The Last Word

An eclectic collection that made us pause for thought.

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I don’t go to orgies, because when you leave you don’t know who to thank.

— Barry Cryer

The law is human and flawed. Just like newspapers or medicine or the internet, it embodies all that is brilliant and awful about humankind.

— Ian McEwan

We are mired in a malaise, from which we are not likely to emerge any time soon.

— Joseph Stiglitz, in a review of Martin Wolf’s book The Shifts & The Shocks

A resonant rhyme is like a first kiss. We all know what osculation is but, by God, it’s different when your own lips are involved.

— Jeremy Paxman on poetry, FT Magazine

A joke is perhaps the final and most beautiful affirmation of what it is to be fully human.

— Richard Flanagan 2014 Man Booker Prize winner, in a Guardian webchat

The failure of the US’s foreign adventures often seems to have its roots in their total ignorance of things on the ground, of the countries they fiddle with.

— Peter Carey, Guardian interview

Because we’re the only private company in he world sending people to space, the next few months are obviously something that has a halo effect on every Virgin company.

— Sir Richard Branson, Interview with the FT published the day after the Virgin space craft crashed killing one of the pilots.

On Jeff Koons:
He shows what happens when money and celebrity become yardsticks for culture. It is not a pretty sight.

— Jackie Wullschlager, FT art critic

My life has been one long descent into respectability.

— Mandy Rice-Davies (1944-2014)

I attribute my long and continuing life to my prudent avoidance of cricket and all other forms of sport.

— Barry Humphries, FT 20.12.14

I always thought old age would take longer.

— Anon, Found by Barry Humphries in Mexico

If I weren’t scared, I’d be awfully dangerous!

— Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Finance Minister, Guardian interview with Helena Smith

As ever, power is exercised by those who want power. And anyone who wants power definitely ought to be denied it.

— Jeremy Paxman (writing in FT)

As a coach, you are only a dancing bear for the stars.

— Udo Lattek, With thanks to Just Football’s Robert Clucas Tomlinson

A divorce is like an amputation, you survive but there is less of you.

— Margaret Atwood, Surfacing

I’m part of the art world.. but there are certain standardising forces in the art market inimical to creativity.

— Charles Avery, Interview in FT

Having a free press doesn’t mean anyone cares.

— Nell Zink, ‘The Wallcreeper’

Definition of Pop Art:
Nostalgia for Now.

— Pauline Boty

The biggest handicap that conservation faces is that we humans still consider ourselves to be separate from the rest of life, and the rest of life is merely there to support us. It is infantile arrogance.

— Chris Packham, Guardian interview

“Why are you still working in your 70s?”
“We need the money to pay for my wifestyle!”

I’m a poor person who has money.

— Jonathan Franzen, FT interview

I always ask a man with a beard, when you eat Shredded Wheat, how do you know when you’ve finished?

— Ken Dodd

Definition – Washington DC
A city where men wear suits three sizes too large for them and dinners always start too early.

— Gerard Araud, French Ambassador to USA, FT interview

Handshake contracts are valid. The Anglo-Saxon system is not the same as the system here in Central Europe.

— Sepp Blatter, suspended president of Fifa., FT interview

The average expert is about as accurate as a dart-throwing chimpanzee.

— Tim Harford (an intelligent economist who writes for the FT)

Anyone found here at night will be found here in the morning.

— Notice in Texas

Infrastructures of power always inhabit the surface of the earth or the skies above the earth…. They are material things even though the metaphors used to describe them are often immaterial and wildly misleading. The Cloud is buildings with servers in them.

— Trevor Paglen, FT magazine Jan 2, 2016

No man is an island, unless he is large and buoyant.

— Elon Musk

Great writers are the saints for the godless.

— Anita Brookner, who died on 10th March 2016

Price is what you pay, value is what you get.

— Warren Buffett

Definition of Contract Negotiation:
It’s trying to persuade someone else that they want what you want.

— Sarah Dixon, aged 14

I esteem the observations of great men more than I do their conclusions. Minds possessed of genius observe with exactitude and assurance; indeed when they outline the pros and cons of a matter for us, we are able to draw conclusions for ourselves.

— C.P.Cavafy

A criminal is a person with predatory instincts; but without sufficient capital to form a corporation.

— Clarence Seward Darrow

The first half of our lives are ruined by our parents and the second half by our children.

— Clarence Seward Darrow

Think you are too small to make a difference? Try sleeping with a mosquito.

— The Dalai Lama

There are few squeals so shrill as those of society’s winners defending their advantages.

— Robert Shrimsley in the FT

The best fertiliser is the shadow of the gardener.

— Chinese proverb

Definition of Venture Capital:
“The final redoubt of individuals with discipline and ambition but no actual talent.”

— Antonio Garcia Martinez in his book ‘Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine.’

A sane man doesn’t give his money to the poor – a sane man takes money from the poor.

— W. Somerset Maugham, from his play, Sheppey

“Did you sleep with him?”
“Not a wink.”

— Thanks to Philip Browning, letter in The Guardian

From shopping in a store to running a corporation, contracts and agreements matter everywhere.

— Oliver Hart, 2016 Nobel Prize winner for Economics

She was famous for being the first person to be famous for being famous.

— Wendy Holden on Tara Palmer-Tomkinson who died aged 45 in February 2017

One of the dark lessons of (political) leadership is that in their beginnings lie the seeds of their end.

— Steve Richards, The Guardian

Safety under any circumstances is an illusion.

— Leonora Carrington, From her biography by Joanna Moorhead

We should silence anyone who opposes the right to freedom of speech.

— Sir Boyle Roche, Irish politician who died in 1807

Never patronise a child.

— Michele Ferrero, chocolate maker, 1925 to 2015.
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