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Great quotes from wise people

Here I will collect all the best quotes I come across, with updates now and then. You can bookmark this page and also link to it.

Also check out "100 great quotes about motivation and taking action", a very popular post on my blog.


"I sometimes think that God, in creating man, overestimated His ability."
- Oscar Wilde

"God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through."
- Paul Valery

"If God wanted us to fly, He would have given us tickets."
- Mel Brooks

"There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe that I was not He."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
- Voltaire

"If you want to organize anything, assume everybody is absolutely stupid. And assume yourself that you're stupid."
- Bayard Austin

"Character is what you know you are, not what others think you are."
- Marvin Collins and Civia Tamark

"I'm glad I did it. Partly because it was well worth it, but chiefly because I shall never ever have to do it again."
- Mark Twain

"The mother of the year should be a sterilized woman with two adopted children."
- Paul Ehrlich

"It is often safer to be in chains than it is to be free."
- Franz Kafka

"Freedom of choice is what you got – freedom from choice is what you want."
- Devo

"Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
- George Orwell

"There is nothing more evil in the universe than man."
- Robert de Grimston

"The greater the lie, the greater the chance it will be believed."
- Adolf Hitler

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense."
- Buddha

"If there weren’t people unafraid to be judged insane by their peers, we’d all still be living in caves."
- Jello Biafra

"The mediocre man augments his worth by belonging to a group; the superior man diminishes it."
- Gustave Le Bon

"Those who have some funds think that the most important thing in the world is love. The poor know it is money."
- Gerald Brenan

"Moralistic preaching from hypocritical parents is worse than useless."
- John A. Sanford

"The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom...for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough."
- William Blake

"Wherever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn people."
- Heinrich Heine

"Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all."
- Arthur James

"Pessimists never do anything, they sit in the corner and moan and piss and groan and bitch and complain, but they never do anything. The optimists are the ones who do things. At least I’m trying. I'm an optimist on principle."
- Robert Anton Wilson

"Change is not progress."
- Ragnar Redbeard

"Is it progress if a cannibal uses a fork?"
- Stanislaw J. Lec

"Even making love involves power relations, charged with eroticism...There’s so much pleasure in giving orders; there’s also pleasure in taking them. This pleasure of power – well, there’s a topic for study."
- Foucault

"Formal religion was organized for slaves; it offered them consolation which earth did not provide."
- Elbert Hubbard

"As far as I know, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."
"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatsoever that it is not utterly absurd. Indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible."
- Bertrand Russell

"Americans love and hate sex. Sex sells products, fuels popular novels and Hollywood’s star system. And yet, when this commodification becomes literal, when sexual pleasure is bought and sold, Americans are terrified. Sex professionals bear the burden of this fear. Prostitutes have historically been publicly vilified, leaving them vulnerable to attack, abuse, and harassment from all sides. Yet they never seem to run out of clients."
- P.O.N.Y. (Prostitutes of New York)

"Knowledge is not intelligence."
- Heraclitus

"Women today are not satisfied… they want men, but all they find are little boys."
- Charles Manson

"Women are always attracted to power. I do not think there could ever be a conqueror so bloody that most women would not willingly lie with him in the hope of bearing a son who would be every bit as ferocious as the father."
- Gore Vidal

"I do not like work even when another person does it."
- Mark Twain

"A clever person solves a problem, a wise person avoids it."
- Albert Einstein

"Begin! Only by starting can the impossible become possible."
- Thomas Carlyle

"Pornography is rather like trying to find out about a Beethoven symphony by having somebody tell you about it and perhaps hum a few bars."
- Davies Robertson

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
- Albert Einstein

"Do it. Do it right. Do it right now."
- Bobby Riggs

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
- Albert Einstein

"You must be the change / You wish to see in the world"
- Gandhi

"Given eight hours to chop down a tree, I would spend six sharpening my axe."
- Abraham Lincoln

"The world doesn't stink. Only sometimes your head is so full of shit."
- Anonym

"If you ask the wrong questions, you will always get the wrong answers."
- Anonym

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
- Mother Teresa

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."
- Babe Ruth

"Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us."
- Thomas L. Holdcroft

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
- Winston Churchill

"Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
- Gandhi

"Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies."
- Ann Landers

"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
- William Jennings Bryan

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."
- Albert Einstein

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
- Alfred D. Souza

"In the book of life every page has two sides: we human beings fill the upper side with our plans, hopes and wishes, but providence writes on the other side, and what it ordains is seldom our goal."
- Nisami

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."
- Buddha

"It is not length of life, but depth of life."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"In the game of life it's a good idea to have a few early losses, which relieves you of the pressure of trying to maintain an undefeated season."
- Bill Baughan

"Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian."
- Shari R. Barr

"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can."
- Danny Kaye

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
- Abraham Lincoln

"Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever..."
- Isak Dinesen

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
- Albert Einstein

"Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway."
- Steven Coallier

"Life isn't worth living unless you're willing to take some big chances and go for broke."
- Eliot Wiggington

"Being on the tightrope is living; everything else is waiting."
- Karl Wallenda

"On life's journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him."
- Buddha

"In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed."
- Sid Caesar

"The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny."
- Albert Ellis

"Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed."
- Buddha

"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God."
- Leo Buscaglia

"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."
- James Dean

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."
- Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
- Helen Keller

"Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them."
- John Updike

"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not."
- George Bernard Shaw

"When you do not know what you are doing and what you are doing is the best - that is inspiration."
- Robert Bresson

"He who knows others is wise, He who knows himself is enlightened."
- Tao Te Ching

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of being selfish with an ulterior motive; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone would destroy overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, there may be jealousy; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you have got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway."
- Mother Theresa

"The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it."

"Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyways."

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."

"Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience."

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes."

"Maybe this world is another planet's hell!"

"Being beaten is often a temporary condition, giving up is what makes it permanent."

"Birds sing after a storm, why shouldn't we?"

"The philosophy of the rich versus the poor is this: The rich invest their money and spend what is left; the poor spend their money and invest what's left."

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

"Failing to plan means planning to fail. What are your goals?"

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."

"Never talk defeat. Use words like hope, belief, faith, victory."

"In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as important as remembering."

"Failure is delay, not defeat.


Oscar Wilde on women:

"All women become like their mothers, that is their tragedy; no man does, that is his."

"Never trust a woman who tells you her real age; a woman who tells you that would tell you anything."

"Women are meant to be loved, not understood."

"A woman will flirt with anyone in the world, so long as other women are looking on."

"Women can discover everything except the obvious."

"If a woman wants to hold a man, she has merely to appeal to the worst in him."

"Crying is the refuge of plain women and the ruin of pretty ones."

"If you really want to know what a woman means, which is dangerous, always look at her but never listen."

"For fascinating women, sex is a challenge; for others, it is merely a defence."