Who are Books?

Books are a teacher, the mentor; you never had the good fortune to learn from in person.

Every aspiring person among us yearns to have a mentor in their lives. Not all of us are lucky enough to get one. This is a case where the books fill the gap of that mentor-ship to a great extent, if not completely.


Quotes from Power of One

” ‘Timber!’ Big Hettie screamed as the crowd went
berserk. I had just witnessed the final move in a
perfectly wrought plan where small defeats big. First
with the head and then with the heart. To
the very end Hoppie had been thinking. I had learned
the most important rule in winning… keep thinking.”

‘A cow has eight stomachs but I, alas, have one. A cow must keep on chewing but I, my dear, am done.’

‘Life is all beginnings and ends. Nothing stays the same, lad,’ my granpa said at last. Then he puffed at his pipe and seemed to be examining his fingernails which were broken and dirty from gardening. ‘Parting, losing the thing we love the most, that’s the whole business of life, that’s what it’s mostly about.’

He would often use an analogy from nature. ‘Ja, Peekay, always in life an idea starts small, it is only a sapling idea, but the vines will come and they will try to choke your idea so it cannot grow and it will die and you will never know you had a big idea, an idea so big it could have grown thirty metres through the dark canopy of leaves and touched the face of the sky.’ He looked at me and continued, ‘The vines are people who are afraid of originality, of new thinking; most people you encounter will be vines, when you are a young plant they are very dangerous.’ His piercing blue eyes looked into mine. ‘Always listen to yourself, Peekay. It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. If you are wrong, no matter, you have learned something and you will grow stronger. If you are right you have taken another step towards a fulfilling life.’ He would sigh and squint at me. ‘Experts, what did I tell you about experts, Peekay?’ ‘You can’t always go by expert opinion. A chicken, if you ask a chicken, should be stuffed with grasshoppers, mealies and worms.’ Always you should go to the source, to the face of the rock, to the beginning. The more you know, the more you can control your destiny. Man is the only animal who can store knowledge outside his body. This has made him greater than the creatures around him. Everything has happened before, if you know what comes before then you know what happens now. Your brain, Peekay, has two functions; it is a place for original thought, but also it is a reference library, use it to tell you where to look and then you will have for yourself all the brains that have ever been.’

I had been enrolled at the local school when the new term began at the end of January. Six was the starting age for Grade One, but after a few days it was clear that my year spent in a mixed-age class at boarding school had put me well ahead of the rest of the kids. I was pushed up to Grade Three where I easily held my own against kids two years older than me. Doing the Judge’s arithmetic, my early grounding in reading, a comprehensive understanding of Afrikaans in a classroom of English-speaking kids coming without enthusiasm to the language for the first time, and Doc’s demand from our first day that I write up my field notes all gave me a hugely unfair advantage. I might possibly have been elevated even further but for the embarrassment it would have caused.

I quickly earned a reputation, rather unjustly, for being clever. Doc had persuaded me to drop my camouflage and not to play dumb. ‘To be smart is not a sin. But to be smart and not use it, that, Peekay, is a sin. Absoloodle!’ I had needed little encouragement. Under his direction my mind was constantly hungry, and I soon found the school work tedious and simplistic. Doc became my real teacher and school was simply time spent between eight and one o’clock when I would rush from the classroom to his cottage hidden in the cactus garden.

‘School had one disadvantage. I was two classes higher than my age group and so friends were hard to make. The kids of my own age thought of me as a sort of freak and in fact, with my early school background and now my prison experience, I was a lot tougher than any of them. Doc and the jaw incident had made me somewhat of a celebrity but I kept mostly to myself, being a shy kid and the smallest in my class. I acquired a reputation for superiority without having to earn it and so was left pretty much alone. I wasn’t aggressive, and when a challenge came from a boy called John Hopkins and his partner Geoffrey Scruby, supposedly the two toughest kids in my class, I tried to avoid the fight they demanded, mostly because I was arrogant enough to believe that my status as future world welterweight champion made it inappropriate for me to be a street fighter. The Judge and even the jury had been so much tougher than these two that it never occurred to me actually to be frightened of them. The English-speaking kids at school had no idea of my boxing or prison background, as the small contingent of Afrikaans kids in the school seldom mixed with the English and almost never spoke with them, other than to challenge them to fight. The two ten-year-olds badgered me for some days and so I took the problem to Geel Piet, who immediately understood my dilemma. Small boss, it is always like this. This is what you must do. You must make them feel you are scared. Tell them, no way man. Tell them you don’t want to fight. Let them get more and more cheeky, more and more brave. Even let them push you around. But always make sure this happens when everyone is watching. Then after a few days they will demand to fight you and they will name a time and a place. Try to look scared when you agree. You understand?’ Geel Piet held me by the shoulders and looked me straight in the eyes. ‘More fights are lost by underestimating your opponent than by any other way. Always remember, small baas, surprise is everything.’

