1. Some books inspire us to think. Others inform us that someone else is thinking, and that we, therefore, need not.
2. The works of a great man are not a call to adulate him. They are not a call to emulate him. They are a call to be as great as he.
3. Wisdom and virtue will not allow themselves to be accumulated as the miser accumulates his treasure. As soon as we begin to regard them as a treasure stored up within us, rather than as something we must conquer anew in each moment, we cease to possess them.
4. Anyone who can appreciate fine possessions can also appreciate the leisure he must sacrifice to obtain them.
5. Smalltalk: the intellectual equivalent of petty crime.
6. Those fond of incoherent abstractions quickly become impatient with abstract discussions.
7. The regime that seeks to compel justice makes every just act into a cowardly one.
8. Consensus: a suicide pact for seekers of truth.
9. The more we persevere in tasks which bore us, the more boring we become.
10. The philosopher whose books are tedious to read reveals what sort of life he recommends.
11. To say "I am not a saint" is a confession of moral laxity. To say “I am not a genius” is a confession of intellectual laxity. Both adopt the guise of modesty in order to conceal indolence.
12. While we previously imagined that the intellect was something supernatural, we now know it resides in the material world—usually, in the servants’ quarters.
13. At the end of a play, we applaud not only the hero, but also the villain and the fool. If only we were so discerning in life.
14. An unwelcome passion, like an unwelcome guest, should be ejected as politely as possible.
15. The mind of the commercial man conforms itself to whatever shape is conducive to commerce—not the most beautiful shape, but the most useful.
16. All the sciences have their origin in love of truth, just as all human beings have their origin in sexual love.
17. The flight attendant's version of Matthew 7:3: "Secure your own virtues before assisting others."
18. Forming one’s character without reflection will produce results similar to grooming oneself without a mirror.
19. A taste for wine destines a man to become a sot; a taste for epiphany, a sage.
20. Aphorism: a post-it note on the bedpost in the amnesiac ward of wisdom.
21. We are perfectly content to be ignorant, but abhor being idle, so we acquire only that little bit of knowledge we need in order to act.
22. The argumentum ad laborum: “I have invested years of my life in learning this doctrine. Therefore, it must be true.”
23. Amassing a fortune, a detour which the less fortunate are compelled to make from the path to greatness, is often mistaken for the path itself.
24. Everyone is the child of his age. The question is, how much is he willing to misbehave?