Things People Said That Seemed Good (Great Quotes)

I’ve been collecting quotes that resonate with me for a number of years. I find them useful to reference as guidelines, and they help build structure in the framework of everyday life. Making it more solid where it is too flexible and more elastic where it is too rigid.

I have done my best to group the quotes in a useful way below and not to intrude on them with my own interpretations. I cannot think of a way to give each quote on this page the individual attention it deserves. In any case, hopefully at least one or two stick with you.


“Change is the end result of all true learning.”Leo Buscaglia
“Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject.”Thomas Mann
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”Albert Einstein
“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”Niels Bohr
“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”Bruce Lee
“Curiosity is as much a parent of attention as attention is of memory.”Richard Whately
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”Aristotle
“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”Winston Churchill
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”Benjamin Franklin

Achieving Goals

“A goal is not always meant to be reached. It often simply serves as something to aim at.”Bruce Lee
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”Suzy Kassem
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.”Calvin Coolidge
“Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose."G. K. Nielson
“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”Jimmy Dean
“You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory – victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”Winston Churchill
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”Earl Nightingale
“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”Henry Ford
“Never mistake activity for achievement.”John Wooden

Being a Leader

"Ideas are easy. Execution is everything."John Doerr
“Men are like sheep, of which a flock is more easily driven than a single one.”Richard Whately
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”George Bernard Shaw
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."Albert Einstein
"Bad leaders care about who's right. Good leaders care about what's right."Simon Sinek

Reputation and Relationships

"Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."Mark Twain
"Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."Mark Twain
"Give a man a reputation as an early riser and he can sleep til noon."Mark Twain

Life Advice

“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out."Warren Buffett
“In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”David Dunning
"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read."Mark Twain
"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory."Dr. Seuss
"Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do."Bertrand Russell
“It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.”Richard Whately
“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.”Winston Churchill
“Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.”Will Rogers
"It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person."Bill Murray
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”Winston Churchill
"Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty."John Finley
"It matters not what you think: anyone can have thoughts [and] many people content themselves with feelings. It matters how you think."Christopher Hitchens
"The secret to happiness is freedom. And the secret to freedom is courage."Thucydides
"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."Winston Churchill
"That's all any of us are: amateurs. We don't live long enough to be anything else."Charlie Chaplin
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”W. L. Sheldon
“Lose an hour in the morning and you will be hunting for it all day.”Richard Whately
“Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.”Sam Levenson
“Finished beats perfect.”Jordan B. Peterson
“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”Albert Einstein

Science, Research, and Writing

"Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world."Louis Pasteur
“Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise."John Tukey
"Don’t ever underestimate the power of words. Without them, we would still be living in trees. So when you are writing an essay, you are harnessing the full might of culture to your life. That is why you write an essay (even if it has been assigned). Forget that, and you are doing something stupid, trivial and dull. Remember it, and you are conquering the unknown.”Jordan B. Peterson


“Occasionally he stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.”Winston Churchill
“A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor's.”Richard Whately
“Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we know: that man is here for the sake of other men - above all for those upon whose smiles and well being our own happiness depends.”Albert Einstein
“If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The sleep of reason brings forth monsters.”Christopher Hitchens
"Thinking is difficult, that's why most people judge."Unknown
"It is the useless things that make life worth living and that make life dangerous too: wine, love, art, beauty. Without them life is safe, but not worth bothering with."Stephen Fry