If there is some good inflammable stuff it will catch fire

Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching them great many things. Awake their curiosity. It is enough to open the minds, do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff it will catch fire.

The quote appears at the end of chapter 14 of Polya’s Mathematical Discovery. Polya attributes the quote to Anatole France from Le jardin d’Epicure. Perhaps he translated the French into English. He further adds: There is a great temptation to paraphrase this passage: “Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching high school kids a lot of … just because you wish to make people believer that you understand it yourself …” Yet les us resist temptation.

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