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James Fallows's Quotes

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Born: 1949-08-02
Profession: Journalist
Nation: American
Biography of James Fallows

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When I was living in China, I learned to make things hyper-explicit because often they were being read by people whose command of English kept them from picking up what I thought were obvious signals.

Tags: Learned, Living, Thought

Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them.

Tags: Anger, Angry, Write

Contrary to what you might think, China's economy is relatively less efficient, and more polluting, than those of rich countries.

Tags: Less, Might, Rich

Environmental disaster is the gravest threat to China's continued development. That's according to me, but it is not some wacko view.

Tags: China, Disaster, View

Everyone moans about the collapsing U.S. infrastructure.

Tags: Collapsing, Everyone

For a decade or more after the Vietnam war, the people who had guided the U.S. to disaster decently shrank from the public stage.

Tags: After, Public, War

I am explicitly not opening the giant can of worms that is the ongoing current discussion of patent, copyright, and trademark reform.

Tags: Current, Discussion, Reform

I've learned that I need to spell out, even in cases seemingly so blatant, that in fact I am not taking this at face value and am being 'sarcastic.'

Tags: Face, Fact, Learned

In a time of transition for journalism all around the world, it's reassuring to know that some of the old ways endure.

Tags: Old, Time, Ways

Make the important interesting.

Tags: Human, Job, Success

There's no longer any surprise in noting that China has grave environmental problems.

Tags: Longer, Problems, Surprise

A basic rule of life for reporters is that you should spend your time talking with and learning about people who are not sending you press releases, rather than those who are.

Tags: Learning, Life, Time

As many people have chronicled, the decision to fight in Vietnam was a years-long accretion of step-by-step choices, each of which could be rationalized at the time. Invading Iraq was an unforced, unnecessary decision to risk everything on a 'war of choice' whose costs we are still paying.

Tags: Fight, Time, War

Chinese emissions are a problem not just for its own people but also for the world. It has now overtaken the U.S. as the biggest carbon emitter; most of the coal that is burned anywhere on Earth is burned in China.

Tags: Biggest, Earth, Problem

Everyone in the Chinese economic world knows that the country is not going to move out of cheap-workhouse status, toward the realm of 'real' rich-country corporate power and prosperity, unless (among other changes) it begins removing these price distortions.

Tags: Country, Power, Real

For the record, I am sticking with my claim that the simultaneous degradation of air quality, water quality, water supply, food safety, soil quality, and other environment-related variables is the main challenge to China's continued development.

Tags: Challenge, Food, Water

I am about as pro-Google a person as you're going to find in the media. I've had friends at all levels of the company since its founding, and still do now.

Tags: Company, Friends, Since

I have relentlessly beat the drum for Google's 'two-step' authentication systems for Gmail and other services, which radically reduce the likelihood that your account can be hacked from afar.

Tags: Beat, Google, Systems

I seem to be one of the few people in journalism who never worked or wrote for the 'Boston Phoenix.' I certainly read and admired it, and feel the same general malaise at news that it is gone.

Tags: Few, Gone, Read

No one ever really 'learns' from history, because choices never present themselves in exactly the same way, and because you can always choose similarities and differences to fit current needs.

Tags: History, Present, Themselves
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Over the eons I've been a fan of, and sucker for, each latest automated system to 'simplify' and 'bring order to' my life. Very early on this led me to the beautiful-and-doomed Lotus Agenda for my DOS computers, and Actioneer for the early Palm.

Tags: Computers, Life, Order

The air that people breathe in many Chinese cities has become dangerously polluted. Their food supply is subject to constant contamination scandals. Now it appears that not merely stagnant ponds but the water people draw from deep underground is already tainted.

Tags: Become, Deep, Food

The demise of Google Reader, if logical, is a reminder of how far we've come from the cuddly old 'I'm Feeling Lucky' Google days, in which there was a foreseeably-astonishing delight in the way Google's evolving design tricks anticipated what users would like.

Tags: Design, Feeling, Old

The hoary joke in the literary world, based on 'Dreams From My Father,' was that if things had worked out differently for Barack Obama, he could have made it as a writer.

Tags: Dreams, Father, Joke

When a company is charging money for a product - as Evernote does for all above its most basic service, and same for Dropbox and SugarSync - you understand its incentive for sticking with that product.

Tags: Money, Service, Understand

The very exercise of leadership fosters capacity for it.

Tags: Capacity, Exercise, Leadership

Leadership is particularly necessary to ensure ready acceptance of the unfamiliar and that which is contrary to tradition.

Tags: Acceptance, Leadership, Ready

So long as large armies go to battle, so long will the air arm remain their spearhead.

Tags: Battle, Large, Remain
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