Quotations about   detail

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The whole truth would be an infinite concatenation of mostly irrelevant facts, with an occasional dose of, in textspeak, “TMI,” too much information — when, for example, you ruin the case you were making against factory farming by going into such detail about how painful de-beaking is for chickens that your listener shuts you out and struggles to think about something else. So we do not tell the whole truth; we tell carefully crafted stories, and we do this even when our moral purpose is to tell the truth.

Justin E. H. Smith (b. 1972) American-Canadian professor of history and philosophy of science
Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason, ch. 8 (2019)
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Added on 25-Jun-21 | Last updated 25-Jun-21
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History gets thicker as it approaches recent times: more people, more events, and more books written about them. More evidence is preserved, often, one is tempted to say, too much. Decay and destruction have hardly begun their beneficent work.

A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) British historian, journalist, broadcaster [Alan John Percivale Taylor]
English History 1914-1945, “Revised Bibliography” (1965)
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Added on 26-Apr-21 | Last updated 26-Apr-21
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I attended to some of the business on my table to-day. Many matters of minor importance and of detail remain on my table to be attended to. The public have no idea of the constant accumulation of business requiring the President’s attention. No President who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure. If he entrusts the details and smaller matters to subordinates constant errors will occur. I prefer to supervise the whole operations of the government myself rather than entrust the public business to subordinates, and this makes my duties very great.

James K. Polk (1795-1849) American lawyer, politician, US President (1845-1849)
Diary entry (29 Dec 1848)
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Added on 4-Nov-20 | Last updated 4-Nov-20
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A technical objection is the first refuge of a scoundrel.

Heywood Broun (1888-1939) American journalist, author
“‘Jam-Tomorrow’ Progressives,” The New Republic (15 Dec 1937)
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See Johnson.
 
Added on 17-May-17 | Last updated 17-May-17
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The more finished the character, the more striking is its individuality.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Trust Yourself,” Sermon 90 (1830)
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Sermon on Matthew 16:26.
 
Added on 17-Feb-16 | Last updated 22-Feb-22
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Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.

Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) American law officer, gambler, saloon keeper
(Attributed)
 
Added on 12-Mar-14 | Last updated 12-Mar-14
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We cannot define anything precisely! If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers who sit opposite each other, one saying to the other, “You don’t know what you are talking about!”. The second one says, “What do you mean by know? What do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you?” and so on.

Richard Feynman (1918-1988) American physicist
The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Volume I, 8-2 “Motion” (20 Oct 1961)
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Added on 25-Mar-08 | Last updated 10-Jan-20
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It is only a step from victory to disaster. My experience is that, in a crisis, some detail always decides the issue.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor, military leader
Letter to Tallyrand (7 Oct 1797)
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Napoleon's Letters [tr. J. M. Thompson (1934)]
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Apr-20
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