A list of interesting quotes, arranged by type.



(How things are)

  • Things do not change. We change. (Henry David Thoreau)
  • We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. (Anais Nin)
  • In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is. (Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut)
  • Imagination continually frustrates tradition; that is its function. (John Pfeiffer)
  • Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all. (John F. Kennedy)
  • History is a vast early warning system. (Norman Cousins)
  • Youth is quick in feeling but weak in judgment. (Homer)
  • I just hate health food. (Julia Child)
  • A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. (John Barrymore)
  • Gloating is for people who aren’t accustomed to winning. (Rachel King, from Franklin & Bash)

Morality and Religion

  • Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true. (Demosthenes)
  • People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent. (Bob Dylan)
  • Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. (Abraham Lincoln)
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr)
  • Natural Theology says not only look up and look out–it also says look down and look in, and you will find the proofs of the reality of God in the depth of your own nature. (Christopher Dawson)
  • What harms the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander. (Elie Wiesel)
  • The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door and deny Him with their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable. (DC Talk)
  • Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them. (T. S. Eliot)
  • Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God’s service, when it is violating all His laws. (John Adams)
  • Those who do not feel the darkness will never seek the light. (Anonymous)
  • We are all on earth to help others. What on earth the others are here for, I can’t imagine. (John Foster Hall)


  • A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives. (Jackie Robinson)
  • People don’t want advice…only corroboration. (John Steinbeck)
  • The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them. (P. G. Wodehouse)
  • It is with trifles and when he is off guard that a man best reveals his character. (Arthur Schopenhauer)
  • Ultimately, the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or friendship, is conversation. (Oscar Wilde)
  • Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it’s what you are expected to give — which is everything. (Anonymous)
  • You see, women are a lot like Saturday Night Live sketches: lots of them are awful, some are decent, and a few of them are pretty good. (Glenn Quagmire on Family Guy)
  • Some handsome and ambitious men believe they are above all morality, and a woman’s virtue becomes a mere challenge to them. (William Safire)
  • The reason the all-American boy prefers beauty to brains is that the all-American boy can see better than he can think. (Farrah Fawcett Majors)
  • It is easier to be a lover than a husband for the simple reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day than to say pretty things from time to time. (Honoré de Balzac)
  • A man would prefer to come home to an unmade bed and a happy woman than to a neatly made bed and an angry woman. (Marlene Dietrich)
  • To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs. (Aldous Huxley)
  • Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. (George Eliot)
  • The comfort of having children is that your youth has not fled, but been passed to a new generation. When a parent dies, children feel their own mortality. When a child dies, it is immortality that the parent loses. (Constance, in American Horror Story)


  • He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god. (Aristotle)
  • Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. (Fredrich Nietzsche)
  • Discipline without freedom is tyranny; freedom without discipline is chaos. (Cullen Hightower)
  • The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defies its prejudices, and then to make it the representative of a whole class. (Walter Lippmann)
  • Public opinion is the judgment of the incapable many opposed to that of the discerning few. (Elbert Hubbard)
  • America has the longest prison sentences in the West, yet the only condition long sentences demonstrably cure is heterosexuality. (Bruce Jackson)
  • Taxes are what we pay for civilized society. (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr)
  • An oldtimer is someone who can remember when a naughty child was taken to the woodshed instead of to a psychiatrist. (David Greenberg)
  • Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind. (Marcel Proust)

