Hyperbolic discounting
Meredith: In five years, I'd like to be five years sober. 
Jan: That is an excellent goal. 
Meredith: Four and a half.
-The Office (Season 2, Episode 15)
[H]e used to wonder at the shallow psychology of those who conceive the Ego in man as a thing simple, reliable, and of one essence. To him, man was a being with myriad lives and myriad sensations, a complex multiform creature that bore within itself strange legacies of thought and passion, and whose very flesh was tainted with the monstrous maladies of the dead.
-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Moral hazard in ROSCAs
At other times Lydia is in a chastising, critical mood. It is directed first at 'those people': anyone with whom she has been wrangling over Fah-Fee bets or the complicated ethics of the 'club' to which she belongs, into whose funds each member pays part of her wages every month so that each in turn may have a bonus month when she is the recipient of the sum of all the others' contributions. —That woman! The sister-in-law of Gladys, she's holding the money, but I'm telling her, why if you holding you not paying in like everybody?
-Nadine Gordimer, July's People
S-shaped production functions
This led Owad from the beauty of Russian names to Russia itself. 'There is work for everyone and everyone must work. It is distinctly written in the Soviet Constitution — Basdai, pass me that little book there -- that he who does not work shall not eat.'
'That is fair,' Chinta said, taking the copy of the Soviet Constitution from Owad, opening it, looking at the title page, closing it, passing it on. 'Is exactly the sort of law we want in Trinidad.'
'He who does not work shall not eat,' Mrs Tulsi repeated slowly.
'I just wish they could send some of my people to Russia,' Miss Blackie said, sucking her teeth, shaking her skirt and shifting in her chair to express the despair to which her people reduced her.
Mr Biswas said, 'How can he, who does not eat, work?'
-V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas
Subgame perfect equilibrium under hyperbolic discounting
-Seinfeld (Season 5, Episode 2)
The lemons problem
-Groucho Marx, Groucho and Me
Returns to education
'This education is a helluva thing,' Ramchand said. 'Any little child could pick it up. And yet the blasted thing does turn out so damn important later on.'
-V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas
Reference points
It’s not easy to explain that poverty can take many forms, and that a poverty of horizon can seem as paralyzing as the other kinds. I call that man rich, as Henry James famously said, who can satisfy the requirements of his imagination. Hard to explain, too, that time and space open up as soon as you take leave of the simple ways in which you define yourself. Though many of us are lucky enough not to be afflicted with the actual poverty of which Camus was writing, the longing to live somewhere between that reality and the sun remains potent; luxury, for some of us, is measured by the things we can do without.
-Pico Iyer, Sun After Dark​​​​​​​
Comparative advantage (misunderstood)
A man who sets out to justify his existence and his activities has to distinguish two different questions. The first is whether the work which he does is worth doing; and the second is why he does it, whatever its value may be. . . . 
It is quite true that most people can do nothing well. If so, it matters very little what career they choose, and there is really nothing more to say about it.
-G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology