If by some fiat I had to restrict all this writing to one sentence, this is the one I would choose: The summit of Mt. Everest is marine limestone.

— John McPhee

The most special John McPhee quotes you will be delighted to read

With their four-dimensional minds, and in their interdisciplinary ultra verbal way, geologists can wiggle out of almost anything.


Rocks are records of events that took place at the time they formed.

They are books. They have a different vocabulary, a different alphabet, but you learn how to read them.


The doctor listens in with a stethoscope and hears sounds of a warpath Indian drum.


A writer has to have some kind of compulsive drive to do his work.

If you don't have it, you'd better find another kind of work, because it's the only compulsion that will drive you through the psychological nightmares of writing.


Travel by canoe is not a necessity, and will nevermore be the most efficient way to get from one region to another, or even from one lake to another anywhere. A canoe trip has become simply a rite of oneness with certain terrain, a diversion off the field, an art performed not because it is a necessity but because there is value in the art itself.


If you free yourself from the conventional reaction to a quantity like a million years, you free yourself a bit from the boundaries of human time. And then in a way you do not live at all, but in another way you live forever.


Taking things from one source is plagiarism; taking things from several sources is research.


Writing is a suspension of life in order to re-create life


The enthusiasm geologists show for adding new words to their conversation is, if anything, exceeded by their affection for the old. They are not about to drop 'granite.' They say 'granodiorite' when they are in church and 'granite' the rest of the week.


I used to sit in class and listen to the terms come floating down the room like paper airplanes.


The summit of Mount Everest is marine limestone.


Catch and release fishing may be cruelty masquerading as political correctness


About John McPhee

Quotes 20 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Writer
Birthday October 16

Nonfiction-wha t the hell, that just says, this is nongrapefruit we're having this morning.


He liked to go from A to B without inventing letters between.


I can't stand a sentence until it sounds right.


On a certain scale, it does look like I do a lot.

But that’s my day, all day long, sitting there wondering when I’m going to be able to get started. And the routine of doing this six days a week puts a little drop in a bucket each day, and that’s the key. Because if you put a drop in a bucket every day, after three hundred and sixty-five days, the bucket’s going to have some water in it.


He (Dave Brower) is an emotionalist in an age of dangerous reason.


Almost all Americans would recognize Anchorage, because Anchorage is that part of any city where the city has burst its seams and extruded Colonel Sanders.


In making war with nature, there was risk of loss in winning.

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