Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
Search Quotes Search Sages Search Chapters

Less is More

During the gold rush, gold was easy and quick to mine. Later and still today, those same mountains have gold—only much harder and expensive to extract. The 80/20 rule (Pareto principle) applies this idea to economics, science, software, sports, health, and many other fields. A foundation for our theme of “Less is More,” this same pattern may also apply to religion and philosophy. We may discover 80% of our insight and realization from the first 20% of our study and practice while the deeper we go, the less comes out. If true, this creates a strong rationale for quickly moving on from the religion/culture/status quo of our youth while not being too trapped in any tradition for too long. Less is more.

Read More

Quotes (131)

“A small rock holds back a great wave.”

Homer 850 BCE - ?
Primogenitor of Western culture

Themes: Less is More

60. Less is More

“Nothing in excess.”

Solon 638 – 558 BCE
Founder of Athenian democracy

“After all is said and done, more is said than done.”

Aesop 620 – 546 BCE
Hero of the oppressed and downtrodden
from Aesop's Fables, the Aesopica

Themes: Less is More

56. One with the Dust

“Without taking credit, a wise man is accredited; laying no claim, he is acclaimed.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Witter Bynner, Shan Dao
(Lǎozǐ)
from Way of Life According to Lao Tzu

22. Heaven's Door

“Tampering makes thing worse because life is sacred just as it it.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Shan Dao, chapter #29
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

“If people know when to stop, danger dissolves.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Shan Dao, chapter #32
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

Themes: Less is More

“Better a foot behind than an inch too far ahead.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Witter Bynner, #69
(Lǎozǐ)
from Way of Life According to Lao Tzu

Themes: Less is More

“Therefore the wise teach without saying anything.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Shan Dao, chapter #2
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

“The Sage never has to grapple with big things yet he alone is capable of achieving them!”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via John Wu, chapter 63
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao The Ching

Themes: Less is More

63. Easy as Hard

“The more words, the less truth.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Shan Dao, chapter #5
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

“A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

Themes: Less is More

36. The Small, Dark Light

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

Confucius 孔丘 551 – 479 BCE
(Kongzi, Kǒng Zǐ)
History's most influential "failure"

Themes: Less is More

64. Ordinary Mind

“By reinforcing every part, he weakens every part.”

Sun Tzu 孙武 544 – 496 BCE
(Sun Zi)
HIstory's supreme strategist
from Art of War 孙子兵法

Themes: Less is More

“The gods love to thwart whatever is greater than the rest. They do not suffer pride in anyone but themselves.”

Herodotus Ἡρόδοτος c. 484 - 425 BCE
“The Father of History”
from Histories

“Greedy for sights you should not see, impatient for deeds you should not do... he who best enjoys each passing day is truly blessed.”

Euripides 480 – 406 BCE via Philip Vellacott
Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today
from Bacchae Βάκχαι

“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.”

Isocrates Ἰσοκράτης 436 – 338 BCE

“To want nothing is godlike; and the less we want, the nearer we approach the divine.”

Xenophon of Athens Ξενοφῶν  (430–354 BCE)
General, Socratic biographer, philosopher
from Memorabilia

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”

Plato Πλάτων 428 – 348 BCE

Themes: Less is More

56. One with the Dust

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”

Demosthenes Δημοσθένης 384 – 322 BCE

Themes: Less is More

“Only a person who can refuse to act in inappropriate situations is capable of acting at appropriate times.”

Mencius 孟子 372 – 289 BCE via Daniel K. Gardner, Shan Dao
(Mengzi)
from Book of Mencius 孟子

“The reason we have two ears and only one mouth is so we may hear more and talk less.”

Zeno Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς 334 – 262 BCE
(of Citium)

“In cooking a small fish, too much turning ruins it. In governing a great state, too much reform embitters the people. Thus a ruler who possesses the Way values inaction over reform.”