‘She (librarian) badgered friends and people coming into the library for clothes and these she sent off to needy families, even sometimes sending off a postal order of her own to a prisoner’s family. She referred to prisoners as ‘Innocents, the meat in the ghastly sandwich between an uncaring society and a vengeful State’.

‘Inside all people there is love, also the need to take care of the other man who is his brother. Inside everyone is a savage, but there is also happening tenderness and compassion.’ Doc sighed and took out his bandanna and wiped his face as though trying to wipe the prison atmosphere from his skin. ‘When man is brutalised in such a place like this always he is looking for small signs. The smallest sign that someone is worried for him is like a fire on the dark mountain. When a man knows somebody cares he keeps some small place, a corner maybe of his soul clean and lit.’

I do not understand/or believe in the following quote completely, though in parts I agree:

‘When I first told Doc about the concerted prayer campaign for the removal of Marie’s pimples, he suggested that I advise her to eat lots of salad, no fat, and lean meat only, twice a week. Marie tried it, found she liked it better than the stodgy hospital food, and kept to this diet fairly diligently. When I told him of the cure through prayer he declared that some things were too mysterious for words. I thought about it a little more and finally made the connection between the diet and the cure, and I asked him why he hadn’t pointed out the possibility of the change in diet making the difference. ‘Peekay,’ he said, ‘in this world are very few things made from logic alone. It is illogical for a man to be too logical. Some things we must just let stand. The mystery is more important than any possible explanation.’ He paused for a moment and tapped his fingers on the edge of the keyboard. ‘The searcher after truth must search with humanity- Ruthless logic is the sign of a limited mind. The truth can only add to the sum of what you know, while a harmless mystery left unexplored often adds to the meaning of life. When a truth is not so important, it is better left as a mystery.’ It was an answer which left me confused for some years, for Doc worshipped the truth and had always demanded it between us at any cost.’

‘Cleverness is a false presumption,’ Doc had explained, ‘it is like being a natural skater, you are so busy doing tricks to impress that you do not see where the thin ice is and before you know, poof! You are in deep, ice-cold water frozen like a dead herring. Intelligence is a harder gift, for this you must work, you must practise it, challenge it and maybe towards the end of your life you will master it. Cleverness is the shadow whereas intelligence is the substance.’

He passed me a stick of Spearmint and commenced talking again. ‘Now my theory is that to beat any system you have to know it intimately. Rebellion is senseless and being pointedly different only leads to persecution, the only way to control any system is from inside it the way the Jews have always done.”It didn’t seem to help them with Hitler,’ I said. I didn’t know much about the Jews in Nazi Germany but Miss Bornstein had told me a little and had added that Old Mr Bornstein actually felt guilty for escaping the Holocaust. ‘A-ha, that was different. Hitler’s Nazi party presented an impossible problem for the Jews of Germany. After all, you can’t undermine a system from within when you’re excluded from it in the first place, can you?’

As is so often the case with a legend, every incident has two possible interpretations, the plausible and the one which is moulded to suit the making of the myth. Man is a romantic at heart and will always put aside dull, plodding reason for the excitement of an enigma. As Doc had pointed out, mystery, not logic, is what gives us hope and keeps us believing in a force greater than our own insignificance.

The boarders put my privileged position down to my near fraternal attitude to the school servants, which nicely explained their anxiety to help me. I was, I was beginning to understand, a natural leader, and leaders, I have found, need never explain. In fact the less they explain the more desirable they become as leaders. Except to Doc, I had never been given to explaining myself and this was taken as strength by those who followed me. In truth, my reluctance to share my feelings was born out of my fear as a small child when I had been the only Rooinek in the foreign land of Afrikanerdom. I had survived by passing as unnoticed as possible, by anticipating the next move against me, by being prepared when the shit hit the fan to take it in my stride, pretending not to be hurt or humiliated. I had learned early that silence is better than sycophancy, that silence breeds guilt in other people. That it is fun to persecute a pig because it squeals, no fun at all to beat an animal which does not cry out. I had long since built the walls around my ego which only the most persistent person would ever manage to climb.

I must say, while Mango Cobett was a bit of a buffoon and a terrible snob, Singe ‘n Burn, the head, had taken care to staff the school with liberal thinkers. He was less interested in turning out what he referred to as ‘the private school product’ than he was in encouraging individuals to emerge. He would refer to his idealised person as a Renaissance man. A boy who delighted in learning for its own sake, the inspired amateur in the gifts of the body and the spirit. The complete man, superior by virtue of his curiosity and the careful nurturing and harvesting of his gifts. A man who was modest and unassuming because he had no need to hide his thoughts or his deeds from others, nor had he the need to seek their approval.

As a fighter he had the edge over a boxer, the aggressor moving relentlessly forward is a crowd pleaser and a partisan crowd is apt to forget the winner is the guy who lands the most clean punches. I hoped the ref was good enough to call it correctly but with a home crowd like this a close decision in my favour would get us lynched.

On the way back in the bus I turned to Hymie. ‘You haven’t answered my question.”What question?”Was today a set-up?’ Hymie looked down at his hands, ‘Technically no. But when you bring the right elements together you’re entitled to expect a predictable outcome.’

 I had steeled myself to win so often that, in my mind, a single loss in the ring would have meant that I would not become the welterweight champion of the world. A childish concept perhaps, but nonetheless one which was bound with steel wire through my resolve. I had even taught myself never to consider the consequences of losing a fight. Too much cross-referencing of consequence robs the will of its single-minded concentration to win. While this fanatical resolve never to be beaten may have been a sign of immaturity, the sophistication I brought to the task of winning I was to see adopted by sports psychiatrists throughout the world in later years.

The power of one is above all things the power to believe in yourself, often well beyond any latent ability you may have previously demonstrated. The mind is the athlete; the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straighter, kick better, swim harder, hit further or box better. Hoppie’s dictum to me: ‘First with the head and then with heart’ was more than simply mixing brains with guts. It meant thinking well beyond the powers of normal concentration and then daring your courage to follow your thoughts.

31 Famous Quotations You’ve Been Getting Wrong

By Nico Lang  Link

Whether its a Facebook status or a bumper sticker, everyone loves a great quote. However, some of the most famous quotes in history, from Gandhi to Mark Twain, aren’t what you think they are. Gandhi didn’t tell you to “be the change” and Twain didn’t only believe in “death and taxes.” Sometimes quotes take on new lives after their authors’ deaths, changing from the original phrasing. Or they find out they said something that they never said at all, which happened to George Carlin all the time.

Here are 31 of the most famous misquotes in history, from the slightly altered to the completely changed. In life, it turns out that there’s no phrase so great that you can’t totally butcher it.

1. “Great minds think alike.”

This is actually a shortened version of a longer quote, of which there are two versions. For the full quote, you want to say, “Great minds think alike, small minds rarely differ” or “Great minds think alike, and fools seldom differ.” Same idea, different phrasing.

2. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

According to the New York Times, Gandhi himself never said this. The phrase itself is a simplified idea from his works that boils down his words to a nice bumper sticker. What he actually said was: “As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.”
3. “Curiosity killed the cat.”

The popular version is again abridged from a longer statement: “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.” The last half of the phrase drastically changes it – because the cats get to live now. So world, cat death = preventable. Just give them that b ball of yarn and they’ll be just fine.

4. “Money is the root of all evil.”

This quote comes from 6:10 of 1 Timothy and the full version is “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.” It’s a pretty close adaptation but adds a definitiveness that the original is lacking. The Bible suggests that money is a cause of evil – but hardly the only one. So the Kardashians can rest a little easier tonight.

5. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

This phrase was adapted into English in the 16th century from a medieval French proverb, and there are a number of different versions that are floating around. In addition to how we know it, there’s another great version I like better: “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it burned in one.”

6. “The only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash.”

This is another common misattribution. Although the quote has long been sourced as one of Winston Churchill’s many famous phrases, it actually came from his assistant and private secretary, the quippy Sir Anthony Montague-Browne. However, never one to let wit go unrecognized, reports state that Churchill later claimed he would have liked to have actually said it.
7. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Voltaire was a brillian novelist and quote machine. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “the best of all possible worlds,” you’ve heard it because Voltaire popularized the Leibniz adage in Candide, the philosopher’s attempt to theorize evil away. However, Voltaire never said the above, his most famous quote. It was written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall a century later.

