can you guess which they are?

The Ultimate To-Read Book List

Kevin Kelly is the founding editor of WIRED magazine, real-life Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man In The World.”

Favorite book(s):

Peter Thiel, billionaire investor (first outside investor in Facebook) and co-founder of PayPal, Palantir…

Favorite book(s):

Tony Robbins, performance coach to Bill Clinton, Serena Williams, Paul Tudor Jones, Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah Winfrey, and more.

Favorite book(s):

Peter Diamandis has been named one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune Magazine.  In the field of Innovation, Diamandis is Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, best known for its $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight. Today, the X PRIZE leads the world in designing and operating large-scale global competitions to solve market failures.

Favorite book(s):

Joshua Waitzkin – Considered a chess prodigy and the basis for Searching for Bobby Fischer, Josh has perfected learning strategies that can be applied to anything, including chess, Brazilian jiu-jutsu (he is a black belt under phenom Marcelo Garcia), business, and Tai Chi Push Hands (he is a world champion).

Favorite book(s):

Ed Catmull is a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios (along with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation.

Favorite book(s):

Neil Strauss has written 7 New York Times bestsellers, including The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.

Favorite book(s):

Tracy DiNunzio is the self-taught founder and CEO of Tradesy.com, which has attracted legendary investors like Sir Richard Branson and John Doerr.

Favorite book(s):

Mike Shinoda is best known as the rapper, principal songwriter, keyboardist, rhythm guitarist and one of the two vocalists of the band Linkin Park, which has sold 60+ million albums worldwide.

Favorite book(s):

James Altucher is an American hedge fund manager, entrepreneur, and bestselling author.

Favorite book(s):

Joe De Sena is the co-founder of The Death Race, Spartan Race (1M+ competitors), and more.

Favorite book(s):

Brian Koppelman is a screenwriter, novelist, director, and producer. He is best known as the co-writer of Ocean’s Thirteen and Rounders, as well as a producer of The Illusionist and The Lucky Ones.

Favorite book(s):

Chase Jarvis is a master photographer and the CEO of CreativeLIVE.com.

Favorite book(s):

Jason Silva , called the “Timothy Leary of the viral video age” by The Atlantic, host of Brain Games on National Geographic Channel.

Favorite book(s):

Ryan Holiday is an American author and the media strategist behind authors Tucker Max and Robert Greene. Former Director of Marketing for American Apparel.

Favorite book(s):

Ramit Sethi is an American personal finance advisor and entrepreneur. Sethi is the author of the 2009 book on personal finance, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, a New York Times Bestseller, and a co-founder of PBworks, a commercial wiki website.

Favorite book(s):

What is Love?

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Love…

It is an easy thing, complicated only by us…

It is laughter or a simple touch; it’s a smile, it’s friendship, it’s there through the rough.

It’s me dancing by myself to the melody in my head (cause I totally do!), or you singing in the shower right before bed.

It is invisible and visible. it need not be defined. it is an energy that exists, regardless of space, and regardless of time…

^ Props: The above was a post by my good friend Ronda Suder today and I couldn’t help but share it. Hope it warms your heart like it did mine :-)

The Art of Being Wrong

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I love being wrong. There is nothing better than being wrong. In fact, it is often far preferable to be wrong than right. This may sound like a strange thing (especially for me!) to say, but hang in there with me and you might make this your mantra too.

Because you learn more when you’re wrong. And the more wrong you’re willing to be, the more right you’ll eventually become. But, unfortunately, many people struggle with admitting when they’re wrong. Others quite simply will never do it. In other cases, sometimes even with very successful people, situations change or new information becomes available yet they will almost stubbornly ignore it or reject it.

One other common reason people have issues admitting they’re wrong is because they take criticism and feedback too personally. If a person tells them, “you did that badly,” what the recipient hears instead is, “I am bad.” And that leads to an emotional spiral. And so rather than listen, many people react. Instead of learning, many people defend. This is so prevalent that it’s one of the key principles in Robert Cialdini’s classic book Influence. It’s called “Commitment and Consistency”. Once people make up their minds, they tend not to change them – even in the face of facts to the contrary. This leads to a Fixed Mindset, as opposed to a Growth Mindset.

One of the qualities of a person of substance is admitting you’re wrong when you’re wrong. That is what secure people do. One might think this idea does not apply to people who’ve achieved a level of mastery. That is not true: the better you are at something, the more paying attention to good feedback will allow you to make an adjustment that will have a powerful effect on what you’re doing. I make a similar case in sales training – that in order to learn rapidly, you have to increase your failure rate. Get beaten up, bruised and bloodied as fast as you can.

In life there is no failure, only feedback – this is one of the most powerful truths I have ever learned.

In order to admit when you’re wrong, you need to know when you’re wrong. And this requires a secondary skill you must cultivate. It’s called good judgment. Because sometimes you ARE right and everyone around you really is wrong. As Arthur Schopenhauer put it, “Talent is like a marksman who hits a target which others cannot reach; genius is like a marksman who hits a target which others cannot see.”

Bottom line: Those who are never wrong are rarely right.

^ Props: I adapted some of the above from an email I got from Neil Strauss. He’s one of my favorite authors and you should definitely follow him if you don’t already.