Hán Fēi 韓非 280 – 233 BCE

60. Less is More

“If tasks are big and many and are frequently shifted, few of them can be accomplished; if we move a big vessel too often, it will incur many damages; if, when governing a big country, you alter laws and decrees too often, the people will suffer hardships.”

Hán Fēi 韓非 280 – 233 BCE

60. Less is More

“If you cook a small fish, don’t remove its entrails, don’t scrape off its scales, and don’t stir it. If you do, it will turn to mush. Likewise, too much government makes those below rebel.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 202 – 157 BCE
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)

60. Less is More

“Those who can see what is small and hold on to it are rare indeed.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 202 – 157 BCE
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)

Themes: Less is More

32. Uncontrived Awareness

“Whenever the mouth opens and the tongue moves, disaster is close behind.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 202 – 157 BCE
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)

Themes: Less is More

5. Christmas Trees

“Those who are able to practice being incomplete… suffer no harm.”

Heshang Gong 河上公 202 – 157 BCE
(Ho-shang Kung or "Riverside Sage”)

Themes: Less is More

22. Heaven's Door

“Too many deals impoverish the merchant, too much artistry exhausts the craftsman. When the span of a tree is great, its height is compromised. When the flow of a river is wide, its depth is compromised. If you have knowledge but not skillful means, you will never accomplish anything.”

Liú Ān 劉安 c. 179–122 BCE
(Huainanzi)
from Huainanzi

“No one is wise on horseback.”

Anonymous -800 to present via Joseph Jacobs, Spanish proverb
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history

“The greatest benefit that learning brings to men is… to like better the mean state than the higher.”

Plutarch 46 – 120 CE
(Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus)

Themes: Less is More

44. Fame and Fortune

“Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.”

Epictetus Ἐπίκτητος 55 – 135 CE
from Discourses of Epictetus, Ἐπικτήτου διατριβαί

Themes: Less is More

56. One with the Dust
61. Lying Low

“You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.”

Augustine ɔːɡəstiːn 354 – 430 CE
(Saint Augustine, Saint Austin, Augustine of Hippo)

Themes: Less is More

“The world was easier to understand when choices fell away. It was like understanding a tree when all the leaves dropped: There it was, the pattern of the boughs, the tree itself.”

Hilda of Whitby 614 – 680 CE

35. The Power of Goodness

“a racrhorse used to catch a rat
will never match a crippled cat.”

Han Shan c. 730-850 CE
(Cold Mountain)

Themes: Less is More

61. Lying Low

“Everyday life is the path.”

Nansen, Nanquan Puyuan 南泉普願 749 – 835 CE

Themes: Less is More

34. An Unmoored Boat

“My miracle? When I’m hungry I eat, when I get sleepy I sleep. When they eat, it can’t be called eating since they do so with a hundred entanglements. When they sleep, it can’t be called sleeping since their mind is beset with worries.”

Hui Hai 大珠慧海 788 – 831 CE
from Essential Gate for Entry Into Sudden Enlightenment (Tun-wu ju dao yao-men)

Themes: Less is More

“If rulers disdain something as easy, misfortune and trouble are sure to arise from it. If they do not pay attention to small matters, eventually they will overwhelm even the greatest virtue.”

Wang Zhen 809 – 859 CE via Ralph D. Sawyer
from Daodejing Lunbing Yaoyishu, The Tao of War

Themes: Less is More

63. Easy as Hard

“Don't bring things to a painful point.”

Atisha ཨ་ཏི་ཤ་མར་མེ་མཛད་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ 980 – 1054 CE
(Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna)

63. Easy as Hard

“Don't bring things to a painful point.”

Atisha ཨ་ཏི་ཤ་མར་མེ་མཛད་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ 980 – 1054 CE
(Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna)

63. Easy as Hard

“Peace, calmness, and moderation - these are the height of virtue.”

Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤 1017 – 1073 CE via Wing-Tsit Chan
(Chou Tun-i)
from Penetrating the Book of Changes

“Seek what you need and give up what you need not. For in giving up what you don’t need, you’ll learn what you really do need.”

Solomon ibn Gabirol שלמה בן יהודה אבן גבירול 1021 – 1070 CE via Ascher
(Avicebron)
from Choice of Pearls

Themes: Less is More

“Through austerity, we learn to stop. When we know when to stop, we are always content.”

Wang Anshi 王安石 1021 – 1086 CE

Themes: Less is More

67. Three Treasures

“Even three feet of snow can’t crush a one-inch spiritual pine.”

Touzi Yiqing 投子義青 1032 – 1083 CE
(Tōsu Gisei, “Zen Master of Complete Compassion”)

“By having less, it’s easy to have more. By having more, it’s easy to become confused”

Wu Cheng 吴澄 1249 – 1333 CE via Red Pine
"Mr. Grass Hut"
from Tao-te-chen-ching-chu

Themes: Less is More

22. Heaven's Door

“A mighty flame follows a tiny spark.”

Dante 1265 – 1321 CE
(Durante degli Alighieri)

Themes: Less is More

“It is needless to do with more what can be done with less.”

William of Ockham 1287 – 1347 CE

Themes: Less is More

“Benefits should be granted little by little so that they may be better enjoyed.”

Machiavelli 1469 – 1527 CE
(Niccolò Machiavelli)

“If you prevent infection, Nature will heal the wound all by herself.”

Paracelsus 1493 – 1541 CE
(Theophrastus von Hohenheim)
Revolutionary, shamanistic alchemist

Themes: Less is More

“Men of genius do most when they work least.”

Giorgio Vasari dʒordʒo vaˈzaːri 1511 – 1574 CE via Will Durant

Themes: Less is More

“The higher he ascends, the darker is the wood; it is the shadowy cloud that clarified the night, and so the one who understood remains always unknowing,”

John of the Cross 1542 – 1591 CE

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616 CE
from Merchant of Venice

Themes: Less is More

67. Three Treasures

“Good things, when short, are twice as good... well said, is soon said.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, chapter #105
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

Themes: Less is More

“Let there be no unnecessary expenditure either of knowledge or power… too much display today, there will be nothing to show tomorrow.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, #58

Themes: Less is More

“Pretend to overlook things… Most things should remain unnoticed.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, #88
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

Themes: Less is More

29. Not Doing

“Do not show your wounded finger, for everything will knock up against it… The wise never confess to being hit… Never disclose the source of pain or of joy, if you wish the one to cease and the other to endure.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE

Themes: Less is More

22. Heaven's Door

“Show yourself less and you will be esteemed more.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, #85
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

Themes: Less is More

“There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one. Talk as if you were making your will: the fewer words, the less litigation.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE

Themes: Time Less is More

5. Christmas Trees

“[ in conversation ] Discretion is more important than eloquence.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs, chapter #148
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

Themes: Less is More

“If I had more time I would write a shorter letter.”

Blaise Pascal 1623 – 1662 CE
One of the greatest French writers of all time

Themes: Less is More

“As Lao-tzu says: ‘Know your limits and you’ll suffer no disgrace, know when to stop and you’ll be in no danger.’ Let no man take too much.”

Kāngxī 康熙帝 1654 – 1722 CE via Jonathan D. Spence
from Emperor of China, Self-Portrait of K'ang-hsi

46. Enough

“One Science only will one Genius fit;
So vast is Art, so narrow Human Wit.”

Alexander Pope 1688 – 1744 CE
Second most quoted English writer
from An Essay on Criticism, 1709

Themes: Art Less is More

“Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?”

