Top 100

Top 500 Neal Stephenson Quotes (2023 Update)
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Neal Stephenson Quote: “The situation could not possibly be as dire as it seemed or they would all be dead.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The moon had broken up into seven large pieces, which inevitably became known as the Seven Sisters, and an uncountable number of smaller ones. Gradually the big ones acquired names. Doc Dubois was responsible for many of these. He gave them descriptive names that wouldn’t scare people. It wouldn’t do to call them Nemesis or Thor or Grond. So instead it was Potatohead, Mr. Spinny, Acorn, Peach Pit, Scoop, Big Boy, and Kidney Bean.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But what you learn, as you get older, is that there are a few billion other people in the world all trying to be clever at the same time, and whatever you do with your life will certainly be lost – swallowed up in the ocean – unless you are doing it along with like-minded people who will remember your contributions and carry them forward.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Morse code didn’t leave a paper trail, or an email thread on the screen of your tablet. She would never be able to scroll back and reread the exchange she’d just had with Rufus.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Even though we didn’t say anything, we were in dialog: a peregrin dialog, meaning two equals wandering around trying to work something out, as opposed to a suvinian dialog where a fid is being taught by a mentor, or a Periklynian dialog, which is combat.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The rough-and-ready intellectual consensus of the mid-Twentieth Century is being pushed out by a New Superstition whose victims can find testimony on the Internet for anything they choose to believe. The only cure for it is reading books, and lots of them.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The curt maneuver forced hearty laughter from all of the fathers in the ballroom, who were delighted by the illusion of danger and the impotence of Nature.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “They’d never take the standardized tests that they were prepping for. In a way, Amelia had said, this had led to a kind of renaissance in pedagogy. Free from the constraints of racking up high test scores or getting into colleges, students could learn for learning’s sake – which was how it ought to be. The tick-tock curriculum had dissolved and been replaced by activities improvised from day to day by teachers and parents:.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The commentary came from millions of idiots on the Internet.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I’m strictly a one-project-at-a-time kind of guy. If I came up with a compelling idea for a different book while working on a project, I’d probably abandon the first project and go with the new idea.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “For members of the general public might not care about Wolf-Rayet stars in the Quintuplet Cluster, but they definitely saw why having hot rocks fall on one’s head was a good thing to avoid.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Many set themselves the aim of rescuing the indifferent and the lazy – and end up lost themselves. The flame within them gets dim with the passage of time. So, if you have the fire, run, since you never know when it may be doused, leaving you stranded in darkness. –.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Whenever serious and competent people need to get things done in the real world, all considerations of tradition and protocol fly out the window.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “It was humanly impossible to extend to seven billion people the full sympathy that each of them deserved.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Reader, if you don’t know what a database is, rest assured that an explanation of the concept would in no way increase your enjoyment in reading this account.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Meetings had never been her strong suit. She felt like she was playing an away game whenever she sat down in a conference room. Her awareness of this got in the way and turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “You may have envisioned half a dozen potential markets for your product, but as soon as you open your doors, one just explodes from the pack and becomes so instantly important that good business sense dictates that you abandon the others and concentrate all your efforts.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But the basic premise of Eutropianism is that technology has made us post-human. That Homo sapiens plus technology is effectively a whole new species: immortal, omnipresent because of the Net, and headed towards omnipotence.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Ninety-nine percent of everything that goes on in most Christian churches has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual religion.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Got what?” Pete Starling asked, over the video link. “Am I missing something?” “No,” Dinah said. “We are just proceeding adaptively to leverage our core competencies.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “In war, no matter how much you plan and prepare and practice, when the big day actually arrives, you still can’t find your ass with both hands.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “He gave them descriptive names that wouldn’t scare people. It wouldn’t do to call them Nemesis or Thor or Grond. So instead it was Potatohead, Mr. Spinny, Acorn, Peach Pit, Scoop, Big Boy, and Kidney Bean.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The sand was hard-packed and solid and wet, speckled all over with cockle shells in colors and patterns of such profusion and variety that they must have given the first Dutchmen the idea to go out into the sea and bring back precious things from afar.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “This Land was made wrong. All of his efforts to make it right only spread the wrongness about in new ways. It is left to souls like me to decide what to do about it; and though I cannot see all the answers, I can guess that adding more wrongness will not help matters.