Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.

Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
Doctor Zhivago, 9.14 (1957) [tr Hayward and Harari (1958)]
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COUNTESS: Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
All’s Well that Ends Well, Act 1, sc. 1, l. 73 (1602)
    (Source)
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For a thing to remain undone nothing more is needed than to think it done.

Baltasar Gracian
Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish writer.
The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)
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MAL: Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Firefly, 1×06 “Our Mrs. Reynolds” (2 Oct 2002)
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A bureaucrat is one who has the power to say “no” but none to say “yes”. Bureaucrats can find an infinite number of reasons for rejecting any proposed change, but can find none for accepting it.

Russell Ackoff
Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
A Little Book of F-laws (2006)
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Life is one day at a time. And thank God! I couldn’t take much more.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) American politician, diplomat, sociologist
Meet the Press (19 Jun 1994)
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One of the oldest Russian proverbs remains as inexorably true in modern America: “No one is hanged who has money in his pocket.” Or, one might say, capital punishment is only for those without capital.

Sydney J Harris
Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Anglo-American columnist, journalist, author
Syndicated column, Chicago Daily News (Apr 1971)
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To spend more time in learning is better than spending more time in praying.

Mohammed
Mohammed (570-632) Founder of Islam
The Sayings of Muhammed, #277 [tr. Al-Suhrawardy (1941)]
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We should be wanting to ourselves, we should be perfidious to posterity, we should be unworthy that free ancestry from which we derive our descent, should we submit with folded arms to military butchery and depredation.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Declaration on Taking Up Arms (1775) [Papers 1:202]
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Wooden-headedness consists of assessing a situation in terms of preconceived, fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be confused by the facts.

Barbara Tuchman
Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
“An Inquiry into the Persistence of Unwisdom in Government,” Esquire (1980)
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Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.

Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) American author and journalist.
Gone with the Wind, ch. 53 (1936)
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The firefly only shines when on the wing.
So is it with the mind — when once we rest
We darken.

Phillip James Bailey
Philip James Bailey (1816-1902) English poet
Festus (1839)
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At the bottom of every social problem we will find a social wrong.

Henry George
Henry George (1839-1897) American economist
Social Problems, ch. 1 (1883)
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There is a certain dignity to be kept up in pleasures, as well as in business.

Lord Chesterfield
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (5 Feb 1750)
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Knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge — broad, deep knowledge — is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man’s progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life.

Helen Keller
Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
The Story of My Life, pt. 1, ch. 20 (1903)
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Economists are very good at saying that something cannot go on forever, but not so good at saying when it will stop.

Herb Stein
Herb Stein (1916-1999) American economist
(Attributed)
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Most men that do thrive in the world do forget to take pleasure during the time that they are getting their estate, but reserve that till they have got one and then it is too late for them to enjoy it.

Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) English diarist, naval administrator
Diary (10 Mar 1666)
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If forty million people say a foolish thing it does not become a wise one, but the wise man is foolish to give them the lie.

W Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
A Writer’s Notebook (1949)

An entry in 1901. See Anatole France.
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One thing shines clear in the heart’s sweet reason,
One lightning over the chasm runs —
That to turn from love is the world’s one treason
That darkens all the suns.

Edwin Markham
Edwin Markham (1852-1940) American poet
“The Crowning Hour” (2), The Shoes of Happiness, and Other Poems (1913)
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You ever look at their faces? “We’re pro-life.” Don’t they look it? Don’t they just exude joie de vivre?

Bill Hicks
Bill Hicks (1961-1994) American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, musician [William Melvin "Bill" Hicks]
Filling Up the Hump (1993)
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Be assured, my young friend, that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation.

Adam Smith
Adam Smith (1723-1790) Scottish economist
Letter to Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster

When Sinclair had written him, after the Battle of Saratoga (Oct 1777), "If we go on at this rate, the nation must be ruined." In The Correspondence of Sir John Sinclair, Bt (1831).
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FOOL: Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
King Lear, Act 1, sc. 4, l. 131 (1605)
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To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.

Anatole France
Anatole France (1844-1924) French poet, journalist, novelist, Nobel Laureate [pseud. of Jaques-Anatole-François Thibault]
Speech, Académie Française (24 Dec 1896)
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MAL: I would appreciate it if one person on this boat would not assume I’m an evil, lecherous hump.

ZOE: No one’s saying that, sir.

WASH: Yeah, we’re pretty much just giving each other significant glances and laughing incessantly.

Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Firefly, 1×06 “Our Mrs. Reynolds” (2 Oct 2002)
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When a mess, which is a system of problems, is taken apart, it loses its essential properties and so does each of its parts. The behavior of a mess depends more on how the treatment of its parts interact than how they act independently of each other. A partial solution to a whole system of problems is better than whole solutions of each of its parts taken separately.

Russell Ackoff
Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
“The future of operational research is past,” The Journal of the Operational Research Society, Vol 30 (1979)
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I shall stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.

John Bunyan
John Bunyan (1628–1688) English Christian writer, preacher
(Attributed)

Quoted in M. L. King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham City Jail" (16 Apr 1963).
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They are escaped convicts. His Majesty is fortunate to be rid of such rabble. Their true God is power.

~generic
Other Authors and Sources
Oliver Sharpin, The American Rebels (1804)
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The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Thomas Gray
Thomas Gray (1716-1771) English poet
“Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” l. 36 (1751)
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We must show by our behavior that we believe in equality and justice and that our religion teaches faith and love and charity to our fellow men. Here is where each of us has a job to do that must be done at home, because we can lose the battle on the soil of the United States just as surely as we can lose it in any one of the countries of the world.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
India and the Awakening East (1953)
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Man — who is he? Too bad, to be the work of God: Too good for the work of chance!

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramiturg, writer
(Attributed)

In James Wood, Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern English and Foreign Sources (1899).
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Songwriting is about getting the demon out of me. It’s like being possessed. You try to go to sleep, but the song won’t let you. So you have to get up and make it into something, and then you’re allowed to sleep. It’s always in the middle of the bloody night, or when you’re half-awake or tired, when your critical faculties are switched off. So letting go is what the whole game is.

John Lennon
John Lennon (1940-1980) English rock musician, singer, songwriter
Interview, Playboy (Sep 1980)
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Mistrust all in whom the urge to punish is strong!

Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “Of the Tarantulas” (1892) [tr. Hollingdale (1961)]
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It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.

W Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
“The Treasure,” The Mixture as Before (1940)
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Europe … have totally mistaken our character. Accustomed to rise at a feather themselves, and to be always fighting, they will see in our conduct, fairly stated, that acquiescence under wrong, to a certain degree, is wisdom, and not pusillanimity; and that peace and happiness are preferable to that false honor which, by eternal wars, keeps their people in eternal labor, want, and wretchedness.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to James Madison (23 Mar 1815) [ME 14:290]
    (Source)
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The so-called lessons of history are for the most part the rationalizations of the victors. History is written by the survivors.

Max Lerner
Maxwell "Max" Lerner (1902-1992) American journalist, columnist, educator
It Is Later Than You Think: The Need for a Militant Democracy (1939)
    (Source)
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An Ambassador is an honest man, sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.

[Legatus est vir bonus, peregrè missus ad mentiendum Reipublicae causâ.]

Henry Wotton
Henry Wotton (1568-1639) English author, diplomat, politician
Reliquiae Wottonainae (1651)
    (Source)

Wotton wrote in an apology to Velserus in 1612, that during his travel through Augsburg in 1604, "This merry definition of an ambassador I had chanced to set down at my friend's, Mr. Christopher Fleckamore, in his Album". It seems to have been intended as a pun when translated to English. Sometimes translated as "An ambassador is an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of his country."
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It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.

Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams (1722-1803) American revolutionary, statesman
(Spurious)

Frequently attributed to Samuel or John Adams, but not found before the 1990s. See here and here for more information.
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To ask the right question is already half the solution of a problem.

Carl G. Jung
Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious (1934) [tr. Hull (1959)]
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Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise.

Lord Chesterfield
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (8 May 1750)
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A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.

Helen Keller
Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
The Simplest Way to be Happy (1933)
    (Source)
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How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it.

Mark Twain
Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“Eve’s Diary” (1905)
    (Source)
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Anything I like is either illegal or immoral or fattening.

Alexander Woolcott
Alexander Woollcott (1887-1943) American critic, commentator, journalist, wit
(Attributed)

Apparently a gag attributed by Woollcott to a Frank Rand of St. Louis on his radio show in Sep. 1933; it was then directly attributed to Woollcott in Reader's Digest in Dec. 1933. It is sometimes cited to Woollcott's essay "The Knock at the Stage Door," The North American Review (Sep 1922), but not found there. See here for more information. Variants:
  • "All the things I like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening."
  • "All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal or fattening."
  • "Everything I want to do is either illegal, immoral or fattening."
Added on 20-Mar-15 | Last updated 20-Mar-15
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How convenient does it prove to be a rational animal, that knows how to find or invent a plausible pretext for whatever it has an inclination so to do.