8. “The end justifies the means.”

Although this concept is introduced in Nicolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, the statement itself is never used. The adage itself dates back to Ovid’s Heroides, which was composed in 10 BCE. Machiavelli himself said, “One must consider the final result;” however, the gist of that is markedly different and less declarative.

9. “The only two certainties in life are death and taxes.”

Mark Twain said a lot of things during his lifetime, but this phrase was not one of them. The quote was misattributed to him, because it sounds like something he might say. However, versions of the quote were written both by Christopher Bullock and Edward Ward. In 1716, Bullock claimed, “Tis impossible to be sure of anything but Death and Taxes,” and Ward agreed. He wrote in Dancing Devils (1724): ““Death and Taxes, they are certain.”

10. “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

This phrase is commonly attributed to P.T. Barnum, as an indication of his cynicism about his own work, the way he was able to dupe people into paying for crap. But it was never said by Barnum. One of Barnum’s competitors used it to describe the famous showman’s exhibits, and it just kind of stuck.

11. “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

This is a slight misquotation from one of Lord John Dalberg-Acton’s writings, a famous British historian from the 19th century. Lord Acton actually wrote: “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But his next sentence is the more important exclamation point on the idea: “Great men are always bad men.” See? It’s a lot more interesting that way.

12. “Well behaved women rarely make history.”

It’s a well-known fact these days that Marilyn Monroe wasn’t as dumb as she came off – a much better actress than we give her credit for — and this quote is one of many used to indicate her bubbling-under-the-surface intelligence. However, it isn’t hers to claim. It was actually a quote from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who teaches on Women’s and American History at Harvard.

13. “No rest for the wicked.”

This phrase is often used as a busy person excuse for staying up late, and it might be true, but the quote originated as a misquote from the Bible. Isaiah 15:21 reads: “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” The words “rest” and “peace” are related to each other, but the idea of sleep completely changes its meaning. It’s about finding solace, not a nap.

14. “Blood is thicker than water.”

This is one of many Bible verses that has been misadapted for common use, because the word “convenant” doesn’t roll off the tongue in everyday use. However, the real version completely changes the meaning. The quote comes from: “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” This actually means that blood shed in battle bonds soldiers more strongly than simple genetics. Although we commonly use it to suggest the strength of family ties, it doesn’t refer to family at all.

15. “Nice guys finish last.”

Great news, nice guys. You’ve been getting a bad rap. When baseball hall of famer Leo Durocher (aka Leo the Lip), one of the great managers in history, said this, he was referring to another team. Durocher said: “All nice guys. They’ll finish last.” Durocher later clarified that the misquote wasn’t what he meant at all: “I never did say that you can’t be a nice guy and win. I said that if I was playing third base and my mother rounded third with the winning run, I’d trip her up.”

16. “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

There are a number of different versions of the original quote by Edward A. Murphy, the aerospace engineer who coined the phrase, depending on who you ask. George E. Nichols claimed that Murphy actually said, “If that guy has any way of making a mistake, he will,” but his son, Robert, remembered it as: “If there’s more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in disaster, then somebody will do it that way.” But the popular phrasing is actually attributed to Major John Paul Stapp, a U.S. Air Force officer. Stapp claimed of the Air Force, “We do all of our work in consideration of Murphy’s Law.”

17. “Gild the lily.”

“Gild the lily” is the fancy version of putting lipstick on a pig. The phrase is used to suggest giving something a “deceptively attractive or improved appearance.” But Shakespeare’s original version is a tad different. From King John, The longer phrase actually reads: “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily.”

18. “Let them eat cake.”

The full quote goes: “If they have no bread, let them eat cake.” However, neither of them are right – because Marie Antoinette never said it. The quote was used to indicate the decadence of Versailles and the royals and was anti-monarchist propaganda used by opponents to discredit them as rules of “the people.” The “cake” line comes from Jean-Jacques Rosseau’s Confessions: “I recalled the make-shift of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread and who replied: ‘Let them eat brioche’.”

19. “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

Much like other pop cultural quotations (e.g. “Beam me up, Scotty” and “Luke, I am your father”) its an adapted version of things that were said at different times, referring more to the work itself than anything actually said in it. Although Holmes never originally said this in the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books, it found its way into the film and TV versions of Holmes.

20. “Starve a cold, feed a fever.”

