Generalizations

There are two kinds of generalizations. One is cheap and the other is valuable. It is easy to generalize by diluting a little idea with a big terminology. It is much more difficult to prepare a refined and condensed extract from several good ingredients. — G. Polya

From Induction and Analogy in Mathematics, 1954.

But I actually saw it from the cutesy “marginal” comments from Concrete Mathematics.

Note that google books has the original Polya quote as

You should not forget, however, that there are two kinds of generalizations. One is cheap and the other is valuable. It is easy to generalize by diluting; it is important to generalize by condensing. To dilute a little wine with a lot of water is easy and cheap. To prepare a refined and condensed extract from several good ingredients is much more difficult but valuable.

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