“Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.” —Gustav Flaubert

“We carry within us the wonders we seek without us.” —Sir Thomas Browne

“The ability to ‘fantasize’ is the ability to survive. It’s wonderful to speak about this subject because there have been so many wrong-headed people dealing with it…The so-called realists are trying to drive us insane, and I refuse to be driven insane…We survive by fantasizing. Take that away from us and the whole damned human race goes down the drain.” —Ray Bradbury

“All around us the fundamentals of life are crying out to be shaped, or created.” —Joseph Beuys

“Nothing happens unless first a dream.” —Carl Sandburg

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” —Franz Kafka

“This is how space begins, with words only, signs traced on the blank page.” —Georges Perec

Every map is a guide to finding the desirable and navigating the dangerous.” —Rebecca Solnit

“A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected.” —Reif Larsen

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” —Winston Churchill

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” —Lewis Carroll

“In order to make things happen you have to make things”. —Richard Curtis

“Look, what thy [[memory]] cannot contain
Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt find
Those children nurs’d, delivered from thy brain,
To take a new acquaintance of thy mind …”


“The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn.” —C. JoyBell C.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” —Pablo Picasso

“When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.” —Ursula K. Le Guin

“Just as the largest library, badly arranged, is not so useful as a very moderate one that is well arranged, so the greatest amount of knowledge, if not elaborated by our own thoughts, is worth much less than a far smaller volume that has been abundantly and repeatedly thought over. For only by universally combining what we know, by comparing every truth with every other, do we fully assimilate our own knowledge and get it into our power. We can think over only what we know, and so we should learn something; but we know only what we have thought out.” —Arthur Schopenhauer

“To capture what you experience and sort it out . . . you must set up a file. . . . Whenever you feel strongly about events or ideas you must try not to let them pass from your mind, but instead to formulate them for your files and in so doing draw out their implications, show yourself how foolish these feelings or ideas are, or how they might be articulated into productive shape.” —C. Wright Mills

“The biggest issue for digitally oriented people is that the ease of capturing and storing has generated a write-only syndrome: all they’re doing is capturing information—not actually accessing and using it intelligently. Some consciousness needs to be applied to keep one’s potentially huge digital library functional, versus a black hole of data easily dumped in there with a couple of keystrokes. ‘I don’t need to organize my stuff, because the search feature can find it sufficiently’ is, from what I’ve experienced, quite suboptimal as an approach. We need to have a way to overview our mass of collected information with some form of effective categorization.” —David Allen

“I must Create a System or be enslav’d by another Man’s.” —William Blake

“There are no interruptions—there are only mismanaged inputs.” —David Allen

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” —Buddha

“When you’re not sure where you’re going or what’s really important to you, you’ll never know when enough is enough.” —David Allen

“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.” —Jonathan Kozol

“It’s the smartest individuals who realize they are only randomly in their “smarts” and inspired. They’re the ones who intelligently build in systems and processes to take advantage of the brilliance that often simply lies sleeping behind the dullness required to deal with the brutish world we inhabit.” —David Allen

“Your mind is designed to have ideas, based upon pattern detection, but it isn’t designed to remember much of anything! The creative thrust of your ‘GTD-ing’ shifts from implementing the most effective way of dealing with the inputs and inherent demands of your day-to-day world to optimally taking advantage of self-created contexts and triggers to produce creative ideas, perspectives, and actions that wouldn’t normally occur.” —David Allen

“You want to be adding value as you think about projects and situations, not creating stress by simply reminding yourself they exist and you need to do something about them.” —David Allen

“At the seashore, between the land of atoms and the sea of bits, we are now facing the challenge of reconciling our dual citizenship in the physical and digital worlds.” —Hiroshi Ishii

“Documents are, quite simply, talking things. They are bits of the material world – clay, stone, animal skin, plant fiber, sand – that we’ve imbued with the ability to speak.” —David M. Levy

“1000 docs in system
100 documents contain the word ‘computing’
“Computing” used 10 different ways.

