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With books, as with companions, it is of more consequence to know which to avoid, than which to chuse; for good books are as scarce as good companions, and in both instances, all that we can learn from bad ones, is, that so much time has been worse than thrown away.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer, aphorist
Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words, Vol. 1, Preface (1820)
Added on 18-Jun-24 | Last updated 18-Jun-24
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Strategy is the art of making use of time and space. I am less chary of the latter than the former. Space we can recover, lost time never.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor, military leader
Letter to Baron von Stein, Dammartin le St. Père (7 Jan 1814)

Alt. trans.: "One always has a chance of recovering lost ground, but lost time -- never."
Added on 18-Sep-14 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
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The most wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed.

[La plus perdue de toutes les journées est celle où l’on n’a pas ri.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées], ch. 1, # 80 (1795) [tr. Morley (1887)]

Often attributed to a more contemporary comedian (Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin) or writers such as Ben Burroughs, Grigori Alexandrov. It is arguably a clear enough sentiment that others might reinvent it.

(Source (French)). Alternate translation:

The most lost of all days, is that in which we have not laughed.
[Source (1803)]

The most completely lost of all days is that on which one has not laughed.
[Source (1891)]

The worst wasted of all days is that during which one has not laughed.
[tr. Hutchinson (1902), "The Cynic's Breviary"]

Of all days, the day on which one has not laughed is the one most surely wasted.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]

That of all days is the most completely wasted in which one did not once laugh.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

The day that we have most lost is the one on which we have not laughed.

Other versions:
  • "A day without laughter is a day wasted." [Chaplin]
  • "The most lost of all days is that in which one has not laughed."
  • "The most wasted day of all is that in which we have not laughed."
More history of the quotation: A Day Without Laughter is a Day Wasted – Quote Investigator®
Added on 19-May-11 | Last updated 27-Apr-23
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