Math is no more about equations than poetry is about spelling. Equations and spelling exist to convey an idea. Understand that idea.

Here’s a few of my favorite quotes on learning.

On Learning

  • “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” —Albert Einstein

  • “Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in language comprehensible to everyone.” —Albert Einstein

  • “Love is a better teacher than duty.” —Albert Einstein

  • “The only real valuable thing is intuition.” —Albert Einstein

  • “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” —Albert Einstein

  • “The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.” —Richard Hamming

  • “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.” —Richard Feynman

  • “When you understand something, then you can find the math to express that understanding. The math doesn't provide the understanding.” —Leslie Lamport

  • “To teach effectively a teacher must develop a feeling for his subject; he cannot make his students sense its vitality if he does not sense it himself. He cannot share his enthusiasm when he has no enthusiasm to share. How he makes his point may be as important as the point he makes; he must personally feel it to be important.” —George Póyla

  • “If you tell me, I will listen. If you show me, I will see. But if you let me experience, I will learn.” —Lao Tsu

  • “The point of rigour is not to destroy all intuition; instead, it should be used to destroy bad intuition while clarifying and elevating good intuition.” —Terry Tao

On Thinking and Problem Solving

  • “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” —Albert Einstein

  • “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.” —Matsuo Basho

  • “If I’d listened to customers, I’d have given them a faster horse.” —Henry Ford

  • “Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.” —Brian Kernighan

  • “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” —Socrates

  • “When you have satisfied yourself that the theorem is true, you start proving it.” —George Pólya

  • “My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” —Ernest Hemingway

On What We Truly Know

  • “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” —Socrates

  • “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” —Isaac Newton