TOP 10 Quotes from Isaac Asimov – Thursday’s Top Ten List

Created by Matthew J. Goldberg,

Happy New Year.

I will kick off the first Top 10 List of 2013 with one of my favorite themes: ten memorable quotes from someone who is (or did) celebrate a birthday today or in the coming days. In this case, our honoree is the amazingly brilliant and prolific (mostly) sci-fi writer, Isaac Asimov, born Isaak Yudovick Ozimov in Petrovichi, Russia. At this time of looking ahead, it may be slightly inappropriate to look at a birthday from yesterday; Asimov lived from January 2, 1920 to April 6, 1992.

Then again, one of the most prominent birthdays of today is none other than that bigoted loudmouth Mel Gibson. So, returning to yesterday may be the best way to approach this, especially as anything related to Asimov is, to borrow a movie title, a step or two back to the future.

Per a write-up on, Asimov penned nearly 500 books. The ultimate lifelong learner and teacher, he certainly started early. From the piece:

Judah [his father, Judah, Ozimov] owned a series of candy shops and called upon his son to work in the stores as a youngster. Isaac Asimov was fond of learning at a young age, having taught himself to read by the age of 5; he learned Yiddish soon after, and graduated from high school at 15 to enter Columbia University. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1939 and went on to get his M.A. and Ph.D. from the same institution.

Although he was a professor and academic, his great pleasure, gift and obsession was writing for general audiences. Below are some of the quotes that display much of his mental agility and absolute devotion to his calling.


It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.


It is not only the living who are killed in war.


The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.


Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know – and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance.


Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.


If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.


Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.


People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.


Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.


From my close observation of writers… they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.

On that secretly visible note, this concludes my list of the Top 10 Jewish Athletes of 2012. As always, feel free to share and to comment below. If you have a suggestion for any future lists, please also comment below or send me an email.

Matthew J. (call him Matt) Goldberg will be presenting a Jewish-style Top Ten list every Thursday on this site. For information about Matt’s books, sports columns, speaking events and requests for appearances and custom writing, please visit, or contact him via email. His new Facebook Fan Page (“to like, to like, l’chayim”) can be found here.

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Matthew J. Goldberg About the Author: An author, speaker and custom writer from Cherry Hill, NJ, Matt loves to entertain people through his writing and public speaking. Laughs, Smiles and just enough Wisdom reach his audience through the magic of his written and spoken words. More about Matthew

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