Top 100

Top 500 Neal Stephenson Quotes (2024 Update)

Neal Stephenson Quote: “Software development, like professional sports, has a way of making thirty-year-old men feel decrepit.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Well, all information looks like noise until you break the code.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “To condense fact from the vapor of nuance.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I use emacs, which might be thought of as a thermonuclear word processor.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Emacs is written in Lisp, which is the only computer language that is beautiful.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s game because they almost always turn out to be – or to be indistinguishable from – self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Unix is not so much an operating system as an oral history.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “What’s hard, in hacking as in fiction, is not writing, it’s deciding what to write.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people – and this is true whether or not they are well-educated – is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations – in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “And it happened all the time that the compromise between two perfectly rational alternatives was something that made no sense at all.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “A speech with magical force. Nowadays, people don’t believe in these kinds of things. Except in the Metaverse, that is, where magic is possible. The Metaverse is a fictional structure made out of code. And code is just a form of speech – the form that computers understand. The Metaverse in its entirety could be considered a single vast nam-shub, enacting itself on L. Bob Rife’s fiber-optic network.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Jack the sound barrier. Bring the noise.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I think visual literacy and media literacy is not without value, but I think plain old-fashioned text literacy and mathematical literacy are much more powerful and flexible ways to organize your mind.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “When you are wrestling for possession of a sword, the man with the handle always wins.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Boredom is a mask frustration wears.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “So, you’re worried that a pink dragon will fly over the concent and fart nerve gas on us?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I don’t even want you to nod, that’s how much you annoy me. Just freeze and shut up.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “There are always fuckups, and there is always a goat. Sometimes the goat is you.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Once a person has all the things they need to live, everything else is entertainment.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Technology is built on science. Science is like the alchemists’ uroburos, continually eating its own tail. The process of science doesn’t work unless young scientists have the freedom to attack and tear down old dogmas, to engage in an ongoing Titanomachia. Science flourishes where art and free speech flourish.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It is commonly the case with technologies that you can get the best insight about how they work by watching them fail.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It was, of course, nothing more than sexism, the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “One of the most frightening things about your true nerd, for may people, is not that he’s socially inept – because everybody’s been there – but rather his complete lack of embarrassment about it.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Wired people should know something about wires.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “In Memoriam, Louis Anglesey, Earl of Upnor, finest swordsman in England, beaten to death with a stick by an Irishman.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Interesting things happen along borders – transitions – not in the middle where everything is the same.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The story is everything, so it always begins with a story. Research is a kind of scaffolding built underneath the story as I go along. My enjoyment level varies, but in general, I’m writing about topics I find interesting, so I can’t gripe too much.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The Japanese Mafia. Tell me something, Jason, you ever hear anyone describe our thing as ‘The Sicilian Yakuza’? Huh?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Most Kabbalists were theorists who were interested only in pure meditation. But there were so-called ‘practical Kabbalists’ who tried to apply the power of the Kabbalah in everyday life.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The sight of the bare katana inspires everyone to a practically Nipponese level of politeness.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “As soon as you open the door wide enough to admit pink nerve-gas-farting dragons, you have let in all of those other possibilities as well.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “How could your cover be blown in Canada? Why even bother going dark there? How could you tell?”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Clearly Mr. Drkh has had a long career of being the weirdest person in any given room, but he’s about to go down in flames.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “All people have religions. It’s like we have religion receptors built into our brain cells, or something, and we’ll latch onto anything that’ll fill that niche for us.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I have been clinically depressed for most of my life. I once used drugs to fix it. Then I stopped. I stopped because I decided they were making me stupid, and I’d rather be miserable than stupid. I am what I am.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Every culture can be kind of defined by what they drink in order to avoid dying of diarrhea. In China it’s tea. In Africa it’s milk or animal blood. In Europe it was wine and beer.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “We are just proceeding adaptively to leverage our core competencies.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Most of the brain’s work is done while the brain’s owner is ostensibly thinking about something else, so sometimes you have to deliberately find something else to think and talk about.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It is exciting to discover electrons and figure out the equations that govern their movement; it is boring to use those principles to design electric can openers. From here on out, it’s all can openers.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Humans needed water or they would die, but dirty water killed as surely as thirst. You had to boil it before you drank it. This culture around tea was a way of tiptoeing along the knife edge between those two ways of dying.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “They knew many things but had no idea why. And strangely this made them more, rather than less, certain that they were right.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “When Hiro first saw this place, ten years ago, the monorail hadn’t been written yet; he and his buddies had to write car and motorcycle software in order to get around. They would take their software out and race it in the black desert of the electronic night.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It is easy to look at these waves, accomplishing so little and to think that no matter what efforts we put forth in our lives, all we’re really doing is rearranging the sand grains in a beach that in essence never changes.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “You could get used to anything. You got used to it and then time raced by, and before you knew it, time was up.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The hour of noon has passed,′ said Judge Fang. ‘Let us go and get some Kentucky Fried Chicken.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Any property that’s open to common use gets destroyed. Because everyone has incentive to use it to the max, but no one has incentive to maintain it.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I would say that the ability of people to agree on matters of fact not immediately visible – states of affairs removed from them in space and time – ramped up from a baseline of approximately zero to a pretty high level around the time of the scientific revolution and all that, and stayed there and became more globally distributed up through the Cronkite era, and then dropped to zero incredibly quickly when the Internet came along.”
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