100,000 docs in system
7,100 documents contain the word ‘computing’
‘Computing’ used in 84 different ways.”
– The Challenge of Commercial Document Retrieval by David Blair

“Chance favors the connected mind.” —Steven Johnson

“When you finish your novel […] put it in a drawer. For as long as you can manage. A year or more is ideal – but even three months will do. Step away from the vehicle. The secret to editing your work is simple: you need to become its reader instead of its writer.” —Zadie Smith

“There is a gaping opportunity to consolidate our myriad marginalia into an even more robust commonplace book. One searchable, always accessible, easily shared and embedded amongst the digital text we consume.” —Craig Mod

“Presumably man’s spirit should be elevated if he can better review his shady past and analyze more completely and objectively his present problems. He has built a civilization so complex that he needs to mechanize his records more fully if he is to push his experiment to its logical conclusion and not merely become bogged down part way there by overtaxing his limited memory. His excursions may be more enjoyable if he can reacquire the privilege of forgetting the manifold things he does not need to have immediately at hand, with some assurance that he can find them again if they prove important.” —Vannevar Bush

“Your knowledge is a wellspring from which to draw for others, not a treasure to hoard for yourself.” —Captain Jean-Luc Picard

“No two writers are the same, like snowflakes and fingerprints. No one will ever write in just the way that you do, or in just the way that anyone else does. Because of this fact, there is no real competition between writers. What appears to be competition is actually nothing more than jealousy and gossip. Writing is a matter strictly of developing oneself. You compete only with yourself. You develop yourself by writing. An editor’s goal is to help writers make the most of the patterns that are unique about them.” —John Mcafee

“On the spectrum of creative work, the difference between the mediocre and the good is vast. Mediocrity is, however, still on the spectrum; you can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something.” —Clay Shirky

“Creative products are always shiny and new; the creative process is ancient and unchanging.” —Silvano Arieti

“I suspect anyway that the important things we learn we never remember because they become a part of us, we absorb them…we don’t absorb multiplication tables.” —William Alexander Percy

“The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects ‘unfamiliar,’ to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged.” —Jill Walker Rettberg

“Knowledge is only a rumour until it lives in the muscle.” —Tribe from Papua New Guinea

“The role of accidents in the theory of science is not disputed, If you employ evolutionary models, accidents assume a most important role. Without them, nothing happens, no progress is made. Without variation in the given material of ideas, there are no possibilities of examining and selecting novelties.” —Niklas Luhmann

“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” —John Adams

“[Studies] show that although people who create complex folders indeed rely on these structures for retrieval, such preparatory behaviors are less efficient than opportunistic methods and do not improve retrieval success. In contrast, opportunistic behaviors such as search, scanning, and sorting promote faster and equally successful retrieval.” —Ofer Bergman and Steve Whittaker

“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” —John Donne

“What’s missing now is not someone to hunt stories down, but rather to weave them into a narrative. What’s missing is not the information, but the expertise to connect the dots and cut through the noise to find the meaningful and the important. ” —Chris Saad

“Understanding – like civilization, happiness, music, science and a host of other great endeavors – is not a state of being, but a manner of traveling. And the main goal of helping children learn is to find ways to show them that great road which has no final destination, and that manner of traveling in which the journey itself is the reward.” —Alan Kay

“It’s important to know that any creative work is never complete. In some senses, we have to just abandon it. We have to let it go.” —Unknown

“Principles are higher than techniques. Principles produce techniques in an instant.” —Ido Portal

You pile up volumes of notes and then figure out what you are going to do with them, not the other way around.” —John Mcfee

“It is time to make life your own personal learning lab. You should start taking notes on little interactions you have as well as the big breakthroughs. Look for lessons in every moment and every relationship and record them in a journal. I remember learning the value of this from my journalism teacher in high school. Decades later, I would see it in practice with my friends Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield, two of the most diligent and productive note takers I have ever met in my life…Personally, I’m almost obsessive about the practice of journaling new lessons to teach my audience. Every book I buy has countless notes in the margins reminding me of important concepts I can teach or make my own. I take copious notes at every seminar I attend, and always look for a unique teachable point of view. The identity of a teacher is a huge part of who I have decided to be in life. Ask anyone about me and they will tell you I’m always writing down new ideas and practicing new frameworks. Becoming an expert is not a one-time affair; it’s a lifelong practice.”  —Brendon Burchard

