1. 10

    Wooden-headedness, the source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government. It consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts.

    26
  2. 9

    Policy is formed by preconceptions, by long implanted biases. When information is relayed to policy-makers, they respond in terms of what is already inside their heads and consequently make policy less to fit the facts than to fit the notions and intentions formed out of the mental baggage that has accumulated in their minds since childhood.

    26
  3. 8

    Strong prejudices in an ill-formed mind are hazardous to government, and when combined with a position of power even more so.

    26
  4. 7

    More than a code of manners in war and love, Chivalry was a moral system, governing the whole of noble life.

    33
  5. 6

    To put on the garment of legitimacy is the first aim of every coup.

    33
  6. 5

    Books are humanity in print.

    35
  7. 4

    The nastiness of women [in the 14th century] was generally perceived at the close of life when a man began to worry about hell, and his sexual desire in any case fading.

    49
  8. 3

    Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.

    56
  9. 2

    The open frontier, the hardships of homesteading from scratch, the wealth of natural resources, the whole vast challenge of a continent waiting to be exploited, combined to produce a prevailing materialism and an American drive bent as much, if not more, on money, property, and power than was true of the Old World from which we had fled.

    60
  10. 1

    War is the unfolding of miscalculations.

    82
  11. Last Update: 1 October 2022

View the rest 125 Barbara Tuchman sayings