The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.

Edward John Phelps (1822 – 1900), American lawyer and diplomat

Discovering a major new advance in knowledge is like searching for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer’s daughter.

Edmond H Fischer, (1920 – ), Swiss-American biochemist and Nobel Laureate, reflecting that most true advances in science arise by serendipity from pure research.

Show me a novel that’s not comic and I’ll show you a novel that’s not doing its job.

Howard Jacobson (1942 – ), winner this week of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, with “The Finkler Question”, arguably the first comic novel to win the Booker.

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible) but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.

Niccolo Mahiavelli (1469 – 1527), Italian philosopher and author of The Prince, from which this quotation comes.

Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Scott Adams (1957 – ), American cartoonist, creator of the Dilbert comic strip and author of The Dilbert Principle