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “A lot of secular, modern people claim to be disillusioned whenever they learn that any smart person is religious. That’s applicable to Newton as it is to any other religious smart person.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Hiro watches the large, radioactive, spear-throwing killer drug lord ride his motorcycle into Chinatown. Which is the same as riding it into China, as far as chasing him down is concerned.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I hadn’t known that,′ I said. ‘I always tend to assume there’s an infinite amount of money out there.’ ‘There might as well be,’ Arsibalt said, ’but most of it gets spent on pornography, sugar water, and bombs.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Fraa Jad took the garment from me and discovered how the fly worked. “Topology is destiny,” he said, and put the drawers on.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The rule of thumb we’ve been using is that Deolaters are welcome as long as they’re not certain they’re right,” I said. “As soon as you’re sure you’re right, there’s no point in your being here.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Books are the single most efficient technology there is in terms of nimbleness and bang for the buck. You can present a whole universe in a book. It’s produced simply by sitting in front of a typewriter or a computer and tapping on keys. There’s no real limit to what you can conjure up in the reader’s imagination by doing that. The book is irreplaceable.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “We’re all nerds now. We might as well get good at it.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But the Owners really valued the Crow’s Nest partly as a cultural institution and partly because it gave them access to the sort of information about the lives, thoughts, and deeds of important persons that could only be had in a bar.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The cloud, in other words, became not just a physical cloud of flying objects in space but a computational cloud as well, a free-floating, self-regulating Internet.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I made it into Wikipedia,” sang Erszebet. “I’ll bet none of my enemies ever made it into Wikipedia.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I think that this vein is close to being mined out already, but I’ll say that my knowledge of and talent for linguistics are quite limited and I’m not aware of being a hell of a lot more interested in that topic than I am in others.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “This is one of the two great labyrinths into which human minds are drawn: the question of free will versus predestination.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I feared he might be trying to grow a beard again.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Leibniz is at the disadvantage of not having seen it. Or perhaps we should count this as an advantage, for anyone who sees it is dumbfounded by the brilliance of the geometry, and it is difficult to criticize a man’s work when you are down on your knees shielding your eyes.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I don’t like sewing machines. I don’t understand how a needle with a thread going through the tip of it can interlock the thread by jamming itself into a little goddamn spool. It’s contrary to nature and it irritates me.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “The FBI hates and fears strong crypto.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “If he lived by a simple code of ethics, it was not an end in itself, but a way to get something done without selling his soul or destroying his reputation. It was a tool to be wielded like a shovel or a stick of dynamite. Tools were for building things; and pride was something you could feel after the fact, when you stood back, looked at what you had built, and passed it on to your children. Dinah.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “But Raz, you are educable, you can learn ‘this kind of thing,’ if by that you mean how to maneuver an S2-35B and how to assemble a Cold Black Mirror. You’ve spent your whole life, ever since you were Collected, becoming educable.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Americans’ preference for mediated experiences is obvious enough, and I’m not going to keep pounding it into the ground. I’m not even going to make snotty comments about it – after all, I was at Disney World as a paying customer. But it clearly relates to the colossal success of GUIs, and so I have to talk about it some. Disney does mediated experiences better than anyone. If they understood what OSes are, and why people use them, they could crush Microsoft in a year or two.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I apologize if my limbic system has misinterpreted your gesture of emotional support.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “I hate e-mail,” John says. Harvard Li stares him in the eye for a while. “What do you mean?” “The concept is good. The execution is poor. People don’t observe any security precautions. A message arrives claiming to be from Harvard Li, they believe it’s really from Harvard Li. But this message is just a pattern of magnetized spots on a spinning disk somewhere. Anyone could forge it.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “And then there’s The Enforcers – but they cost a lot and don’t take well to supervision. It is rumored that, under their uniforms, they wear T-shirts bearing the unofficial Enforcer coat of arms: a fist holding a nightstick, emblazoned with the words SUE ME.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “What is the moral of your play, Jack?” “Oh, it could be a number of things: stay the hell out of Europe, for example. Or: when the men with swords come, run away! Especially if they’ve got Bibles, too.” “Sound advice.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Every true heart needed a pragmatic counterweight, and every cynic an idealist to lift his spirits.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “Time, tide, and comets waited for no man.”
Neal Stephenson Quote: “At the entrance of this street, a Janissary was pinned to a wooden door by an eight-foot-long spear, which Jack looked on as proving that Yevgeny had passed by there recently.”
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