“The habit of journalizing becomes a life-long lesson in the art of composition, an informal schooling for authorship. And were the process of preparing their works for publication faithfully detailed by distinguished writers, it would appear how large were their indebtedness to their diary and commonplaces. How carefully should we peruse [[Shakespeare]]’s notes used in compiling his plays—what was his, what another’s—showing how these were fashioned into the shapely whole we read, how Milton composed, Montaigne, Goethe: by what happy strokes of thought, flashes of wit, apt figures, fit quotations snatched from vast fields of learning, their rich pages were wrought forth! This were to give the keys of great authorship!” —Amos Bronson Alcott

“The sign of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in your head at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Tradesmen have their ‘waste book’ (scrawl-book, composition book I think in German), in which they enter from day to day everything they buy and sell, everything all mixed up without any order to it, from there it is transferred to the day-book, where everything appears in more systematic fashion … This deserves to be imitated by scholars. First a book where I write down everything as I see it or as my thoughts put it before me, later this can be transcribed into another, where the materials are more distinguished and ordered.” —Georg Lichtenberg

“The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.” —Chinese proverb

“…every literary man should have a written chaos such as this: notebook containing sottiseries, adrersa, excerpta, pugillares, commentaria… the store-house out of which fine literature of every kind may come, as the sun, moon, and stars issued out of chaos.” —Unknown priest, making a suggestion to Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, who kept a Zibaldone with no fewer than 4,526 pages

“Notes… do not make contemporary physics easier, they make it possible.” —Neil Levy

Everything not saved will be lost.” —Nintendo “Quit Screen” message

“Now, create a folder with the winning idea, and start filling it with content. Is there an article in the newspaper that relates to your project? Cut it out and file it. Have you written a draft of narration or dialogue? Print it out and file it. Thought of some great questions to ask your first interview subject? Jot them down on a scrap of paper and file that too. As you continue through this workbook, you will also gather research for your project, brainstorm a potential story structure, generate a draft fundraising proposal, sketch out a shooting script, compile an electronic press kit, and more. Keep the folder handy throughout the lifespan of your project.” —Ken Burns

“Absorb ideas from every source, frequently starting where the last person left off.” —Thomas Edison

“A good idea is never lost. Even though its originator or possessor may die without publicizing it, it will someday be reborn in the mind of another.” —Thomas Edison

“Knowledge not applied is like a seed not planted.” —Unknown

“The reader lives faster than life, the writer lives slower.” —James Richardson

“Knowledge is distinctly human. No other species has it. Knowledge comes from the knowledge loop. We learn something, we use that to create something new and we share that with the world. We reap the collective benefit of the knowledge loop but we participate in it freely as individuals.” —Albert Wenger

“Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. —Heraclitus

“It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.” —D.W. Winnicott

“Art of the people, hands of God.” —Carlos Fuentes

“Our bodies are the texts that carry the memories and therefore remembering is no less than reincarnation.” —Katie Cannon

“It is in the power of remembering that the self’s ultimate freedom consists. I am free because I remember.” –Chandra, quoting the tenth-century philosopher Abhinavagupta

“Humans became behaviourally modern the moment they committed to storing abstract information outside their brains.” —Lyn Wadley, as quoted in Mark Moffett’s ‘The Human Swarm’

“One cannot think without writing.” —Niklas Luhmann

“Every intellectual endeavour starts with a note.” —Sonke Ahrens

“Whatever good things we build end up building us.” —Jim Rohn

“When we use machines to achieve whatever it is we desire, we cannot have what we desire until we have finished with the machine, until we can rid ourselves of the mechanical means of reaching our intended outcome. The goal of technology is therefore to eliminate itself, to become silent, invisible, carefree.” —James Carse

“The right information at the right time is deadlier than any weapon.” —Martin Connells, Westworld

“First, search widely. Then, eliminate ruthlessly. Finally, work obsessively on what remains.” —James Clear

“The Internet is a world of abundance, and there is a new power that matters: the ability to make sense of that abundance, to index it, to find needles in the proverbial haystack.” —Ben Thompson

“Especially in technology, we need to learn frontier skill sets constantly. We need to become lifelong learners, because if you master something, and then two years later there’s a new platform and a whole new ecosystem of startups, you just have to do it over and over again.” —Andrew Chen

“The greatest contribution that management has made in the 20th Century was to increase the productivity of manual working fifty fold. The greatest contribution that needs to be made in the 21st Century is to similarly increase the productivity of knowledge working fifty fold”. —Peter Drucker

