He [Vic Reeves] keeps a notebook by his bedside. ‘It’s for fresh ideas that have been fermenting at night’, he says. ‘I write them down and I go and make everyone’s breakfast.’

From a profile of Vic Reeves (1959 – ), British comedian, writer and artist, in The Times, December 2010

Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), English mathematician and philosopher.

Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.

Samuel Beckett (1906 – 1989), Irish avant-garde writer, dramatist, poet and winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature.

If you want to develop new ideas, get yourself at the heart of the action. Think of Athens in the fifth century BC, Vienna in the 19th century, or Silicon Valley since the 1950s: ideas breed ideas.

Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist, in The Financial Times, 30 October 2010

Reuf [David Ruef, a writer on innovation] discovered that the most creative individuals consistently had broad social networks that extended outside their organization and involved people from various fields of expertise.

Steven Johnson, science writer, entrepreneur and author of the book, Where Good Ideas Come From, writing in The Financial Times, 2010

… many enlightenment era thinkers kept what they called a “commonplace” book in which to transcribe favourite quotations and ideas. Some of the books were laboriously indexed to allow different concepts to bleed into each other.

Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist, in The Financial Times, 30 October 2010

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.