Alexander Pope 1688 – 1744 CE
Second most quoted English writer
from Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot

“The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE

Themes: Less is More

56. One with the Dust

“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards..”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Poor Richard's Almanack

29. Not Doing
61. Lying Low

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Poor Richard's Almanack

Themes: Less is More

3. Weak Wishes, Strong Bones

“Teach your child to hold his tongue, he’ll learn fast enough to speak.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Poor Richard's Almanack

60. Less is More

“Nothing is more fatal to health than an overcare of it.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE

“Oh you, who have never heard the voice of heaven, who think man destined only to live this little life and die in peace; you who reign in populous cities with your fatal acquisitions, your restless spirits, your corrupt hearts and endless desires... retire to the woods, renounce civilizations advances and vices from which always arise more real calamities than even apparent advantages.”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712 – 1778 CE via GDH Cole, Shan Dao
from On the Origin of Inequality

“The more perfect civilization is, the less occasion has it for government… government, even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worse state, an intolerable one.”

Thomas Paine 1737 – 1809 CE

58. Goals Without Means

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.”

Thomas Jefferson 1743 – 1826 CE
from Notes on the State of Virginia

17. True Leaders

“The more they talk, the more wrong they go. It’s like pouring on oil to put out a fire - just foolishness and nothing else.”

Ryokan 良寛大愚 1758 – 1758 CE
(Ryōkan Taigu,“The Great Fool”)

56. One with the Dust

“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions - the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772 – 1834 CE

Themes: Less is More

60. Less is More

“Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772 – 1834 CE

Themes: Less is More

17. True Leaders

“The distinguishing characteristic of small republics is stability: the character of large republics is mutability.”

Simon Bolivar Simón Bolívar 1783 – 1830 CE
El Libertador

Themes: Less is More

“As the biggest library in disorder is not as useful as a small, well organized one; a vast accumulation of knowledge is of far less value than a much smaller amount thought through and compared to personal experience and other knowledge.”

Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 – 1860 CE via R.J. Hollingdale, Shan Dao
from Parerga and Paralipomena, "Appendices" and "Omissions"

“When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.”

Thomas Carlyle 1795 – 1881 CE
"Great Man” theory of history creator

“I’m a slow walker but I never walk back.”

Abraham Lincoln 1809 – 1865 CE

59. The Gardening of Spirit

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”

Abraham Lincoln 1809 – 1865 CE

Themes: Less is More

“Let us worship God again in simplicity instead of making a fool of him in splendid edifices.”

Søren Kierkegaard 1813 – 1855 CE
"The first existentialist philosopher"
from Preparations for a Christian Life

“I am convinced that if all men were to live as simply as I then did, thieving and robbery would be unknown These take place only in communities where some have got more than is sufficient while others have not enough.”

Henry David Thoreau 1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from Walden or Life in the Woods

Themes: Less is More

19. All Methods Become Obstacles

“For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever.”

Henry David Thoreau 1817 – 1862 CE
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Themes: Less is More

“a sleeping apartment should never be furnished with a fire, which is one of the luxurious discomforts of the rich. … the height of this sort of deliciousness is to have nothing but the blanket between you and your snugness and the cold of the outer air… to lie like the one warm spark in the heart of an arctic crystal.”

Herman Melville 1819 – 1891 CE
from Moby Dick or The Whale

“If you know too much, you'll get old too soon.”

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский 1821 – 1881 CE via Constance Garnett
from Brothers Karamatzov

Themes: Less is More

“We frequently meet with men whose erudition ministers to their ignorance, and who, the more they read the less they know.”

Henry Thomas Buckle 1821 – 1862 CE
from History of Civilization

Themes: Less is More

19. All Methods Become Obstacles

“Saying nothing sometimes says the most.”

Emily Dickinson 1830 – 1886 CE

Themes: Less is More

70. Inscrutable

“I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets which will rend the hardest monuments of pride.”

William James 1842 – 1910 CE
"Father of American psychology”

“Wisdom requires moderation in knowledge as in other things.”

