The Book of Albert Einstein


(1879 – 1955)

There are only two ways of looking at life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle. 

The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the source of all true art and science…. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists is at the centre of true religiousness.

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.  This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. 


Strange is our situation on earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet somehow seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man (sic) is here for the sake of other men.

 Every kind of peaceful cooperation among ...[people] … is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police.

We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us. 

The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts. 

Every difficulty contains an opportunity.

The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them. 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.

If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research would it? 

The important thing is not to stop questioning. 

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. 

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives. 

The only real valuable thing is intuition. 

I have no special talent. I am only curious. 

It is not that I am so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer. 

I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right. 

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. 

When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract positive thinking. 

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. 

Knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way; wisdom is in looking both ways anyway.

Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.

Logic will get you from capital A to capital B. imagination will take you everywhere. 

The only source of knowledge is experience. 

A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new. 

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. 

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity. 

A man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. 

Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former. 

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. 

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
Sign on an automotive shop on Vancouver Island.

The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule. 

Strive not to be a success, but rather a value. 

We cannot despair of humanity since we ourselves are human beings. 

Anyone who doesn’t take the truth seriously in little things cannot be trusted in large ones either. 

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. 

Martin Luther King recognized this problem too when he said; our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. 

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. 

It was the experience of mystery – even if mixed with fear – that engendered religion. 

I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil.

Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish. 

That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

I shall never really believe that God plays dice with the world. 

But both Stephen Hawkins and Paulo Coelho, for quite different reasons I imagine, disagree with Einstein on this point. The latter writes:

The gods throw the dice, and they don’t care whether we want to be in the game or not. The gods don’t care if when you go, you leave behind a lover, a home, a career, or a dream. The gods don’t care whether you have it all, whether it seems that your every desire can be met through hard work and persistence. The gods don’t want to know about your plans or hopes. Somewhere they’re throwing the dice ~ and you are chosen. From then on winning and losing [whatever those words mean] is only a matter of luck.

Back to Einstein, who echoes what Edmund Burke said in the 18th Century, and also Martin Luther King Jnr, shortly before his death:

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about  it.