Quotations by Benchley, Robert


The secret of my incredible energy and efficiency in getting work done is a simple one. I have based it very deliberately on a well-known psychological principle and have refined it so that it is now almost too refined. I shall have to begin coarsening it up again pretty soon. The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
“How to Get Things Done,” Chicago Tribune (2 Feb 1930)
Added on 3-Sep-11 | Last updated 22-Apr-21
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Anyone will be glad to admit that he knows nothing about beagling, or the Chinese stock market, or ballistics, but there is not a man or woman alive who does not claim to know how to cure hiccoughs.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
“Stop Those Hiccoughs!”, My Ten Years in a Quandary and How They Grew (1936)
Added on 17-Aug-11 | Last updated 17-Aug-11
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Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed be doing at that moment.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
(Attributed)


In Robert E. Drennan, The Algonquin Wits (1968)

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Jul-11
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It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
(Attributed)


In Nathaniel Benchley, Robert Benchley, ch. 1 (1955)

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Jul-11
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So who’s in a hurry?

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
(Attributed)

When asked if he understood drinking was a slow death.  In Nathaniel Benchley, Robert Benchley, ch. 1 (1955)
Added on 27-Jun-08 | Last updated 25-Jul-11
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Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with, that it’s compounding a felony.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
(Attributed)
Added on 19-Apr-13 | Last updated 19-Apr-13
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Nine-tenths of the value of a sense of humor in writing is not in the things it makes one write but in the things it keeps one from writing. It is especially valuable in this respect in serious writing, and no one without a sense of humor should ever write seriously. For without knowing what is funny, one is constantly in danger of being funny without knowing it.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
LIFE Magazine (8 Mar 1929)
Added on 10-Aug-11 | Last updated 10-Aug-11
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In America there are two classes of travel — first class, and with children. Traveling with children corresponds roughly to traveling third class in Bulgaria.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
Pluck and Luck (1925)
Added on 23-Aug-16 | Last updated 23-Aug-16
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I can’t quite define my aversion to asking questions of strangers. From snatches of family battles which I have heard drifting up from railway stations and street corners, I gather that there are a great many men who share my dislike for it, as well as an equal number of women who … believe it to be the solution to most of this world’s problems.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
Pluck and Luck, “Ask That Man” (1925)
Added on 3-Aug-11 | Last updated 3-Aug-11
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