If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.
— Isaac Newton, physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor (1643-1727)
A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
— Proverbs 22:1
There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.
— H. L. Mencken, American journalist and humorist (1880-1956) (From “The Divine Afflatus,” originally published in 1917.)
What someone is, begins to be revealed when his talent abates, when he stops showing us what he can do.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900)
Character is that which can do without success.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, philosopher and poet (1803-1882)
Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, public philosopher and poet (1803-1882)
Discovery is the ability to be puzzled by simple things.
— Noam Chomsky, American linguist and political activist (b. 1928)
To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas.
— Leo Burnett, American advertising pioneer (1891-1971)
It is better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees.
— Albert Camus, French existentialist novelist (1913-1960)
A generous and noble spirit cannot be expected to dwell in the breasts of men who are struggling for their daily bread.
— Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Greek scholar (fl. c. 20 B.C.)
Charity isn’t a good substitute for justice.
— Jonathan Kozol, American journalist and author (b. 1936)
I do get scared about the physical danger from drug dealers. But it’s not in the same league as the danger I feel eating an $80 lunch with my privileged friends to discuss hunger and poverty. That’s when my soul feels imperiled.
— Jonathan Kozol, American journalist and author (b. 1936), on his work chronicling the lives of the poor in the Bronx.
Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.
— John Stuart Mill, 19th-century English philosopher and economist
I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.
— Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and third president (1743-1826), in letter to A. L. C. Destutt de Tracy, 1811
Nine requisites for contented living: Health enough to make work a pleasure. Wealth enough to support your needs. Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them. Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them. Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished. Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor. Love enough to move you to be useful to others. Faith enough to make real the things of God. Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, dramatist and scientist (1749-1832)
A pessimist is a man who has been compelled to live with an optimist.
— Elbert Hubbard, American entrepreneur and philosopher (founder of the Roycroft firm) (1856-1915)
No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is left long without proper reward.
— Booker T. Washington, American educator (1856-1915)
They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing.
— Hindu proverb
Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.
— Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama), Indian philosopher and founder of Buddhism (c. 563-c. 483 B.C.)
No man is more cheated than a selfish man.
— Henry Ward Beecher, American preacher (1813-1887)
Any man will usually get from other men just what he is expecting of them. If he is looking for friendship he will likely receive it. If his attitude is that of indifference, it will beget indifference. And if a man is looking for a fight, he will in all likelihood be accommodated in that.
— John Richelsen
If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that avarice, anger, pride and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little, even at the risk of being heroes.
— Sir Thomas More in the movie A Man For All Seasons (1966, screenplay by Robert Bolt)
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
— Cicero (Marcus Tullius), Roman orator, philosopher and statesman (106-43 B.C.)
If you don’t appreciate it, you don’t deserve it.
— Terry Josephson, 20th/21st-century motivational author
Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.
— Epicurus, Greek philosopher (341-270 B.C.)
You are not what you own.
— Fugazi, late 20th-century American rock band
The way to succeed is never quit. Thats it. But really be humble about it.
— Alex Haley, American author (1921-1992)
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew.
— Saint Francis de Sales, bishop of Geneva (1567-1622)
Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.
— Helen Keller, American social activist, public speaker and author (1880-1968)
Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot.
— Thomas Moore, Irish poet, satirist, composer and musician (1779-1852), from Loves of the Angels: Third Angels Story
Humility, like darkness, reveals the heavenly lights.
— Henry David Thoreau, American writer, philosopher and naturalist (1817-1862), from Walden
Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.
— Confucius (K’ung Fu-tzu), Chinese sage (551-479 B.C.)
Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.
— Italian proverb
A taste for simplicity cannot last for long.
— Eugene Delacroix, French painter (1798-1863)
The problem with property is that it takes so much of your time.
— Willem de Kooning, Dutch-American painter (1904-1997)
Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century.
— Alexandr Solzhenitzyn, Russian novelist and historian (b. 1918)
Take what you can use and let the rest go by.
— Ken Kesey, American novelist (1935-2001)
Less is more.
— Mies van der Rohe, Dutch-American Modernist architect (1886-1969)
Less is a bore.
— Robert Venturi, American post-Modernist architect (b. 1925)
Make a virtue of necessity.
— Geoffrey Chaucer, English author (c. 1342-1400)
You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?
— Steven Wright, American humorist (b. 1955)
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
— Bible, Matthew 5:5
Do not sound a trumpet before thee as the hypocrites d …that they may have glory from men….But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.
— Bible, Matthew 6:1-4
The farther a man knows himself to be free from perfection, the nearer he is to it.
— Gerard Groote, Dutch religious reformer (1340-1384)
He who thinks he has no faults has one.
The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men.
— J.C. Hare, English clergyman and writer (1796-1855)
Simplicity of character is no hindrance to the subtlety of intellect.
— John Morley, British statesman and writer (1838-1923)
The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.
— Martina Navratilova, tennis player
I never thought about losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right.
— Muhammad Ali, boxer
Football is like life. It teaches work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness, and respect for authority.
— Vince Lombardi, football coach
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, lost almost 300 games, missed the game-winning shot 26 times. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.
— Michael Jordan, basketball player
Champions keep playing until they get it right.
— Billie Jean King, tennis player
You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.
— Wayne Gretzky, hockey player
The only way to prove you’re a good sport is to lose.
— Ernie Banks, baseball player
It is your response to winning and losing that makes you a winner or a loser.
— Harry Sheehy, athletic director
If all I’m remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I’ve done a bad job with the rest of my life.
— Isiah Thomas, basketball player
When the Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the Game.
— Grantland Rice, sportswriter
Big egos are big shields for lots of empty space.
— Diana Black
Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.
— C.S. Lewis, British novelist and scholar (1898-1963)
Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important…They do not mean to do harm…They are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves
— T.S. Eliot, Anglo-American poet (1888-1965)
When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.
— Dale Carnegie, American motivational writer (1888-1955)
Nothing is so commonplace as to wish to be remarkable.
If you let your head get too big, it’ll break your neck.
— Elvis Presley, American rock ‘n’ roll icon (1935-1977)
A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.
— Adlai Stevenson II, American politician, presidential candidate (1900-1965)
When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.
— Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), American humorist, author and journalist (1835-1910)
I value solid popularity—the esteem of good men for good action. I despise the bubble popularity that is won without merit and lost without crime.
— Thomas Hart Benton, American writer and U.S. senator from Missouri (1782-1858)
He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.
— Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father, inventor and statesman (1706-1790)
When I hear a man applauded by the mob I always feel a pang of pity for him. All he has to do to be hissed is to live long enough.
— H. L. Mencken, American journalist and humorist (1880-1956)
Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory.
— Joseph Conrad (Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski), Polish-English author (1857-1924)
No man is a hero to his valet.
— Mme. A.M. Bigot de Cornuel, Parisian hostess and woman of letters (1614-1694)
After hunger, a human’s most important need is to know what is virtuous.
— Jerome Kagan, Harvard psychology professor and author (b. 1929)
Our virtues are most often praised but our vices disguised.
— François duc de la Rochefoucauld, French memoirist and philosopher (1613-1680)
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
— Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), American humorist, author and journalist (1835-1910), in Puddnhead Wilson
The essence of greatness is the perception that virtue is enough.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, public philosopher and poet (1803-1880)
Value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep. Virtue is the act by which one aims and/or keeps it.
— Ayn Rand, Russian-American philosopher and author (1905-1982)
He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.
— Lao-tzu, Chinese founder of Taoism (fl. 6th century B.C., possibly apocryphal)
Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.
— Demosthenes, Athenian orator and statesman (384-322 B.C.)
Punctuality is the politeness of kings and the duty of gentle people everywhere.
Not a day passes over this earth, but men and women of no note do great deeds, speak great words and suffer noble sorrows.
— Charles Reed
Perfection has one grave defect; it is apt to be dull.
— Somerset Maugham, English author (1874-1965)
When speculation has done its worst, two and two still make four.
— Samuel Johnson, English lexicographer, essayist and public philosopher (1709-1784)
If you have nothing else to offer me, offer me your smile.
— Chinese proverb
He who asks a question may be a fool for five minutes; he who asks no questions stays a fool forever.
— Chinese proverb
I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.
— Mother Teresa, Catholic nun and founder of Missionaries of Charity (1910-1997)