Marilyn vos Savant

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Marilyn vos Savant (born 11 August 1946) is an American magazine columnist and author who rose to fame through her listing in the Guinness Book of World Records under Highest IQ. The following quotes are mostly from Ask Marilyn, her Sunday column in PARADE magazine. Where a question and answer are indicated, the question is a reader's and the answer is Marilyn's.


  • Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.
    • As quoted in Perfectionism : What's Bad About Being Too Good? (1987) by Miriam Adderholdt and Jan Goldberg, p. 85
  • The original answer defines certain conditions, [...] Anything else is a different question.
    • Regarding ambiguity in her famous statement of the Monty Hall problem. "Ask Marilyn" column, Parade Magazine, 17 February 1991, p. 12.
  • Think of a hypothesis as a card. A theory is a house made of hypotheses.
    • Attributed in Proceedings of the Twenty-fifth Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (1991)
  • The length of your education is less important than its breadth, and the length of your life is less important than its depth.
    • As quoted in The Reader's Digest (1992) Vol. 140, p. 194
  • If your head tells you one thing and your heart tells you another, before you do anything, you should first decide whether you have a better head or a better heart.
    • As quoted in Loose Cannons: Devastating Dish from the World's Wildest Women (1998) by Autumn Stephens, p. 270
  • A good idea will keep you awake during the morning, but a great idea will keep you awake during the night.
    • As quoted in What Type Am I? : Discover Who You Really Are (1998) by Renee Baron, p. 110
  • To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.
    • As quoted in Courage: the heart and spirit of every woman : reclaiming the forgotten virtue (2001) by Sandra Ford Walston
  • A fool is someone whose pencil wears out before its eraser does.
    • As quoted in The Truth in Words: Inspiring Quotes for the Reflective Mind (2002) by Paras, p. 92
  • What women want is what men want. They want respect.
    • As quoted in Evergreen : A Guide to Writing with Readings (2003), by Susan Fawcett
  • What is the essence of America? The essence of America is finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom "to" and freedom "from."
    • As quoted in Women Know Everything!: 3,241 Quips, Quotes, & Brilliant Remarks (2007) by Karen Weekes, p. 173
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