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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

TANSTAAFL  
  There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.  

An essential element in the basic Heinlein philosophy; this is (as far as I know) the first appearance of this acronym.

"Gospodin," he said presently, "you used an odd word earlier--odd to me, I mean..."

"Oh, 'tanstaafl.' Means ~There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.' And isn't," I added, pointing to a FREE LUNCH sign across room, "or these drinks would cost half as much. Was reminding her that anything free costs twice as much in long run or turns out worthless."

"An interesting philosophy."

"Not philosophy, fact. One way or other, what you get, you pay for."

From The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by GP Putnam in 1966
Additional resources -

The basic philosophy probably antedates Heinlein's use. For example, in 'TANSTAAFL: a plan for a new economic world order.' (Dos Utt, Pierre (1949). Cairo Publications, Canton, OH). This document shows that, as early as 1934 NY mayor Fiorello La Guardia said " finita la cuccagna!", meaning "No more free lunch"

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
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