regarding writing -- this from an academic:
When you begin reading academic prose, it’s like going into the monkey house at the zoo. At first you’re overwhelmed by the noise and stink. Then you get so used to it you no longer notice.
regarding Bismarck - the original is:
Experience is the dearest teacher, for she gives the test before the lecture.
and for our general discussions in CF, this from Thoreau on Walden Pond:
In my experience, travelers generally exaggerate the difficulties of the way