This is both a misquote and potentially bad medical advice. The quote dates back to around 1574, when writer John Withals claimed, “Fasting is a great remedie of feuer.” However, the original version of the quote suggests the opposite: “If you starve a cold, you’ll have to feed a fever.” So if you’re hungry, please eat, whether you are sick or not. Food is good for you and wants to help.

21. “My country, right or wrong.”

This is one of those quotes inbred, backwoods yokels always use to justify war. However, the real version of the quote doesn’t tell us to go blindly into that good combat. Uttered by Carl Schurz in 1872, the real version is: “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

22. “The British are coming!”

Although this was attributed to Paul Revere from his famous ride, the man himself never said it. You might think it comes from Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” but that’s not the case either. According to those who were there that evening, Revere actually said, “The regulars are out.”

23. “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

There are quite a few versions of this quote, one of which made its way into a Rise Against song title: “Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.” But the quote itself has been exaggerated. The quote came from a reporter question about the state of Twain’s health, instead of a false obit. Twain said, “The report of my death is an exaggeration.” In addition, the statement is in reference not to a prematurely printed obituary but to a reporter’s inquiry about his health.

24. “The proof is in the pudding.”

The original version of this adage goes all the way back to the 14th century, if not earlier, and the misquote was coined in the 1920s. The new one doesn’t quote make sense (because that sounds messy) but original clarifies: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” According to NPR, this “meant was that you had to try out food to know whether it was good.” Check out their segment on the origin of the phrase here.

25. “I invented the internet.”

Despite long being used to make Al Gore look like an idiot, America’s favorite tree hugger never claimed to invent the internet. Gore took credit for the part he played in funding the government development that led to the flourishing of the internet, becoming the phenomenon it is today. Gore told Late Edition on CNN, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” Wired News writer Declan McCullagh coined the use of the word “invented” later, when describing criticism from Dick Armey of Gore’s statement.

26. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

An accomplished 17th and 18th century playwright, this became William Congreve’s most famous quote. However, the actual line from his 1697 play, The Mourning Bride, goes: “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” The man certainly had a flair for the dramatic.

27. “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.”

Poor Congreve could never get quoted correctly. From the same play, people often use the above quotation incorrectly and misattribute it to Shakespeare. It’s actually the first line from The Mourning Bride, and the real version goes: “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast/To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”

28. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Although this is commonly attributed to Edmund Burke, the father of conservativism, the famous British statesman didn’t say it. John F. Kennedy popularized the misquote in a famous speech, but it’s been floating around in different versions since the 19th century. Burke’s original said, “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” The phrase was also attributed to Reverend Charles F. Aked, who used the quote to argue for prohibition in 1916.

29. “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

This one depends on who you ask. General Phillip Sheridan is claimed to have actually said, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead,” which isn’t much better. However, General Sheridan himself denied that those words ever came out of his mouth. For the record, if I said something like that, I’d probably deny it, too.

30. “Now is the winter of our discontent.”

There’s a great scene in Reality Bites where Ethan Hawke uses this quote for his answering machine, as an ironic statement on the existential darkness of his soul. However, the actual line from Shakespeare’s Richard III goes: “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York.” It doesn’t refer to darkness at all but is meant to indicate that something good has happened.

31. “I cannot tell a lie. It was I who chopped down the cherry tree.”

This whole story is really a pile of dung, a fine example of American mythmaking, and George Washington himself never said it. The anecdote was concocted by Washington biographer Parson Weems, who interviewed folks who knew the president after his death. In 1904, an investigation into Weems’ work uncovered that the biographer commonly made up anecdotes for his biographies, and this was likely one of them. There was no actual source for the story. Meaning Weems was full of shit.

1001 nights quotes

A wise man said: ‘A king should guard the rights of God and the
rights of his people. More especially should he keep peace between
the men of the pen and the men of the sword; for when the pen is
oppressed the throne falls.’ –king Umar al Nauman

My child, beware of pity for it weakens
government, and beware of a lack of pity for this stirs revolt.’

An Arab came to the Khal(fah Abu Jafar Abdall&h al-Mans*r and
said: ‘Starve your dog if you wish it to follow you.’ The Khal(fah was
wroth and the Arab continued: ‘But take care that some passerby does
not hold out a piece of bread to your dog.’ Al-Mans*r understood and
profited by this advice,

‘Intelligence is wealth, quickness of
intellect a talisman, and study a glory.’

There are three kinds of men: the wise
man who reflects and acts only after reflection, the wiser man who
reflects and then takes the advice of others, and the fool who neither
reflects nor takes advice.

The road away from the house of moderation leads to the town of