Quotable

Quotes on quotes 🙂

“After all, all he did was string together a lot of old well-known quotations.”
H.L. Mencken on Shakespeare

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know. ” Abraham Lincoln

“I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things.” Dorothy Parker

Recently a writer sounded off about aphorisms. Or maybe it was maxims, Anyway he hated them. I disagree, OK they’re abused and misused, they’re often boring and better left unsaid, but there are many which distil a lot of wisdom into a small space and help us avoid having to re-invent the wheel of life every time we’re confronted by a quandary or need a little advice.

Here are some I value or which make me smile. I’ll add to them from time to time, so I won’t put them in any logical order apart from the newest at the top. Or not.

Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!
George Carlin

If you have anything to tell me of importance, for God’s sake begin at the end.
Sara Jeannette Duncan

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right.
H L Mencken

Sometimes I’d like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I’m afraid God would ask me the same question.
Anonymous

Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?
Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna af Södermöre

When poking an old bear in the eye with a sharp stick, always ensure that the stick is longer than the arm of the bear.

Native American saying

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill

Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom.
Thomas Carlysle

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.
Unknown

God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.
Isak Dinesen

The trouble with most folks isn’t so much their ignorance, as knowing so many things that ain’t so.
When all the fools are dead the neighbours will be a long way apart.
The wheel that squeaks the loudest is the one that gets the grease
Josh Billings

As a guide to events, if not to conduct, no amount of cynicism is excessive. You cannot err on the high side. 
Gilhooley’s Principle

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.
Thomas Alva Edison

and its more succinct cousin:

The harder I work, the luckier I get.
Samuel Goldwyn

If any question why we died
Tell them that our fathers lied.
Rudyard Kipling

Wisdom is the reward you get for a life time of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.
Doug Larsen

Too soon we grow old, too late we grow smart.
German proverb

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Nobody ever said on their deathbed, “I wish I’d spent more time in the office.”
Unknown

The best things in life aren’t things.
Unknown

Never complain, never explain.
Henry Ford II

Patience is an egg which hatches great birds.
Matabele Proverb

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
Galileo Galilei

Le véritable voyage de découverte ne consiste pas à chercher de nouveaux paysages, mais à avoir de nouveaux yeux.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust

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Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
Benjamin Franklin

There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.
James Truslow Adams

The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Donald Kendall

Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.
Unknown

Let not your zeal to share your principles entice you beyond your borders.
Marquis de Sade

“If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.”
Texas wisdom

Everything in moderation, including moderation.
Oscar Wilde

Be kind to unkind people. They need it the most.
Unknown

After all this is over, all that will really have mattered is how we treated each other.
Unknown

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
Andy Warhol

No one really listens to anyone else and if you try it for awhile, you’ll see why.
Mignon McLaughlin

When someone does something good, applaud. You will make two people happy.
Samuel Goldwyn

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other…
Reinhold Niebuhr

If you have a garden & a library you have everything you need.
Cicero

If you keep your head when those around you are losing theirs you obviously haven’t grasped the gravity of the situation.
Jean Kerr

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
Bok’s Law

One Wild Kiwi’s observations

Nobody ever got rich underestimating the power of human stupidity.

The only common thing about common sense is how uncommon it is.

Happiness is transient, contentment endures.

It’s sobering to reflect that half the people in the world are below average intelligence.

The likelihood of a piece of raw material being cut too small is inversely proportional to the quantity of available replacement.
Al’s First Law of Supply Dynamics

The accessibility of a lost component is inversely proportional to the square of its importance and to the fourth power of its availablity.
Al’s Second Law of Supply Dynamics


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