The Wisdom of Mark Twain

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the latter often called “The Great American Novel.”

These are among my favorite Twain observations.

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A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well.

Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.

A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.

Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board.

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.

It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.

Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.

All generalizations are false, including this one.

There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.

The lack of money is the root of all evil.

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

When in doubt tell the truth.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain

I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.

Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

Let us endeavor so to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

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