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Literary References

. . . Books are a major source of information anxiety . . .


My good friend Bob Goodenough encouraged me to let my creativity roam free with quotes from books I've read. Here, for your enjoyment, are the sources of the quotes you see on each page at this site. So, herewith a list of quotes from books.

Puck of Pook's Hill

Rudyard Kipling

Puck of Pook's Hill tells how a trio of children meet with Puck, one of the People of the Hills. Puck claims to have been around when Britain was young, hence the reference to Stonehenge being new. Puck takes the children on various magical journeys, where they meet a Roman Centurion with Julius Caesar's legions, a Norman knight with William the Conqueror's army, and many other adventures.

A Passion for Success

Kazuo Inamori

Kazuo Inamori is the former chairman of Kyocera Corporation (Kyoto Ceramics Corporation). His book A Passion for Success is a record of Inamori's personal philosophies on how to run a successful life and an equally successful business. Inamori has announced that on his stepping down as chairman of Kyocera, he will enter a Buddhist monastery.

The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

Robert A. Heinlein

Lazarus Long was one of Heinlein's best characters. In the notebooks, Heinlein uses Lazarus Long as a character for expounding some of his personal philosophy of how people should comport themselves in their daily lives.

Up the Organisation

Robert Townsend

Robert Townsend had been a vice president at American Express, and later was asked to run Avis at a time when Avis had not turned a profit in thirteen years. Townsend took on the job of running Avis and returned the company to profitability within three years. He writes of his experiences in the best-selling book Up the Organisation, where he gives you his philosophy of what makes a company run well. Start at the section entitled People.

The Incredible Secret Money Machine

Don Lancaster

San Jose Mercury News

Don Lancaster has been around the electronics and computer business since before the advent of personal computers. He wrote several well received books in the 1970s on the use of DTL and TTL logic circuitry. In his humourous but right to the point book The Incredible Secret Money Machine, Don tells his philosophy of how to run a small computer, craft, or consulting business. Don Lancaster has written hundreds of articles on the PostScript language, a collection of articles called The Case Against Patents, and a series called The Blatant Opportunist.

Under Milk Wood

Dylan Thomas

In Under Milk Wood, Dylan Thomas paints a picture of a small Welsh village named Llareggub. All the characters in the village have committed sins of some kind or another. Mister Pugh is deeply unhappy with his nagging old crone of a wife and fantasises of poisoning her.


He obtains a book entitled Lives of the Great Poisoners, and wraps it in plain brown paper so she won't see what he's reading. In the play, Mister Pugh is reading the book, and she starts a semi-monologue about how only pigs read at the dining table, hence her reference to his trough. When she finally asks him what the book is, he tells her it's the Lives of the Great Saints.

The Third Millennium

Brian Stableford and John Langford

Subtitled A History of the World: AD 2,000–3,000, The Third Millennium is a quite fantastic piece of prognostication of where the human race might go in the next thousand years.


Victor Sperandeo—also known as “Trader Vic”—has written two excellent books on the topics of investing and trading. He's especially good for his extensive statistical analyses of past markets.

Profiles of the Future

Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke is one of the foremost science writers of the twentieth century. Clarke is probably known best for his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick on the hit film 2001.

In the scientific and engineering field, Clarke is known best for describing the basic concepts and mechanics of the geo-synchronous communications satellite in a 1945 article to Wireless World.

Clarke is also known for his formulation of “Clarke's Laws”:

  • When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he's probably correct; if he states that something cannot be done, he is almost certainly incorrect.
  • Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
  • The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them to the impossible.


Donald Johannson

Lucy tells the story of the discovery of an eighty-million year old skeleton of a young girl in the deserts of the Afar triangle in Ethiopia. In the course of the investigation of the skeleton, Donald Johannson works with his colleague Owen Lovejoy, one of the world's foremost experts on locomotion, or how animals and primates walk. Hence the remark by Lovejoy about the nearest McDonald's.

Sam Goldwyn

Whether Sam Goldwyn of Metro Goldwyn Mayer actually ever said the bit about using Western Union if you have a message, he was certainly not very supportive of screen writers who wanted to get across a message instead of just providing entertainment.

Monty Python

Monty Python's SPAMTM skit is now one of the most famous of them all, right up there with the kamikaze highlanders and Beethoven's Mynah Bird. The SPAMTM skit takes us to a typical English cafe where every item on the menu comes with SPAMTM.


The term Spam has now become synonymous with the vast outpourings of garbage E-Mail you receive every day from the slobbering benthic parasites of the Internet. This alternative form of Spam is not to be confused with the otherwise fine (shudder) products of the Hormel Corporation.


Please note that SPAMTM is a registered trademark of the Hormel Company, and as far as I am concerned, they are welcome to it.

Doctor Samuel Johnson

Doctor Samuel Johnson made the comment that Example is More Efficacious than Precept. My co-author Mary Campione and I followed this precept when we wrote our book PostScript by Example. Rather than hundreds of pages of narrative descriptions of the PostScript language, we showed how to use the language via 760 pictures and 500 code examples.

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Page Updated 2011 December 08