Peddling my books in 2019 (pre-weight loss)

60 quotes about 60 things I’ve learned in 60 years

My big divisible-by-five birthday has arrived! At past milestone birthdays and events, I’ve written lists of things I’ve learned during that time. For my 60th birthday, I’m doing something different. Here are 60 quotes from my speeches and books that reflect things I’ve learned in life.

  1. I need coffee to deal with this, and I’m not getting decaf. — Offline
  2. I learned that when I feel powerless…I could summon my faith and courage, not only to survive, but to triumph. — “Bound
  3. You read the textbooks, and it would seem that history is made by great men while you the people—supposedly a nameless, faceless force—follow blindly. That’s not true. Quite often, you the people take the lead while we leaders scramble to catch up. — Doria
  4. [Y]ou can’t reboot your life. There are no take-backs and do-overs. You make your choices and live with them! — Amiga
  5. Something that seems worthless can still have value. — The Remainders
  6. You have to learn to get your idea across in a short period of time—and encourage that listener to grant you more time to speak. — Mastering Table Topics
  7. Whenever people ask you to speak, it’s because they believe you have something of value to offer. — “The Power of Your Words
  8. Those seven words are verbal habanero pepper sauce. Put just a tiny drop on your eggs, and you’ll say, “Hmmm. That has some kick.” Pour in the whole bottle. Arrrrrgh! And you want to swear to express your pain, but you can’t because your tongue has evaporated from your mouth. Or worst, the nerves in the insides of your mouth will be deadened so that you can’t taste anything at all. — “The Seven Words Revisited
  9. A winner never quits? Sometimes, you have to quit. You may be in a no-win situation or circumstances may force you to quit. A quitter never wins? Every time I quit, it freed space in my life for something better and helped me regain passion that I had lost. — “A Winner Never Quits?
  10. I know nothing about writing books, but I know you can’t copy something someone else wrote and not give that person credit. — The Remainders
  11. You say you want to know me. Now, you do. This is what it’s really like to be me. — Offline
  12. We don’t like to admit our negative emotions because they scare us. And they scare us for a good reason. When those emotions get out of control, they can be destructive. — “It’s Good to Feel Bad
  13. No! You can’t “prefer not”! Not now—not anymore! I want to know—demand to know—Why, Bartleby? Why! — Offline
  14. So, let me get this straight…If some ancient culture built something, and you…can’t explain how or why they did it, some guys from outer space did it for them? — Doria
  15. Those who would ignore a shout would strain to hear a whisper. Those who roll their eyes at threats will perk up their ears at a kind word. — “The Evaluation
  16. I believe that as long as you keep a person’s memory alive in your heart, he never really has died. — “Eulogy for Sheldon Stern
  17. Make sure you understand the question before answering it. This sounds logical, but think of the times you asked someone a question and received a wrong answer because the speaker made an incorrect assumption about what you want. — Mastering Table Topics
  18. High school was one giant stamping press. You were forced to conform, to fit in. You had to wear the right clothes, and have your hair the right length, and listen to the right bands, and watch the right movies, and take the right drugs, and use the right slang. You memorized history books full of lies, read authors who have been dead for centuries, and learned mathematical formulas you will never use outside the classroom. On Friday nights, you filed onto rickety metal bleachers where you pretended to care about other students, who you barely see in the hallway, as they wore ugly uniforms in garish school colors. You were supposed to cheer as they smashed into other students who happened to live in a different neighborhood from you. On Monday morning, you had to brag about what you did with some girl in the back seat of your parent’s car on Saturday night. — Amiga
  19. I never got into the whole school spirit thing. Now, I’m sorry I didn’t. — The Remainders
  20. I learned that you can’t force a person to change. It doesn’t matter whether you want that person to change. It doesn’t matter if you need that person to change. A person will not change until he or she is ready to change. — “The Eagle in the Chicken Coop
  21. My father taught me, as his father taught him. I wish I could have taught you. — Doria
  22. Fathers, I implore you, make yourselves meaningful presences in your children’s lives. Spend time with them. Teach them. Love them. This way, when you are gone, you will leave behind a more meaningful and valuable legacy than just a basket of magazines. — “A Basket of Magazines
  23. You need to be a better man than your father. — Amiga
  24. Don’t be discouraged. Just keep working hard. You’ll be great. I know you will. — Doria
  25. [T]he world will crush you if you let it. Your only defense is kindness. Always be kind. — The Remainders
  26. When I looked at her face, I didn’t see the face of a corpse. Instead, I saw the face as I always remembered it—full of life. I saw her face beaming with pride at my Eagle Scout ceremony. I saw it laugh freely and joyfully at our engagement dinner, when she met my new in-laws for the first time. I saw her warm smile when my wife gave her a rose at our wedding ceremony. — “Eulogy for Barbara Stern
  27. Jonathan Swift once said, “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” I believe that the missing element is the recognition that we have more in common than we realize. — “Avinu Malkaynu
  28. All of us are broken. All of us are flawed. All of us have sinned against God, each other, and ourselves. Until we see the grace in the brokenness in ourselves and others, we cannot receive God’s grace. — The Remainders
  29. My life is broken, but it’s my life. I own it. I own every decision I’ve made. Yes, my life is hell right now, but it’s my hell. I built it myself, down to the last chunk of brimstone. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. — Amiga
  30. You’ll know how much you love someone by how much you miss them when they’re gone. — The Remainders
  31. Eye contact is a powerful communications tool. It enables you to connect with your audience, project sincerity and openness, and keep your listener’s attention. — Mastering Table Topics
  32. They didn’t go on a pointless chase for the new, only to discover that it too someday will become worn out and out-of-style. — The Remainders
  33. Torture doesn’t work! When people are tortured, they’ll confess to anything! We do not torture! We do—not—torture! — Doria
  34. We should not assume that because information has been committed to words, it is automatically true. — “Don’t Believe Everything You Read
  35. [I]n my line of work, politics is pretty important. What happens in Washington is a life-and-death matter for me. — Amiga
  36. Those communists did only one thing: They made everyone equal—equally poor! — Doria
  37. Cell phones: For many, an indispensable communications tool. For others, just another way to be rude. — “Cell Phone Rudeness
  38. My laptop was far more powerful than that old Amiga. It could connect wirelessly to the Internet. It could play high-definition video. Its RAM and hard-drive space were measured in terms we hadn’t even imagined in the eighties. But it didn’t bring joy. It brought viruses, spyware, spam, and foaming-mouthed hateful comments on social media. We used computers to buy things, curate photos of lunches, and scroll past memes that demanded, “Like and share if you agree!” Computers had become tools. They inspired as much passion as a hammer or wrench. Tracy Kidder wrote about a soul of a new machine, but our new machines had no soul. — Amiga
  39. We had no industry standards or rules. We defined them as we went along. We were pioneers in pristine, unexplored wilderness before we paved it over with an information superhighway. The Amiga made me feel like anything was possible because when I was 24, anything was possible. — Amiga
  40. You saw what the Amiga could do. Make it do something good in the world. — Amiga
  41. I can…tell how well a company is doing by the quality of shirts they give away. — “A Life in T-Shirts
  42. Nothing is normal right now, and it won’t be for a while. — Doria
  43. [N]o one knows what the future has in store. I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now. No one knows the outcome of our choices, no matter how well we think them through. All I know is that we have to carry on, no matter what happens next. We can’t hold on to the past or run away from the consequences of our actions. We can’t give up when things get too hard or too scary. All we can do is live. — Amiga
  44. But we all had complete trust in each other. Because we trusted each other, we loved each other. When you think about it, love is a form of bondage. You trade a bit of your freedom for companionship, caring, and support. — The Remainders
  45. The general rule for organizing a speech is: Say what you are going to say. Say it. Say what you just said. — Mastering Table Topics 
  46. I may be old enough to be your mother, but you’re old enough to be my manager. — Amiga
  47. What does the dress code have to do with my job? I work on the phones all day. I never meet the public face-to-face. What difference does it make if I wear a skirt, or shorts, or slacks, or jeans, or pajamas with pink bunny slippers as long as I get the job done? — Offline
  48. You do what your boss says. You’d know that if you had a real job. — The Remainders
  49. I had to suck it up, be a professional, and get back to work even though I may soon get the worst news of my life. — Amiga
  50. [K]ids know what causes them pain. — The Remainders
  51. Son, only a handful of musicians ever made any money from their music. And most of them are dead. — Amiga
  52. Even in the best of places, you can still have bad days. — Offline
  53. Good psychologists don’t try to exert some Svengali-like control over you to get you to be a certain way. They function as coaches. They teach you how to find the answers for yourself. And, they have the courage to say, “Look, these fifty-minute hours have been fun, but I feel you have the information and support to make it on your own. So, get out there and go for it! I know you can do it.” — “Not Enough Dog Poop
  54. Somehow, Reseda made it OK for me to cry…I wasn’t going to stop until all those decades of pain gushed out my tear ducts. — The Remainders
  55. Anyone can be a hero, and everyone can make a difference. — “Left Out
  56. True communication comes when we dare to open our hearts, reach out to others, and bridge the differences between people. — “The Evaluation
  57. Friendships don’t just happen. They take commitment and nurturing to strengthen and endure. Friendships are a give-and-take proposition. You have to be willing to put into them as much as you’re willing to receive. — “Friendship
  58. People have the right to change their mind. — Amiga
  59. There’s no such thing as closure. All you can do is decide how you’ll move ahead. — The Remainders
  60. Does this mean that everything’s going to get better?…I don’t know…At least now, it’s up to us. — Doria

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