A Wise Man

Albert Einstein is widely known as having been a highly intelligent man. I believe he was always a very wise man. Below are some of his thoughts on a variety of subjects and I believe that much wisdom is contained in them. It is from a list recently sent to me by a buddy.


A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” (Sign hanging in Einstein’s office at Princeton)

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”

“Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.”

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

“Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.”

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.”

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

“If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.”

“No, this trick won’t work…How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?”

About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 5 grandchildren. I manage a wealth management firm that I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of approximately 60 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and the beauty of kindness and nature.
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24 Responses to A Wise Man

  1. Andrea Kelly says:

    Added several of these to my “quote notebook” 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. mimijk says:

    How ironic that I too used a quote of his today…a remarkable man – not solely because of his genius, but because of his humanity.

    • russtowne says:

      I too agree about his humanity, Mimi.

      I was saddened to hear about his family relationships. It appears he was good at the macro/humanity levels but perhaps he didn’t have the skills to effectively relate at the micro/family-levels. That had to be heart-breaking for all involved.


      • mimijk says:

        It is truly sad to think of someone who provided such insights couldn’t seem to connect-the-dots in his personal life. I can’t imagine how frustrating and difficult that must have been..

        • russtowne says:

          I’ve learned that many highly technical and wonderful people struggle in the areas of interpersonal effectiveness. Perhaps because he was extraordinarily technically intelligent his challenge in this area was far greater than normal.

          I have coached several people with such issues and seen major improvement, but it took a LOT of hard work,humility, and perseverence on their part. I honor those who make the effort.


  3. hmmm I’m better at macro people things than micro people things as well…..

    • russtowne says:

      Are you by any chance a physicist, Diana? (Kidding!) I’ve got nothing against physicists; my younger son is one.

      You said, “I’m better at macro people things than micro people things as well”

      If that is true–and I have no reason to doubt you–then you fake it well! (That is intended as a compliment! Sometimes my “compliments” are obtuse enough that people think they are being insulted.) What I mean when I say you fake it well is that when you and I communicate it is on the micro level–OK some “macro” is/are(?) reading our comments–and I have admired your micro communication skills when dealing with me.

      But I suspect that you were referring to family-level micro stuff. The fact that you are aware of it and willing to “out” yourself about it suggests to me that you are working on that flat spot.

      We all have flat spots. I applaud you for being aware of and working on one of yours!


      • Thanks Russ, I can be good with people one-to-one for a period of time. 24/7 is hard for me and I suspect that’s why I’m single. Sometimes I feel bad about how I would step away from my daughter only able to handle things in doses and that’s why I went back to work pretty quickly. A few hours with a person and I start to fidget. Nope I’m more of a philospher of sorts and I understand humans and relationships in my head and body language and all of that…anyway, not sure how to explain myself!

        • russtowne says:

          I think I understand. It sounds like you need to give yourself a “Time-out” more frequently than some folks with whom you’ve been in relationship, and that may have had a negative impact on relationships with them.

          My Beloved and I have to give each other a lot of time away from each other or we start grinding gears quite badly. Fortunately for us, the amount of time we both need is roughly equal or we’d probably be dealing with the same challenges you have had in some of your relationships.

          I wish you success in finding someone with more compatible time-together/time-apart needs–if being together with someone is what you’d like.Some people love living alone.


          • thanks…I miss sex (indoor voice Di) I mean I’m tired of taking the trash out….. 😉

            • russtowne says:

              You crack me up my friend! Been there. Having a trash-taker-outer has it’s own set of issues (just ask my Beloved) but can come in handy on occassion too.

              Some of my friends have a steady, uh, trash-taker-outer but separate residences because they have lived alone so long that they are set in their ways and don’t want to have to break anyone in, or simply prefer to live alone.

              I hope you find someone compatible with your other needs who also just happens to be an absolutely fabulous trash-taker-outer.

              I even hear that there are some models of trash-taker-outers that with some effort can be taught to take out the trash exactly the way you want it taken out.

              I’m rooting for you, and I’ll bet it won’t be long before you have ’em standing in line for the opportunity to spend time with you!


  4. Elyse says:

    You forgot my favorite “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called Research.”

    • russtowne says:

      LOL! And if it was easy, they’d just call it “search” but they have to search over and ove again frthe answers so that is why it is called “re-search”, shortened to simply research. ;-D!.

      Thank you for sharing that one. I like his sense of humor–and yours.


  5. mindfuldiary says:

    About a wise man, on a wise man’s blog! Could not be better. Like most of the quotes. Gonna note many of them. The one with imagination and knowledge is excellent. So relevant! Our schools are designed to massproduce knowledge, while the demand of the world has shifted from knowledge to problem solving, creativity and imagination.

  6. Pingback: Improving Learning and Managing Emotions | 3D Eye

  7. But what about wise women and there are lots of us around ok I maynot be that wise but I know so wise women more wise women the wise men because lets be honest here men are mostly wiseass men more then just wise………….lol

    • russtowne says:

      Thank you for your reminder. I agree. There are indeed many wise women. I’ve included quite a few quotes from women in some of my prior posts. Some of my heroes are women. And many of my favorite people are too–including many of the readers of this blog. I know many fine women and men who I’m proud to call my friends.


  8. reallylisafrench says:

    Reblogged this on These Histories Travel With Me.

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