Mini-review: Ideas and Opinions

I picked up Ideas and Opinions off the shelf this morning scanning for a quote by Einstein, and so it reminded me to share with others the value of one of the greatest polymaths, as well as this collection by him. The publisher (Wings, 1954) states: “Ideas and Opinions represents an attempt to gather, so far as possible, in one volume the most important of Albert Einstein’s general writings.”

I have been an admirer of Einstein’s writing since a teenager, but those who are not familiar with his publications may be surprised at the breadth of his interests shared for wide consumption in common story telling format.

Following are just a few examples of uncommon quotes found in this wonderful collection of wisdom by Albert Einstein.

“Knowledge is dead; the school however serves the living. It should develop in the young individuals those qualities and capabilities which are of value for the welfare of the commonwealth.  But that does not mean that individuality should be destroyed and the individual become a mere tool for the community, like a bee or an ant.”

“If there is anything that can give a layman in the sphere of economics the courage to express an opinion on the nature of the alarming economic difficulties of the present day, it is the hopeless confusion of opinions by the experts.” (1934)

“Perhaps I am over-pessimistic regarding state and other forms of communal enterprise, but I expect little good from them. Bureaucracy is the death of any achievement.”

“The benefits that the inventive genius of man has conferred on us in the last hundred years could make life happy and carefree, if organization had been able to keep pace with technical progress….. in the hands of our generation these hard-won achievements are like a razor wielded by a child of three.”

“To act intelligently in human affairs is only possible if an attempt is made to understand the thoughts, motives, and apprehensions of one’s opponent so fully that one can see the world through his eyes.”

“If you want to find out anything from theoretical physicists about the methods they use, I advise you to stick closely to one principle;  don’t listen to their words, fix your attention on their deeds.”

All quotes above by Albert Einstein from the book Ideas and Opinions.

-MM

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4 Comments

  1. It is a very wonderful book, doesn’t compel you to finish it at one sitting, a book where you can open a random page when you have some time to while away. Reading the index itself makes you realise the book is worth it.

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