24 Inspirational Paul Graham Quotes on Success

Birth: November 13, 1964, Weymouth, United Kingdom


Short Biography


Paul Graham, British programmer, trial writer, and venture capital investor. Graham, especially known for his work on Lisp and writing essays, is an entrepreneur who founded technology companies and also a venture capital investor who invests in technology companies.


Quotes by Paul Graham


“Likewise, in any social hierarchy, people unsure of their own position will try to emphasize it by maltreating those they think rank below. I’ve read that this is why poor whites in the United States are the group most hostile to blacks.” /Paul Graham
“The same recipe that makes individuals rich makes countries powerful. Let the nerds keep their lunch money, and you rule the world.” /Paul Graham
“If Apple were to grow the iPod into a cell phone with a web browser, Microsoft would be in big trouble.” /Paul Graham
“If you have to choose between two theories, prefer the one that doesn't center on you.” /Paul Graham
“A startup is like a mosquito. A bear can absorb a hit and a crab is armored against one, but a mosquito is designed for one thing : to score. No energy is wasted on defense. The defense of mosquitoes, as a species, is that there are a lot of them, but this is little consolation to the individual mosquito.” /Paul Graham
“You need rich people in your society not so much because in spending their money they create jobs, but because of what they have to do to get rich. I'm not talking about the trickle-down effect here. I'm not saying that if you let Henry Ford get rich, he'll hire you as a waiter at his next party. I'm saying that he'll make you a tractor to replace your horse.” /Paul Graham
“Don't ignore your dreams; don't work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy.” /Paul Graham
“Here, as so often, the best defense is a good offense. If you can develop technology that’s simply too hard for competitors to duplicate, you don’t need to rely on other defenses. Start by picking a hard problem, and then at every decision point, take the harder choice.” /Paul Graham
“If you disagree with something, it's easier to say 'you suck' than to figure out and explain exactly what you disagree with. You're also safe that way from refutation. In this respect trolling is a lot like graffiti. Graffiti happens at the intersection of ambition and incompetence: people want to make their mark on the world, but have no other way to do it than literally making a mark on the world.” /Paul Graham
“In business, there is nothing more valuable than a technical advantage your competitors don’t understand. In business, as in war, surprise is worth as much as force.” /Paul Graham
“We need a language that lets us scribble and smudge and smear, not a language where you have to sit with a teacup of types balanced on your knee and make polite conversation with a strict old aunt of a compiler.” /Paul Graham
“The most important thing is not to let fundraising get you down. Startups live or die on morale. If you let the difficulty of raising money destroy your morale, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” /Paul Graham
“Someone trying to live well would seem eccentrically abstemious in most of the US. That phenomenon is only going to become more pronounced. You can probably take it as a rule of thumb from now on that if people don't think you're weird, you're living badly.” /Paul Graham
“There is all the more reason for startups to write Web-based software now, because writing desktop software has become a lot less fun. If you want to write desktop software now you do it on Microsoft's terms, calling their APIs and working around their buggy OS. And if you manage to write something that takes off, you may find that you were merely doing market research for Microsoft.” /Paul Graham
“Let's start with a test: Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers? If the answer is no, you might want to stop and think about that. If everything you believe is something you're supposed to believe, could that possibly be a coincidence? Odds are it isn't. Odds are you just think whatever you're told.” /Paul Graham
“At every period of history, people have believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you risked ostracism or even violence by saying otherwise. If our own time were any different, that would be remarkable. As far as I can tell it isn't.” /Paul Graham
“Dressing up is inevitably a substitute for good ideas. It is no coincidence that technically inept business types are known as "suits.” /Paul Graham
“Across industries and countries, there’s a strong inverse correlation between performance and job security. Actors and directors are fired at the end of each film, so they have to deliver every time. Junior professors are fired by default after a few years unless the university chooses to grant them tenure. Professional athletes know they’ll be pulled if they play badly for just a couple games. At the other end of the scale (at least in the US) are auto workers, New York City schoolteachers, and civil servants, who are all nearly impossible to fire. The trend is so clear that you’d have to be willfully blind not to see it.” /Paul Graham
“People who do good work often think that whatever they’re working on is no good. Others see what they’ve done and think it’s wonderful, but the creator sees nothing but flaws. This pattern is no coincidence: worry made the work good.” /Paul Graham
“Being strong-willed is not enough, however. You also have to be hard on yourself. Someone who was strong-willed but self-indulgent would not be called determined. Determination implies your willfulness is balanced by discipline.” /Paul Graham

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