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Witty Quotes

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Contents

Introduction

This page is simply a list of quotes I find interesting, witty and/or thought-provoking. The authors are stated where I know who they are. Some of them may be a little humorous, but if you're looking for funny quotes, try my humour page instead.


The quotes

Advice for living

Mark Twain: "Age is mostly a matter of mind. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

Meindert Dejong (in The Wheel on the School): "... first to dream and then to do -- isn't that the way to make a dream come true?"

Bibliophile book catalogue: "If you don't take care of your body, where will you live?"

Bibliophile book catalogue: "Tact: getting your point across without stabbing someone with it."

Digest: "One of the greatest mistakes in life is to fear continually you will make one."

Bibliophile book catalogue: "No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Stephen Orchard: "You must forgive in order to live."

May V. Smith: "The only place you find success before work is in the dictionary."

Notice in office: "The easiest way to make ends meet is to get off your own."

Bibliophile book catalogue: "People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness."

Confucius: "Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous."

Joan Baez (singer): "I've never had a humble opinion. If you've got an opinion, why be humble about it?"

Thoreau: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away."

Mark Twain: "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Emerson: "No man should travel until he has learned the language of the country he visits. Otherwise he voluntarily makes himself a great baby - so helpless and so ridiculous."

Albert Einstein: "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."

Henry Ford: "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."

Bibliophile catalogue no 201: "Always use tasteful words - you may have to eat them."

Balderton, Notts. parish magazine, April 2011: "Our days are happier when we give to people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind."

Balderton, Notts. parish magazine, April 2011: "You cannot find knowledge by rearranging your ignorance."


Children

Katherine Whitehorn: "Children and zip fasteners do not respond to force ... except occasionally."

William Feather: "Setting a good example to children takes all the fun out of middle age."

Elbert Hubbard: "The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher."

Roger Lewin: "Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve."

Chinese proverb: "A child's life is like a piece of paper, on which every person leaves a mark."

Balderton, Notts. parish magazine, April 2011: "Children usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said."


History and War

A.J.P. Taylor: "Human blunders usually do more to shape history than human wickedness."

Bibliophile book catalogue: "The first casualty of war is truth."

Aldous Huxley: "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach."

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: "What experience and history teach is this - that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it."

Enoch Powell: "History is littered with wars which everybody knew would never happen."

Aldous Huxley: "The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings and that these individuals are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder and be murdered in quarrels not their own."

Balaam: "I have seen men trying to teach history who hardly knew whether the Armada was a town in Brazil or the winner of the Derby!"

George Bernard Shaw (in The Devil's Disciple): "The British soldier can stand up to anything except the British War Office."

Dionysius of Halicarnassus: "History is philosophy drawn from examples."


Science and Technology

Morris Cohen (American scientist): "Science is a flickering light in our darkness, but it is the only one we have and woe to him who would put it out.."

Claude Bernard: "Art is I, Science is we."

Theordore Roszak: "Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for microscope and telescope."

Elbert Hubbard: "One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man."

Enrico Fermi: "It is no good to try to stop knowledge going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge."

Charles Sanders Pierce: "There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be."

Winston Churchill: "Science should be on tap, not on top."

Albert Einstein: "The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking."

Henri Poincaré: "Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house."

Clive James: "It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are."


Gardening

Reginald Arkell: "How doth the little optimist
Walk round the Chelsea Show,
And scribble in a little book
The things he means to grow."

Bibliophile book catalogue: "When a gardener turns over a new leaf he usually finds an aphid."


The way people are

Samuel Butler: "Brigands demand your money or your life; women require both."

Lana Turner: "A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.".

Bibliophile book catalogue: "One of the things that worry business men is the number of unemployed on the payroll."

Ralph Richardson: "Acting is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing."

Bibliophile book catalogue: "What is the difference between perseverance and obstinacy?
One is a strong will - the other is a strong won't."

Edgar Dégas: "Painting is easy when you don't know how, but difficult when you do."

Fred Allen: "A celebrity is a person who works hard to become well-known, and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognised."

La Rochefoucauld: "We can forgive those who bore us. We cannot forgive those whom we bore."

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: "The devil's most devilish when respectable."

Bibliophile book catalogue: "Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute."

Bibliophile book catalogue: "Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others."

J.K. Galbraith: "Faced with having to change our views or prove that there is no need to do so, most of us immediately get busy on the proof."

Oscar Wilde: "Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes."

Bibliophile book catalogue: "It isn't what a man's got in the bank, but what he's got in his head that makes him great."

Voltaire: "Le sens commun n'est pas si commun." [= "Common sense is not so common."]

George Burns: "Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair."

Bibliophile book catalogue: "A bore is one who will deprive you of solitude without giving you company."

Bob Hope: "Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle."

William Shenstone: "A fool and his words are soon parted."


Miscellaneous

Samuel Butler: "A hen is only an egg's way of making other eggs."

C. Northcote Parkinson: "It is a commonplace that work expands to fill the time available for its completion."

Sid Caesar: "The best thing about humour is that it shows people they are not alone."

Sir Montague Burton: "A business must have a conscience as well as a counting house."

Noel Coward: "Wit ought to be a glorious treat, like caviar. Never spread it about like marmalade." [which presumably means he would disapprove of this web page.]

Jonathan Miller: "Humour is vague, runaway stuff that hisses around the fissures and crevices of the mind, like some sort of loose physic gas, more valuable than oil, much harder to get and we are always prospecting for it."

Paul Tripp in Tubby the Tuba at the Circus (popularised by Danny Kaye): "Do you know how much water it takes to fill an empty elephant? ... More than that! Much more!"

Tony Benn: "When I think of Cool Britannia I think of old people dying of hypothermia."

George Bernard Shaw: "Assassination is the extreme form of censorship."

Les Dawson: "I went to my doctor and asked for something for persistent wind. He gave me a kite."

Mary McCarthy: "Every age has a keyhole to which its eye is pasted."

Bette Midler: "If sex is such a natural phenomenon, how come there are so many books on how to?"

Bibliophile catalogue no 201: "All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my hand."


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This page last updated 18th April 2011