Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases!
Start by following Neal Stephenson.

Neal Stephenson Neal Stephenson > Quotes


Neal Stephenson quotes Showing 1-30 of 1,993

“See, the world is full of things more powerful than us. But if you know how to catch a ride, you can go places,”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.”
Neal Stephenson
“Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be—or to be indistinguishable from—self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”
Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
“The difference between stupid and intelligent people – and this is true whether or not they are well-educated – is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. ”
Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
“Ninety-nine percent of everything that goes on in most Christian churches has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual religion. Intelligent people all notice this sooner or later, and they conclude that the entire one hundred percent is bullshit, which is why atheism is connected with being intelligent in people's minds.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“She's a woman, you're a dude. You're not supposed to understand her. That's not what she's after.... She doesn't want you to understand her. She knows that's impossible. She just wants you to understand yourself. Everything else is negotiable.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“When you are wrestling for possession of a sword, the man with the handle always wins.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“To condense fact from the vapor of nuance.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“Our opponent is an alien starship packed with atomic bombs," I said. "We have a protractor.”
Neal Stephenson, Anathem
“Nell," the Constable continued, indicating through his tone of voice that the lesson was concluding, "the difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people—and this is true whether or not they are well-educated—is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations—in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.”
Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
“I just saved your fucking life, Mom. . . . You could at least offer me an Oreo.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“Show some fucking adaptability!”
Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
“Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.”
Neal Stephenson, Anathem
“It was, of course, nothing more than sexism, the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“Whenever serious and competent people need to get things done in the real world, all considerations of tradition and protocol fly out the window.”
Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver
“Like every other creature on the face of the earth, Godfrey was, by birthright, a stupendous badass, albeit in the somewhat narrow technical sense that he could trace his ancestry back up a long line of slightly less highly evolved stupendous badasses to that first self-replicating gizmo---which, given the number and variety of its descendants, might justifiably be described as the most stupendous badass of all time. Everyone and everything that wasn't a stupendous badass was dead.”
Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
“I don't even want you to nod, that's how much you annoy me. Just freeze and shut up.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“This is America. People do whatever the fuck they feel like doing, you got a problem with that? Because they have a right to. And because they have guns and no one can fucking stop them.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“Boredom is a mask frustration wears.”
Neal Stephenson, Anathem
“Ronald Reagan has a stack of three-by-five cards in his lap. He skids up a new one: "What advice do you, as the youngest American fighting man ever to win both the Navy Cross and the Silver Star, have for any young marines on their way to Guadalcanal?"

Shaftoe doesn't have to think very long. The memories are still as fresh as last night's eleventh nighmare: ten plucky Nips in Suicide Charge!

"Just kill the one with the sword first."

"Ah," Reagan says, raising his waxed and penciled eyebrows, and cocking his pompadour in Shaftoe's direction. "Smarrrt--you target them because they're the officers, right?"

"No, fuckhead!" Shaftoe yells. "You kill 'em because they've got fucking swords! You ever had anyone running at you waving a fucking sword?”
Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
“Did you win your sword fight?"
"Of course I won the fucking sword fight," Hiro says. "I'm the greatest sword fighter in the world."
"And you wrote the software."
"Yeah. That, too," Hiro says.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code.”
Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
“I always tend to assume there's an infinite amount of money out there."
There might as well be, "Arsibalt said, "but most of it gets spent on pornography, sugar water and bombs. There is only so much that can be scraped together for particle accelerators.”
Neal Stephenson, Anathem
“The full cosmos consists of the physical stuff and consciousness. Take away consciousness and it's only dust; add consciousness and you get things, ideas, and time.”
Neal Stephenson, Anathem
“Well, all information looks like noise until you break the code.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“Talent was not rare; the ability to survive having it was.”
Neal Stephenson, Quicksilver
“Let's set the existence-of-God issue aside for a later volume, and just stipulate that in some way, self-replicating organisms came into existence on this planet and immediately began trying to get rid of each other, either by spamming their environments with rough copies of themselves, or by more direct means which hardly need to be belabored. Most of them failed, and their genetic legacy was erased from the universe forever, but a few found some way to survive and to propagate.”
Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
“Most countries are static, all they need to do is keep having babies. But America's like this big old clanking smoking machine that just lumbers across the landscape scooping up and eating everything in sight.”
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
“He walked straight out of college into the waiting arms of the Navy.

They gave him an intelligence test. The first question on the math part had to do with boats on a river: Port Smith is 100 miles upstream of Port Jones. The river flows at 5 miles per hour. The boat goes through water at 10 miles per hour. How long does it take to go from Port Smith to Port Jones? How long to come back?

Lawrence immediately saw that it was a trick question. You would have to be some kind of idiot to make the facile assumption that the current would add or subtract 5 miles per hour to or from the speed of the boat. Clearly, 5 miles per hour was nothing more than the average speed. The current would be faster in the middle of the river and slower at the banks. More complicated variations could be expected at bends in the river. Basically it was a question of hydrodynamics, which could be tackled using certain well-known systems of differential equations. Lawrence dove into the problem, rapidly (or so he thought) covering both sides of ten sheets of paper with calculations. Along the way, he realized that one of his assumptions, in combination with the simplified Navier Stokes equations, had led him into an exploration of a particularly interesting family of partial differential equations. Before he knew it, he had proved a new theorem. If that didn't prove his intelligence, what would?

Then the time bell rang and the papers were collected. Lawrence managed to hang onto his scratch paper. He took it back to his dorm, typed it up, and mailed it to one of the more approachable math professors at Princeton, who promptly arranged for it to be published in a Parisian mathematics journal.

Lawrence received two free, freshly printed copies of the journal a few months later, in San Diego, California, during mail call on board a large ship called the U.S.S. Nevada. The ship had a band, and the Navy had given Lawrence the job of playing the glockenspiel in it, because their testing procedures had proven that he was not intelligent enough to do anything else.”
Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon
“This "sir, yes sir" business, which would probably sound like horseshit to any civilian in his right mind, makes sense to Shaftoe and to the officers in a deep and important way. Like a lot of others, Shaftoe had trouble with military etiquette at first. He soaked up quite a bit of it growing up in a military family, but living the life was a different matter. Having now experienced all the phases of military existence except for the terminal ones (violent death, court-martial, retirement), he has come to understand the culture for what it is: a system of etiquette within which it becomes possible for groups of men to live together for years, travel to the ends of the earth, and do all kinds of incredibly weird shit without killing each other or completely losing their minds in the process. The extreme formality with which he addresses these officers carries an important subtext: your problem, sir, is deciding what you want me to do, and my problem, sir, is doing it. My gung-ho posture says that once you give the order I'm not going to bother you with any of the details--and your half of the bargain is you had better stay on your side of the line, sir, and not bother me with any of the chickenshit politics that you have to deal with for a living. The implied responsibility placed upon the officer's shoulders by the subordinate's unhesitating willingness to follow orders is a withering burden to any officer with half a brain, and Shaftoe has more than once seen seasoned noncoms reduce green lieutenants to quivering blobs simply by standing before them and agreeing, cheerfully, to carry out their orders.”
Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 66 67

All Quotes | Add A Quote

Snow Crash Snow Crash
242,496 ratings
Open Preview
Cryptonomicon Cryptonomicon
101,303 ratings
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer The Diamond Age
86,201 ratings
Open Preview
Seveneves Seveneves
99,446 ratings
Open Preview