- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony.
WIST currently holds 19,627 quotations by 3,057 authors. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
Author CloudAristotle • Asimov, Isaac • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterfield (Lord) • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Cicero, Marcus Tullius • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Homer • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Martial • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Sophocles • Tolkien, J.R.R. • Twain, Mark • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
Most Quoted Authors
Topic Cloudaction age America author beauty belief change character courage death democracy education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history human nature humanity integrity liberty life love morality perspective politics power progress reality religion science society success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (9,993)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (6,674)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (6,258)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (5,637)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,969)
- “Tips for Teens,” Social Studies (1981) (4,814)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (4,634)
- Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907) (4,628)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (4,248)
- “In Search of a Majority,” Speech,… (4,150)
- (Attributed) on
- Problems [Problemata], Book 30, Q. 1 / 953a [tr. @sentantiq (2018)] on
- Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 17 / 1455a.33 (c. 335 BC) [tr. Bywater (1909)] on
- Moral Essays, “On Tranquility of Mind [De Tranquillitate Animi],” 17.10 [tr. Langsdorf (1900)] on
- Interview by Marc Cooper, The Progressive (Jul 2001) on
- Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 13 (12.13) [tr. Michie (1972)] on
- Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 3, epigram 37 (3.37) [tr. McLean (2014)] on
- Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 2, ch. 5 (2.6.15-16) / 1106b.35 (c. 325 BC) [tr. Crisp (2000)] on
- Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 2, ch. 1 (2.1, 1103a.32ff) (c. 325 BC) [tr. Crisp (2000)] on
- Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 2, ch. 1 (2.1, 1103b.20ff) (c. 325 BC) [tr. Rackham (1934), sec. 7-8] on
I have no use for the strictures of You must. You must not.
The Analects [Lúnyǔ, 论语], Book 18, verse 8 (18.8.5) (6th C. BC) [ed. Lao-Tse, tr. Hinton (1998)]
(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:
I have no course for which I am predetermined, and no course against which I am predetermined.
[tr. Legge (1861)]
I will take no liberties, I will have no curtailing of my liberty.
[tr. Jennings (1895); in the footnote he gives a more raw translation, "Without possibilities (or freedom to act) -- without impossibilities"]
With me there is no inflexible "thou shalt" or 'thou shalt not."
[tr. Soothill (1910)]
I have no categoric can and cannot.
[tr. Pound (1933)]
I have no "thou shalt" or "thou shalt not."
[tr. Waley (1938)]
I have no preconceptions about the permissible and the impermissible.
[tr. Lau (1979)]
I avoid saying what should or should not be done.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]
I follow no rigid prescriptions on what should, or should not, be done.
[tr. Leys (1997)]
I have not any stubborn positiveness or negation.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998)]
I do not have presuppositions as to what may and may not be done.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]
I have no "may" and no "may not."
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998)]
I have no preconceptions about what one can or cannot do.
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]
This may be the source of Lin-Yutang, ed. The Wisdom of Confucius (1938):
The superior man goes through his life without any one preconceived course of action or any taboo. He merely decides for the moment what is the right thing to do.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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