"Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death."
Benjamin Franklin, on how he made friends with a rival legislator in the Pennsylvania statehouse.
This is a real psychological phenomenon. Humans tend to value more people whom they have helped -- and conversely, devalue more people whom they have wronged. It seems that we like to be consistent, and so justify our actions after-the-fact by telling ourselves we like that person we helped, or we do not like that person we wronged.
"To read good books is like holding a conversation with the most eminent minds of past centuries and, moreover, a studied conversation in which these authors reveal to us only the best of their thoughts."
René Descartes, Discourse on the Method, 1637
"It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time."
This quote is often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but it is unclear if he ever said it.
"History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul."
Lord Acton, an English historian
"Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we use worst; and for which God will certainly most strictly reckon with us, when Time shall be no more"
William Penn, from "Some Fruits of Solitude" 1693.
"The gifts of nature are infinite in their variety, and mind differs from mind almost as much as body differs from body."
Quintilian (~35 - 100 CE). A rhetorician during the early Roman Empire, he was also, apparently, an armchair psychologist!
"History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them."
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891 – 1956), popularly known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer. He campaigned against social discrimination towards Untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labor.
"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, each of us will have two ideas."
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950) an Irish playwright, critic, and activist.
"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."
"The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!"
Larry Niven, an American science-fiction writer, with a brilliant and unique analysis of the Cretaceous extinction