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 – 1900 CE
from Twilight of the Idols

“Books are infinite in number and time is short. The secret of knowledge is to take what is essential. Take that and try to live up to it.”

Swami Vivekananda ʃami bibekanɔnd̪o 1863 – 1902 CE
"The maker of modern India"

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”

Themes: Less is More

“He squandered too much in the heat of personal communication [and] narrowly missed being a great poet... his bursts of imaginative talk were fatal to his poetic gift.”

Willa Cather 1873 – 1948 CE
Modern day Lao Tzu

from My Ántonia

Themes: Less is More

“A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”

Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955 CE

“Do not forget that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things...as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value.”

Teilhard de Chardin 1881 – 1955 CE via Bernard Wall
from Divine Milieu

59. The Gardening of Spirit

“'Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.'”

A.A. Milne 1882 – 1956 CE
(Alan Alexander Milne)
from Winnie the Pooh

Themes: Less is More

21. Following Empty Heart

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’”

A.A. Milne 1882 – 1956 CE
(Alan Alexander Milne)
from Winnie the Pooh

Themes: Less is More

2. The Wordless Teachings

“And yet the most valuable things are attained with the least effort. But one does not realize their importance. One would rather have something which is attained with a great effort.”

Inayat Khan 1882 – 1927 CE

Themes: Less is More

63. Easy as Hard

“It is not he who has spoken a hundred words aloud who has won; it is he who has perhaps spoken only one word.”

Inayat Khan 1882 – 1927 CE

Themes: Less is More

36. The Small, Dark Light

“In the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE
from The Prophet

Themes: Less is More

“For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE

Themes: Less is More

37. Nameless Simplicity

“Your daily life is your temple and your religion.”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE
from The Prophet

“The artist's most important work lies in conception rather than in execution 'men of genius do most when they work least.' (Vasari)”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Renaissance

Themes: Less is More

“The spirits do not like women with little children to stay too long away from their house… No one who is to become a skillful hunter or a a good shaman must remain out too long when visiting strange houses.”

Igjugarjuk (1885-??) via Knud Rasmussen
Eskimo healer, Caribou teacher, great Inuit shaman
from The Fifth Thule Expedition

“I said nothing. I had learned that this is usually the best thing to say.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Transition

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.”

Pearl Buck 1892 – 1973 CE

Themes: Less is More Hope

3. Weak Wishes, Strong Bones

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard… Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them… throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE

Themes: Less is More Fear

63. Easy as Hard

“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

Lín Yǔtáng 林語堂 1895 – 1976 CE

“The English regard slackness as a vice. We, on the other hand should vastly prefer it to tension. Is there not too much tension in the world…”

James Hilton 1900 – 1954 CE
from Lost Horizon

73. Heaven’s Net

“The best way to govern is to leave the people alone and to follow the course of taking no action. This ideal of laissez faire originated in Taoism.”

Wing-tsit Chan 陳榮捷 1901 – 1994 CE
from Way of Lao Tzu

“Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.”

George Orwell 1903 – 1950 CE
English, poet, humanist, apostle of doubt, and powerful political influence
from Politics and the English Language, 1945

“You may think that if there is no purpose or no goal in our practice, we will not know what to do… The way to practice without having any goal is to limit your activity to what you can do just now, in this moment… just concentrate on the activity which we do in each moment.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE

26. The Still Rule the Restless

“Don’t create problems which are extra. Just the problems you already have are enough.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE via Trudy Dixon
from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Themes: Less is More

“Even today, we are generally told that gigantic organizations are inescapably necessary; but when we look closely we can notice that as soon as great size has been created there is often a strenuous attempt to attain smallness within bigness.”

E. F. Schumacher 1911 – 1977 CE
The “People's Economist”
from Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered

Themes: Less is More

80. A Golden Age

“If you are drilling for water, it's better to drill one 60-foot well than ten 6-foot wells.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE

“You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”

Charles Bukowski 1920 – 1994 CE
"Laureate of American lowlife”
from Women

67. Three Treasures

“What advantage is there in multiplying need? REST AND BE HAPPY”

Jack Kerouac 1922 – 1969 CE
from Some of the Dharma

“The biggest enemy to learning is the talking teacher.”

