Robert Heinlein Quotations

Robert Heinlein

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.

A monarch's neck should always have a noose around it -- it keeps him upright.

Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinion about her children's beauty, intelligence, goodness etc. adnauseum keep her from drowning them at birth.

Don't ever become a pessimist, Ira; a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun -- and neither can stop the march of events.

Most people can't think, most of the remainder won't think, the small fraction who do think mostly can't do it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion -- in the long run, these are the only people who count.

Never appeal to a man's 'better nature.' He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Never try to explain computers to a layman. It's easier to explain sex to a virgin.

Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.

Progress is made by lazy men looking for an easier way to do things.

The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning, while those other subjects merely require scholarship.

The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

Women and cats will do as they please and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.

You live and learn. Or you don't live long.