The Mistborn Series
The Final Empire
New tastes are like new ideas—the older you get, the more difficult they are for you to stomach.
I consider myself to be a man of principle. But what man does not? Even the cutthroat, I have noticed, believes his actions to be moral after a fashion.
Power is a heavy burden. Seek not to be bound by its chains.
People are attracted to vision.
The entire point of life is to find ways to get others to do the work for you. Don't you know anything about basic economics?
A successful leader needs to know how to divide labor.
The person who can best judge the consequences of their actions will be the most successful.
Camon had been skilled at impersonating noblemen, but his self-importance had always struck Vin as a bit juvenile. While there were noblemen like Camon, the more impressive ones were like this Lord Renoux: calm and self-confident. Men whose nobility was in their bearing rather than their ability to speak scornfully to those around them.
People are valuable, and so—therefore—are their beliefs.
Manipulating others is something that all people do. In fact, manipulation is at the core of our social interaction.
That's the funny thing about arriving somewhere. Once you're there, the only thing you can really do is leave again.
The best liars are those who tell the truth most of the time.
"My brother said that anyone would betray you, if they had the right chance and a good enough motive."
Sazed frowned. "Even if such a thing were true, I would not want to live believing it."
During the last four weeks, her every whim and desire had been met. Servants cleaned up after her, primped her, fed her, and helped bathe her. Renoux saw that anything she asked for was given her, and she certainly wasn't expected to do anything strenuous, dangerous, or even slightly inconvenient.
In other words, her life was maddeningly boring.
Do you stop loving someone just because they betray you? I don't think so. That's what makes the betrayal hurt so much—pain, frustration, anger... and I still loved her. I still do.
Men rarely see their own actions as unjustified.
Sometimes we have to be what the job requires.
Though most expect young men to be fools, I've noticed that a little bit of age can make a man far more foolish than he was as a child.
If you're always on time, it implies that you never have anything better you should be doing.
Our belief is often strongest when it should be weakest. That is the nature of hope.
Belief isn't simply a thing for fair times and bright days, I think. What is belief—what is faith—if you don't continue in it after failure?
Anyone can believe in someone, or something, that always succeeds. But failure... now, that is hard to believe in, certainly and truly. Difficult enough to have value, I think.
It does me well to remember that there are those who abhor me. My place is not to seek popularity or love; my place is to ensure mankind's survival.
The Well of Ascension
Building something up is always harder than tearing something down.
The bigger the challenge, the more growth it brings.
If everyone is a nobleman, then there is no such thing as a nobleman. Not everyone can be rich, and not everyone can be in charge. That's simply not the way things work.
In a three-way negotiation, the weakest party is the one with the most power—because his allegiance added to either of the other two will choose the eventual winner.
Amazing strength does not a warrior make.
Breeze shrugged. "Manipulation works so well on a personal level, I don't see why it wouldn't be an equally viable national policy."
"That's the way of most rulership," Ham mused. "What is a government but an institutionalized method of making sure somebody else does all the work?
You must be stronger in the way that you speak. Presentation—words, actions, postures—will determine how people judge you and react to you. If you start every sentence with softness and uncertainty, you will seem soft and uncertain. Be forceful!
Don't ask questions; say what you mean. If you object, object—don't leave your words up to my interpretation.
A man can only lead when others accept him as their leader, and he has only as much authority as his subjects give to him. All the brilliant ideas in the world cannot save your kingdom if no one will listen to them.
Elend turned. "This last year I've read every pertinent book on leadership and governance in the four libraries."
Tindwyl raised an eyebrow. "Then I suspect that you spent a great deal of time in your room that you should have been out, being seen by your people and learning to be a ruler."
"Books have great value," Elend said.
"Actions have greater value."
Understanding theories of politics and leadership is not the same as understanding the lives of men who lived such principles.
Sometimes giving up is better than failing.
The Hero of Ages
There is more to leadership than good ideas and honest intentions.
When we create something, we often destroy something else in the process.
A year of marriage had taught her that there were some things one simply had to ignore. She could love Elend for his desire to do the right thing, including when she thought he'd done the opposite.
Sazed smiled. "When did you get so good at logic?"
"Living with Elend," Vin said with a sigh. "If you prefer irrational arguments, don't marry a scholar."
The title of emperor carried with it only a single duty: to make everything better.
Forces had rules. Allomancy, weather, even the pull of the ground. The world was a place that made sense. A place of logic. Every Push had a Pull. Every force had a consequence.
She had to discover the laws relating to the thing she was fighting. That would tell her how to beat it.
Somehow we'll find it. The balance between who we wish to be and who we need to be. But for now, we have to be satisfied with who we are.
There is a beauty in death—the beauty of finality, the beauty of completion.
Part of being a vigilante rebel is letting your enemies know what you are about.
Being a king isn't always about doing what you want. It's about doing what needs to be done.
Being in charge isn't about doing anything—it's about making certain that other people do what they're supposed to!
Too much of anything is deadly.
Faith means that it doesn't matter what happens. You can trust that somebody is watching. Trust that somebody will make it all right. It means that there will always be a way.
Good men will kill as quickly for what they want as evil men—only the things they want are different.
People with passion are people who will destroy—for a man's passion is not true until he proves how much he's willing to sacrifice for it.
Good and evil have little to do with ruin or preservation. An evil man will protect that which he desires as surely as a good man.
The best way to fool someone, in Vin's estimation, was to give them what they wanted. Or at least what they expected. As long as they assumed that they were one step ahead, they wouldn't look back to see if there were any steps that they'd completely missed.
If I didn't care so much, then being betrayed wouldn't feel so painful.
That's what trust is. It's about giving someone else power over you. Power to hurt you.
It was much easier for Ruin to get a hold on people who were passionate and impulsive than it was for him to hold on to people who were logical and prone to working through their actions in their minds.
To preserve something is not to create it—and neither can you create through destruction alone.
Faith isn't about logic.
She always complains that she's not a scholar, he thought, smiling to himself. But that's only because she lacks education. She's twice as quick-witted as half the "geniuses" I knew among the nobility.
To believe, it seemed, one had to want to believe. It was a conundrum, one Sazed had wrestled with. He wanted someone, something, to force him to have faith. He wanted to have to believe because of the proof shown to him.
He realized that kandra passed outside his humble little cavern, completely oblivious to the important decision he'd made.
That was how things often went. Some important decisions were made in public, on a battlefield or in a conference room. But others happened quietly, unseen by others.
All societies have people who break the rules. Particularly when power is concerned.
If nothing changed, nothing would ever come to exist.
"We create things to watch them grow, Ruin," she said. "To take pleasure in seeing that which we love become more than it was before. You said that you were invincible—that all things break apart. All things are Ruined. But there are things that fight against you—and the ironic part is, you can't even understand those things. Love. Life. Growth.
"The life of a person is more than the chaos of its passing."
I can't decide if you're a fool, Vin thought toward it, or if you simply exist in a way that makes you incapable of considering some things.