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Talent
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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

Talent does what it can.
Genius does what it must.
You do what you get paid to do.
Brief History Of Linux (#20)
Linux is born

Linus' superhuman programming talent produced, within a year, a full
operating system that rivaled Minix. The first official announcement on
comp.os.minix came October 5th, in which Linus wrote these famous words:

   Do you pine for the nice days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote
   their own device drivers? Do you want to cut your teeth on an operating
   system that will achieve world domination within 15 years? Want to get
   rich quick by the end of the century by taking money from hordes of
   venture capitalists and clueless Wall Street suits? Need to get even
   with Bill Gates but don't know what to do except throw cream pies at
   him? Then this post might just be for you :-)

Linux (which was known as "Lindows", "Freax", and "Billsux" for short
periods in 1991) hit the bigtime on January 5, 1992 (exactly one year
after Linus wasn't hit by a bus) when version 0.12 was released under the
GNU GPL. Linus called his creation a "better Minix than Minix"; the famous
Linus vs. Tanenbaum flamewar erupted soon thereafter on January 29th and
injured several Usenet bystanders.
        A musician of more ambition than talent composed an elegy at
the death of composer Edward MacDowell.  She played the elegy for the
pianist Josef Hoffman, then asked his opinion.  "Well, it's quite
nice," he replied, but don't you think it would be better if..."
        "If what?" asked the composer.
        "If ... if you had died and MacDowell had written the elegy?"
Ed Sullivan will be around as long as someone else has talent.
                -- Fred Allen
I played lead guitar in a band called The Federal Duck, which is the kind
of name that was popular in the '60s as a result of controlled substances
being in widespread use.  Back then, there were no restrictions, in terms
of talent, on who could make an album, so we made one, and it sounds like
a group of people who have been given powerful but unfamiliar instruments
as a therapy for a degenerative nerve disease.
                -- Dave Barry, "The Snake"
It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing,
but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
                -- Robert Benchley
Oprah Winfrey has an incredible talent for getting the weirdest people to
talk to.  And you just HAVE to watch it.  "Blind, masochistic minority,
crippled, depressed, government latrine diggers, and the women who love
them too much on the next Oprah Winfrey."
The Worst Musical Trio
        There are few bad musicians who have a chance to give a recital at
a famous concert hall while still learning the rudiments of their
instrument.  This happened about thirty years ago to the son of a Rumanian
gentleman who was owed a personal favour by Georges Enesco, the celebrated
violinist.  Enesco agreed to give lessons to the son who was quite
unhampered by great musical talent.
        Three years later the boy's father insisted that he give a public
concert.  "His aunt said that nobody plays the violin better than he does.
A cousin heard him the other day and screamed with enthusiasm."  Although
Enesco feared the consequences, he arranged a recital at the Salle Gaveau
in Paris.  However, nobody bought a ticket since the soloist was unknown.
        "Then you must accompany him on the piano," said the boy's father,
"and it will be a sell out."
        Reluctantly, Enesco agreed and it was.  On the night an excited
audience gathered.  Before the concert began Enesco became nervous and
asked for someone to turn his pages.
        In the audience was Alfred Cortot, the brilliant pianist, who
volunteered and made his way to the stage.
        The soloist was of uniformly low standard and next morning the
music critic of Le Figaro wrote: "There was a strange concert at the Salle
Gaveau last night.  The man whom we adore when he plays the violin played
the piano.  Another whom we adore when he plays the piano turned the pages.
But the man who should have turned the pages played the violin."
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
   On Krat's main screen appeared the holo image of a man, and several dolphins.
From the man's shape, Krat could tell it was a female, probably their leader.
   "...stupid creatures unworthy of the name `sophonts.'  Foolish, pre-sentient
upspring of errant masters.  We slip away from all your armed might, laughing
at your clumsiness!  We slip away as we always will, you pathetic creatures.
And now that we have a real head start, you'll never catch us!  What better
proof that the Progenitors favor not you, but us!  What better proof..."
   The taunt went on.  Krat listened, enraged, yet at the same time savoring
the artistry of it.  These men are better than I'd thought.  Their insults
are wordy and overblown, but they have talent.  They deserve honorable, slow
deaths.
- David Brin, Startide Rising
In his book, Mr. DePree tells the story of how designer George Nelson urged
that the company also take on Charles Eames in the late 1940s.  Max's father,
J. DePree, co-founder of the company with herman Miller in 1923, asked Mr.
Nelson if he really wanted to share the limited opportunities of a then-small
company with another designer.  "George's response was something like this:
'Charles Eames is an unusual talent.  He is very different from me.  The
company needs us both.  I want very much to have Charles Eames share in
whatever potential there is.'"
-- Max DePree, chairman and CEO of Herman Miller Inc., "Herman Miller's
   Secrets of Corporate Creativity", The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 1988
"(The Chief Programmer) personally defines the functional and performance
specifications, designs the program, codes it, tests it, and writes its
documentation... He needs great talent, ten years experience and
considerable systems and applications knowledge, whether in applied
mathematics, business data handling, or whatever."
-- Fred P. Brooks, _The Mythical Man Month_
If a team is in a positive frame of mind, it will have a good attitude.
If it has a good attitude, it will make a commitment to playing the
game right.  If it plays the game right, it will win -- unless, of
course, it doesn't have enough talent to win, and no manager can make
goose-liver pate out of goose feathers, so why worry?
                -- Sparky Anderson
The University of California Bears announced the signing of Reggie
Philbin to a letter of intent to attend Cal next Fall.  Philbin is said
to make up for no talent by cheating well.  Says Philbin of his decision
to attend Cal, "I'm in it for the free ride."
There's a couple of million dollars worth of baseball talent on the loose,
ready for the big leagues, yet unsigned by any major league.  There are
pitchers who would win 20 games a season ... and outfielders [who] could
hit .350, infielders who could win recognition as stars, and there's at
least one catcher who at this writing is probably superior to Bill Dickey,
Josh Gibson.  Only one thing is keeping them out of the big leagues, the
pigmentation of their skin.  They happen to be colored.
                -- Shirley Povich, 1941
Bower's Law:
        Talent goes where the action is.
Mencken and Nathan's Sixteenth Law of The Average American:
        Milking a cow is an operation demanding a special talent that
        is possessed only by yokels, and no person born in a large city can
        never hope to acquire it.
QOTD:
        Talent does what it can, genius what it must.
        I do what I get paid to do.
Genius is the talent of a person who is dead.
Having no talent is no longer enough.
                -- Gore Vidal
If a man has talent and cannot use it, he has failed.
                -- Thomas Wolfe
Vila: "I think I have just made the biggest mistake of my life."

Orac: "It is unlikely.  I would predict there are far greater mistakes
      waiting to be made by someone with your obvious talent for it."
Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.
                -- Maya Angelou, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"
It's not enough to be Hungarian; you must have talent too.
                -- Alexander Korda
The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest
about it.
                -- James Agate, British film and drama critic
        The wise programmer is told about the Tao and follows it.  The average
programmer is told about the Tao and searches for it.  The foolish programmer
is told about the Tao and laughs at it.  If it were not for laughter, there
would be no Tao.
        The highest sounds are the hardest to hear.  Going forward is a way to
retreat.  Greater talent shows itself late in life.  Even a perfect program
still has bugs.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
You have literary talent that you should take pains to develop.
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
©TU Chemnitz, 2006-2020
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