John Holt 1923 – 1985 CE
from How Children Fail

48. Unlearning

“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.”

Neil Postman 1931 – 2003 CE
from Amusing Ourselves to Death

“it is the ability to make distinctions—and the smaller the distinctions made, the higher the intellect that makes them—by which we judge intellect.”

Toni Morrison 1931 – 2019 CE
(Chloe Ardelia Wofford)
Story-telling voice of American wisdom
from A Humanist View (1975)​

“The more information we take in, the less we have. The less contemplation, the more new writes over the old, the more mindless and meaningless our lives become.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

“To know when to stop is to know enough.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

Themes: Less is More

9. Know When to Stop

“If we do not live where we work, when we work we are wasting our lives and our work too.”

Wendell Berry 1934 CE –

Themes: Less is More

61. Lying Low

“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior's world.”

Pema Chödrön 1936 CE –
(Deirdre Blomfield-Brown)
First American Vajrayana nun

52. Cultivating the Changeless

“Rumi advised me to keep my spirit up in the branches of a tree and not peek out too far, so I keep mine in the very tall willows along the irrigation ditch out back.”

Jim Harrison 1937 – 2016 CE
"untrammeled renegade genius”
from Dead Man's Float​

Themes: Less is More

“you don’t spell out the truth, you imply the truth with wakeful delight… When you spell out the truth it loses its essence and becomes either ‘my’ truth or ‘your’ truth… By implying the truth, the truth doesn’t become anyone’s property.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

70. Inscrutable

“We end up bombarded by all kinds of alternatives, and we are never able to relate with any of them properly.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Illusion's Game

Themes: Less is More

80. A Golden Age

Rosa Parks triggered the civil rights movement and proved you can be an activist by sitting down.”

Mary Catherine Bateson 1939 CE –

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

Muhammad Ali 1942 – 2016 CE
(Cassius Clay)

Themes: Less is More

36. The Small, Dark Light

“Commenting on Chuang Tzu’s story about the Marquis of Lu trying to help a seabird, Stephen Mitchell writes, 'The marquis…by acting out the Golden Rule, became the golden fool… Love your neighbor as yourself: leave him alone.'”

Stephen Mitchell 1943 CE –
from Second Book of Tao

63. Easy as Hard

“Poetry has the ability to point us toward the truth then stand aside, while prose stands in the doorway relating all the wonders on the other side but rarely lets us pass.”

Red Pine 1943 CE –
( Bill Porter)
Exceptional translator, cultural diplomat
from Lao-Tzu's Taoteching

“What's really important is not the big things other people have thought up, but the small things you, yourself have.... Or maybe the smaller the notion, the harder it is to grasp?”

Haruki Murakami 1949 CE – via Philip Gabriel, Shan Dao
from Sputnik Sweetheart

“health, social life, job, house, partners, finances; leisure use, leisure amount; working time, education, income, children; food, water, shelter, clothing, sex, health care; mobility; physical safety, social safety, job security, savings account, insurance, disability protection, family leave, vacation; place tenure, a commons; access to wilderness, mountains, ocean; peace, political stability, political input, political satisfaction; air, water, esteem; status, recognition; home, community, neighbors, civil society, sports, the arts; longevity treatments, gender choice; the opportunity to become more what you are — that's all you need”

Kim Stanley Robinson 1952 CE –
from 2312

“If we try to complicate our lives, developing clever plans and ambitions, we lose sight of the way in which small, insignificant things actually hold the key to what we seek.”

Yi-Ping Ong 1978 CE –
from Tao Te Ching - Introduction and Notes

Comments (0)

Please log in or create an account to comment.