Cormac McCarthy prefers hanging out with "smart people" outside his field, like professional poker players and the thinkers at the Santa Fe Institute.
They're just really bright guys who do really difficult work solving difficult problems, who say, "It's really more important to be good than it is to be smart."
Don't just not be evil. Be good.
Only with hindsight can one look back and see that the smartest course may not have been the right one.
I hear people talking about going on a vacation or something and I think, what is that about?
The absolute luxury of really reading ... the sheer inefficiency of it ... is, to me at least, the very definition of leisure.
It's really risky to work hard, because then if you fail you can no longer say that you failed because you didn't work hard. It's a form of self-protection.
We are most human when we feel dull. Lolling around in a state of restlessness is one of life's greatest luxuries.
Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.
One of the big take-aways from Iraq was that you have to not lose confidence in what you are doing. We were able to go to the edge of the abyss without losing hope.
Five years is what any project worth doing will take. From moment of inception to the last good-riddance, a book, a campaign, a new job, a start-up will take 5 years to play through. So, how many 5 years do you have left? This clarifies your choices. What will they be?
If anybody's telling me what I should do, then you've got to really convince me that it's worth doing.
Life is too short to spend 2300 hours a year working on someone else's idea of what the right problems are.
What does a man need -- really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in -- and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all -- in the material sense.
Cormac McCarthy, from Blood Meridian:
At dusk they halted and built a fire and roasted the deer. The night was much enclosed about them and there were no stars. To the north they could see other fires that burned red and sullen along the invisible ridges. They ate and moved on, leaving the fire on the ground behind them, and as they rode up into the mountains this fire seemed to become altered of its location, now here, now there, drawing away, or shifting unaccountably along the flank of their movement. Like some ignis fatuus belated upon the road behind them which all could see and of which none spoke. For this will to deceive that is in things luminous may manifest itself likewise in retrospect and so by sleight of some fixed part of a journey already accomplished may also post men to fraudulent destinies.
Hollywood's Favorite Cowboy