More readable than a Q&A, more spontaneous than a Proust questionnaire, Esquire's What I've Learned series is tough to beat as recurring magazine features go. This is why we were delighted to receive the magazine's tenth annual Meaning of Life issue (which appears to be merely a different name for the What I've Learned issue), packed with 17 new ruminations from cultural trendsetters on the subjects of love, friendship, and which Godfather was the most fun to make (the first one). While the whole series is worth checking out (especially now Esquire has finally put them in a semi-searchable archive), here are some choice musings from the latest batch:


  • "Acceptance is going to a restaurant where the salad's not great, but the steak is fine." - Albert Brooks
  • "I loved 'Hail to the Chief.' Loved it. Not like Jimmy Carter." - George H.W. Bush
  • "Your children may rat on you. Your wife will fire back at you. But if you're not kind to your dogs, what can they do? A really big test of how kind a human being is comes with how well he treats his dogs." - Ted Danson
  • "A horse is not like a dog. It don't love ya." - Robert Duvall
  • "When I was a kid, nobody told me I was good-looking. I wish they had. I would've had a better time." - Robert Redford
  • "There's a tremendous amount of power that comes from not having to say yes." - Jodie Foster
  • "By the way, you don't have to necessarily always enjoy being with your friends. It's possible to have friends that drive you out of your mind. Don't you have friends that you've had since you were a little kid? And you constantly have to explain to people who're just meeting him: 'I've known him since fifth grade. He really is a good guy. Trust me. Really--he's got a heart as big as Montana.'" - Aaron Sorkin
  • "I'd rather have to put my teeth in a jar at the end of the day than Twitter." - Mary Louise-Parker
  • "One of the great things about kids is, they haven't heard a lot of the old jokes. You can get away with corny ones." - Fred Willard
  • "You root for your son to have a girl he laughs with." - James L. Brooks
  • "Now is now. Then is then. And the future will be what the future will be. So enjoy the moment while you're in it. Now is a great time." - Robert De Niro