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Happy Birthday, Dr. Johnson

Summary:
Google today highlights the birthday of Sam Johnson, the famous British intellectual in the 18th century. He is thought of as the father of the modern dictionary. I discovered him when I was in 10th grade and was hanging around our sparsely populated school library in rural Manitoba. Fortunately, it had Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. I worked my way through it and wrote down some of my favorites. I found myself writing down a disproportionately high number from Johnson. Here are the ones I remember off the top of my head: "Worth seeing? Yes. But not worth going to see."I use this quote when I teach sunk cost. "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can

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Google today highlights the birthday of Sam Johnson, the famous British intellectual in the 18th century. He is thought of as the father of the modern dictionary.

I discovered him when I was in 10th grade and was hanging around our sparsely populated school library in rural Manitoba. Fortunately, it had Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. I worked my way through it and wrote down some of my favorites. I found myself writing down a disproportionately high number from Johnson. Here are the ones I remember off the top of my head:

"Worth seeing? Yes. But not worth going to see."
I use this quote when I teach sunk cost.

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."

"But if he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons."

Gentle reader, if you have favorites from Johnson that you would like to share, please do so in the comments.



David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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