Top litigator's lessons over cocktails

David Boies is one of the top trial lawyers in the U.S. His cases include Bush v. Gore and United States v. Microsoft.

Lessons in persuasion from a fine article Cocktails with David Boies

"What I have to do is change people's minds. You very rarely change people's minds yelling at them...To change people's minds, you have to talk to them."
"I will outwork the other side every time."
"The other thing is patience. I'm very patient. I will wait for the right opportunity. I don't try to make things happen or feel frustrated or impatient. Part of it is patience to develop your story in a way that maybe is not the most dramatic story in the beginning, but yours build over time."
Interviewer, Katrina Dewey: "You also have the confidence to extract that one thing about a case, which may seem odd or underplayed to a lawyer who wants to say there are 53 important things."
"If you understand your job is to be the one that the 12 jurors follow, then you can win your case."

Getting to the essence: Stephen Wolfram, designer of Mathematica

Stephen Wolfram, physicist and designer of Mathematica:

"One starts with lots of sophisticated functionality and ideas. And then one begins grinding it down. And one goes on and on grinding until -- aha, this is all just such and such! And one's ended up with something incredibly simple and obvious.

I guess every function in Mathematica is in a sense like a disembodied idea. It's the result of one of these processes of taking lots of pieces of functionality and gradually grinding them down to see the simplest, most general thing than can represent them."

Writing cleans your mind

Paul Graham.says writing is thinking, and that writing forces you to think better. He wrote, “Just as inviting people over forces you to clean up your apartment, writing something that other people will read forces you to think well.”

Simplicity's 2,000 year-old history

"[M]ost of what we say and do is not essential. Eliminate it, you’ll have more time and more tranquility."

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, who lived from 121 AD to 180 AD

Bad writing: what is guff?

"Guff: A mass of largely irrelevant information, quantity substituting for quality -- really disinformation."

Richard Oldfield, Investor

Einstein on brevity

Instructions to Einstein from patent boss: explain very briefly, if possible in a single sentence, why the device will work or why it won't.

Meeting with Elon Musk

"Savvy engineers knew better than to go into a meeting and deliver bad news without some sort of alternative plan at the ready."

From the excellent book, Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future." Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk on compromise

"Musk, though, approaches everything from a Platonic perspective. As he sees it, all of the design and technology choices should be directed toward the goal of making a car as close to perfect as possible.

...It's almost a binary experience for him. Either you're trying to make something spectacular with no compromises or you're not. And if you're not, Musk considers you a failure." [emphasis added].

From the excellent book, Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future." Ashlee Vance