“Creativity started with the notebooks’ sketches and jottings, and only later resulted in a pure, powerful idea. The one characteristic that all of these creatives shared— whether they were painters, actors, or scientists— was how often they put their early thoughts and inklings out into the world, in sketches, dashed-off phrases and observations, bits of dialogue, and quick prototypes. Instead of arriving in one giant leap, great creations emerged by zigs and zags as their creators engaged over and over again with these externalized images.” —R. Keith Sawyer

“The kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are secondhand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them anywhere except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral caliber and his temperament, and which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing.” —Jonathan Lethem

“We cannot become complacent with knowledge and just store it away. It has a shelf life and needs to be used, tested, and experienced.” —Harold Jarche

“Imagination is absolutely critical to the quality of our lives. Our imagination enables us to leave our routine everyday existence by fantasizing about travel, food, sex, falling in love, or having the last word—all the things that make life interesting. Imagination gives us the opportunity to envision new possibilities—it is an essential launchpad for making our hopes come true. It fires our creativity, relieves our boredom, alleviates our pain, enhances our pleasure, and enriches our most intimate relationships.” —Dr. Bessel A. Van der Kolk

“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” —T. S. Eliot

“To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” —Lao Tzu

“We can be knowledgeable with other men’s knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men’s wisdom.” —Michel de Montaigne

“Knowledge, general in nature and unorganized, is not power; it is only potential power – the material out of which real power may be developed. Any modern library contains an unorganized record of all the knowledge of value to which the present stage of civilization is heir, but this knowledge is not power because it is not organized.” —Napoleon Hill

“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.“ —Stephen King

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not just be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” —Leigh Whittaker

“Almost all the thoughts I have on any subject are the result of writing in my diary and journals, then questioning myself and working through alternate ways of thinking about it, and finally returning to the subject days or months later with a clear head and updated thoughts, seeing how they’ve changed or not over time.” —Derek Sivers

“Our survival as a species depends on us getting past the sweet, salty fat of ‘the web as conversation’ and on to something more timeless, integrative, iterative, something less personal and less self-assertive, something more solitary yet more connected.” —Mike Caulfield

“Everything is deeply Intertwingled.” —Ted Nelson

“Your life is a symphony, not a note.” —Seth Godin

“He listens well who takes notes.” —Dante

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% taking really good notes.” —Thomas Edison

“You must use your mind to get things off your mind.” —David Allen

“To be right, write … notes are only useful if you remember where you put them.” —Yves Farges

“Good memory is not comparable to a worn out pen tip.” —Chinese proverb

“Information is useless if it is not applied to something important or if you will forget it before you have a chance to apply it.” —Tim Ferriss

“The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” —Lee Iacocca

“All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

“Your life is your spiritual path. Don’t be quick to abandon it for bigger and better experiences. You are getting exactly the experiences you need to grow. If your growth seems to be slow or uneventful for you, it is because you have not fully embraced the situations and relationships at hand. To know the self is to allow everything, to embrace the totality of who we are—all that we think and feel, all that we fear, all that we love. —Paul Ferrini, found on a sign on the laundry house at Kalani, Big Island, Hawaii

“Life is a matter of a miracle that is collected over time by moments, flabbergasted to be in each other’s presence.” —Timothy “Speed” Levitch, Waking Life

“The world we want is one where many worlds fit.” —Zapatistas

“There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.” —Octavia Butler, Parable of the Trickster

“The problem is not that we all have these different views of things, it is that we each consider our views the only reality. We forget that life is truly a matter of perspective. We delude ourselves by believing that our experience is absolute, fixed. The truth is that everything, including us, is changing all the time. Nothing is static, nothing is permanent. To believe otherwise because you see it as that way is to delude yourself. Delusion is ignorance.” — Being Black, my Windcall Retreat, Black Zen teacher Angel Kyodo Williams

“…An idea wants to be shared. And, in the sharing, it becomes more complex, more interesting, and more likely to work for more people.” —adrienne maree brown

“The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible.” —Toni Cade Bambara

“History is not the past. It is the stories we tell about the past. How we tell these stories—triumphantly or self-critically, metaphysically or dialectically—has a lot to do with whether we cut short or advance our evolution as human beings.” —Grace Lee Boggs

“The cloud is our extended [self].” –Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable

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