Ben Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
The Life of Benjamin Franklin (1791)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased: "Man is a rational animal. He can think up a reason for anything he wants to believe." Sometimes attributed to Anatole France.
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If this is a dream, then perhaps our dreaming
Can touch life’s height to a finer fire:
Who knows but the heavens and all their seeming
Were made by the heart’s desire?

Edwin Markham
Edwin Markham (1852-1940) American poet
“The Crowning Hour” (2), The Shoes of Happiness, and Other Poems (1913)
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I was walking through Central Park, and I saw an old man smoking. Nothing makes a smoker happier than to see an old person smoking. This guy was ancient, bent over a walker, puffing away. I’m like, “Dude, you’re my hero! Guy your age smoking, man, it’s great.” He goes, “What? I’m 28.”

Bill Hicks
Bill Hicks (1961-1994) American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, musician [William Melvin "Bill" Hicks]
Performance, Oxford Playhouse (11 Nov 1992)
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HAWKEYE: War isn’t Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell. And of the two, war is a lot worse.

FR. MULCAHEY: How do you figure, Hawkeye?

HAWKEYE: Easy, Father. Tell me, who goes to Hell?

FR. MULCAHEY: Sinners, I believe.

HAWKEYE: Exactly. There are no innocent bystanders in Hell. War is chock full of them — little kids, cripples, old ladies. In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody involved is an innocent bystander.

Burt Prelutsky
Burt Prelutsky (b. 1940) American TV screenwriter, author, columnist, critic
M*A*S*H, 5×20 “The General’s Practitioner” (15 Feb 1977)
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In public affairs, stupidity is more dangerous than knavery.

Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) US President (1913-20), educator, political scientist
The New Freedom, ch. 3 (1913)
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Excess of grief for the deceased is madness; for it is an injury to the living, and the dead know it not.

Xenophon
Xenophon (c. 431-355 BC) Greek historian and essayist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

In Anon. Mental Recreation Or, Select Maxims, Sayings And Observations Of Philosophers (1831).
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INARA: What did I say to you about barging into my shuttle?

MAL: That it was manly and impulsive?

INARA: Yes, precisely. Only the exact phrase I used was, “Don’t.”

Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Firefly, 1×02 “The Train Job” [with Tim Minear] (20 Sep 2002)
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Managers are not confronted with problems that are independent of each other, but with dynamic situations that consist of complex systems of changing problems that interact with each other. I call such situations messes. Problems are extracted from messes by analysis. Managers do not solve problems, they manage messes.

Russell Ackoff
Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
“The future of operational research is past,” The Journal of the Operational Research Society, Vol 30, pp.93-104. (1979)
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The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.

Charles Dudley Warner
Charles Dudley Warner (1829–1900) American essayist and novelist
Backlog Studies, ch. 11 (1872)
    (Source)
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It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy; power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy. This is why the weak are so deeply concerned with the democratic principle of the sovereign equality of states, as a means of providing some small measure of equality for that which is not equal in fact. Coming from a developing country, I was trained extensively in international law and diplomacy and mistakenly assumed that the great powers, especially the United States, also trained their representatives in diplomacy and accepted the value of it. But the Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States. Diplomacy is perceived by an imperial power as a waste of time and prestige and a sign of weakness.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali (b. 1922) Egyptian politician, diplomat, UN Secretary-General (1992-1996)
Unvanquished: A U.S.-U.N. Saga (1999)
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You have greatly ventured, but all must do so who would greatly win.

Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice, Act 1, sc. 1 (1821)
    (Source)
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Person after person has said to me in these last few days that this new world we face terrifies them. I can understand how that feeling would arise unless one believes that men are capable of greatness beyond their past achievements. … The time now calls for mankind as a whole to rise to great heights. We must have faith or we die.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
“My Day” (10 Aug 1945)

After the dropping of the atomic bomb.
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The worst of superstitions is to think
One’s own most bearable.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramiturg, writer
Nathan the Wise, Act 4, sc. 2 (1779)

Alt. trans.: "The worst superstition is to consider our own tolerable."
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