Success and Happiness

  • The secret of man’s success resides in his insight into the moods of people, and his tact in dealing with them. (Josiah Gilbert Holland)
  • It takes twenty years to make an overnight success. (Eddie Cantor)
  • The difference between insanity and genius is measured only by success. (Elliott Carver in “Tomorrow Never Dies)
  • Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it. (Horace)
  • An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject and how to avoid them. (Werner Heisenberg)
  • Money isn’t everything as long as you have it. (Anonymous)
  • When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars (Lee Salk)
  • Patience and delay achieve more than force and rage. (La Fontaine)
  • The things you own end up owning you. (Tyler Durden, in Chuck Palahniuk‘s “Fight Club)
  • Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. (Albert Einstein)
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge. (Albert Einstein)
  • Even the lonely woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head. (Anonymous)
  • A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. (Chinese proverb)
  • Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever. (Napoleon Bonaparte)
  • ‎The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything. (Anonymous)
  • Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived. (14th Dalai Lama)
  • Only boring people are bored. (Betty Draper, in Mad Men)
  • Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity. (Will Smith)
  • Comparison is the thief of joy. (Teddy Roosevelt)
  • A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor. (English proverb)


(How things should be)


  • The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. (Thomas Jefferson)
  • A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. (Gerald Ford)


  • Patriotism is easy to understand. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country. (Calvin Coolidge)
  • The nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. (Thucydides)


  • All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an opportunity to develop our talents. (John F. Kennedy)
  • A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is a bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog. (Jack London)
  • A society that puts equality…ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. (Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman)


(How you should — or shouldn’t — be)

  • Whatever you are, be a good one. (Abraham Lincoln)
  • The healthy, the strong individual, is the one who asks for help when he needs it. Whether he’s got an abscess on his knee or in his soul. (Rona Barrett)
  • It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well. (René Descartes)
  • Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. (Dr. Seuss)
  • The greatest of all faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. (Thomas Carlyle)
  • We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do. (Ethel Barrett)
  • There are two types of people, those who come into a room and say, “Well, here I am,” and those who come in and say, “Ah, there you are.” (Frederick L. Collins)
  • Wicked men obey from fear; good men, from love. (Aristotle)
  • It is wise to disclose what cannot be concealed. (Johann Friedrich Von Schiller)
  • Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something. (Plato)
  • I disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. (Francois M. Voltaire)
  • Profanity is the common crutch of the conversational cripple. (David Keuck)
  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • The only way you can control how you are being seen, is by being honest all the time. (Tom Hanks)
  • A fool knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing. (Anonymous)
  • We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Bravery is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to keep going in the presence of it. (Anonymous)
  • Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. (Robert J. Hanlon)
  • I would be more inclined to grow up if I saw that it worked out for everyone else. (someecards)
  • It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. (Antoine De Saint-Exupery)


  • A true friend stabs you in the front. (Oscar Wilde)
  • It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help. (Miss Manners)
  • The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity. (Lord Arthur Balfour)
  • The best gift a father can give his son is a well-loved mother. (graffiti in the Via Dell’Amore foot tunnel between Riomaggiore and Manarola, two towns in the Cinque Terre part of northern Italy)

Success and Happiness

  • Neutrals and lukewarms do not make history. (Adolf Hitler)
  • Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. (Helen Keller)
  • Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. (Jonathan Kozol)
  • In my youth I stressed freedom, and in my old age I stress order. I have made the great discovery that liberty is a product of order. (Will Durant)
  • In every sort of danger, there are various ways of winning through, if one is ready to do and say anything whatsoever. (Socrates)
  • Originality and a feeling of one’s own dignity are achieved only through work and struggle. (Feodor Dostoevski)
  • You can never quit. Winners never quit, and quitters never win. (Ted Turner)
  • Think like a man of action. Act like a man of thought. (Henri Bergson)
  • Do or do not – there is no try. (Yoda, in “Star Wars”)
  • The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been. (Alan Ashley Pitt)
  • It is not what happens to you, it is what you make of what happens to you. (Aldous Huxley)
  • Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rant with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. (Theodore Roosevelt)
  • No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit. (Helen Keller)
  • To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. (Marilyn vos Savant)
  • We will find a way, or make one. (Hannibal)
  • My ambition is handicapped by my laziness. (Charles Bukowski, in Factotum)
  • What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. (Bob Dylan)
  • Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently. (Henry Ford)
  • Meaninglessness in life does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness in life comes from being weary of pleasure. (Ravi Zacharias)
  • I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 things that do not work. (Thomas Edison)