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Isaac Asimov on the book cover
Isaac Asimov quotes
27 September 2017


A few months ago I read an interview with the prolific and famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov who passed away in 1992. I liked his answers in that interview, so I did a little research about him and decided to read his third autobiography - I.Asimov, A Memoir (published in 1995 by Bantam Books). I just finished reading it and found most of it interesting. The autobiography is honest, surprisingly immersive, and quite funny at times. My mood often improved while reading this book because the writing is frank, insightful, and lively. The book touches on many different topics, including: personal peculiarities, early days of SF magazines, prolific writing, avoiding writers block, censorship, religion, politics, well known SF writers and editors, and much more. Here are some quotes from the autobiography:

I just work on the principle that of all the virtues gratitude (next to honesty) is the greatest, and that has helped me on numerous occasions in my life.

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It's much easier to find reasons to consider oneself superior than inferior. But one is just the mirror image of the other.

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I never found true peace till I turned my whole working life into self- employment. I was not made to be an employee.

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The truly important parts of life develop slowly with experience.

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Now, when I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.

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After all, one meets so many phonies in the world, so many sleazeballs, so many people who lie and twist and whose word cannot be trusted, that one sometimes gets the sick feeling that life is a garbage pit in which people are rotting banana peels. Yet one honest man refreshes the air fouled by a thousand devious rascals.

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When I have felt depressed and unhappy, the only anodyne I had (since I have never smoked, drunk, or drugged) was to write. It was only writing that dulled my anxiety.

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Continued success at anything tends to breed arrogance, if you are not careful.

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Of course, the reader might argue that I was as stubborn in my viewpoint as they were in theirs. Yes, indeed, but I was right and they were wrong and that made the difference.

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How does one become a prolific writer? The very first requirement is that a person have passion for the process of writing. I mean he must have a passion for what goes on between the thinking of a book and its completion.

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Being a prolific writer has its disadvantages, of course. It complicates the writer's social and family life, for a prolific writer has to be self-absorbed. He must be. He has to be either writing or thinking about writing virtually all the time, and has no time for anything else.

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It's easy to believe that no one should depend on society for help when you yourself happen not to need such help.

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As it happens, the vicissitudes of time have greatly increased the literary standards of my particular medium and I am very well aware (as I frequently say) that if I were starting today as a teenager, with only the evident talent that I actually had as a teenager, I could not possibly break into the field. It is so important to be in the right place at the right time.

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