Favorite Quotes

I am somewhat of a romantic when it comes to great quotes. Most listed here I found to be inspirational and by great men and women that I admire. Some of the others I’ve added are by individuals with which I disagree either morally or otherwise (Napoleon Bonaparte, Josef Stalin, etc). Quotes of this nature were added because I found them entertaining, historical, or they caused me to think.

Having said this, let me say that I only claim that these quotes are attributed to the names below them. That is, I did my own investigative work, but in some cases I found ample evidence that plenty of other people said that they said these things but not that the authors definitely said them. Regardless, they’re still good quotes, so I’ve included them here. Please do your own investigative work if you want to identify the rightful authors and quote them in books, etc. Enjoy.


“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Saint Augustine

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, all foes to true understanding.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

He who doesn’t know foreign languages knows nothing of his own.
Translated from: “Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
-T.S. Eliot

“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.”
-Ella Fitzgerald

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”
-Thomas Sowell

“There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.”
-Thomas Sowell

“Freedom is not simply the right of intellectuals to circulate their merchandise. It is, above all, the right of ordinary people to find elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their ‘betters.’”
-Thomas Sowell

“In his hands he holds the cords of gigantic responsibilities; he speaks, and lo, lives are changed; men and women hang upon his words and remould their characters, and, sunlike, he becomes the fixed and luminous centre round which innumerable destinies revolve. He has realized the Vision of his youth. He has become one with his Ideal.”
-James Allen
As a Man Thinketh (1902)

“How can you be expected to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese?”
-Charles de Gaulle

“Conquest has made me what I am, only conquest can maintain me.”
-Napoleon Bonaparte

“You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.”
-Warren Buffett

“When goods cannot cross borders, armies will.”
-Frédéric Bastiat

“…individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
-Frédéric Bastiat
The Law (1850)

“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
-John Adams’ letter to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1780

“What do we mean by the revolution? The war? That was no part of the revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years, before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington.”
John Adams’ letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1815

“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
-Thomas Jefferson
Inscribed into the Jefferson Monument

“…the tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
-Benjamin Franklin

“I prefer dangerous freedom to peaceful slavery.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“If a life could have a theme song… mine is a religion, an obsession, a mania or all of these expressed in one word: individualism. I was born with that obsession and I’ve never seen and do not know now a cause more worthy, more misunderstood, more seemingly hopeless and more tragically needed.”
-Ayn Rand

“It doesn’t promote your life to reduce unearned guilt… You should get rid of that guilt. It’s unearned. You don’t deserve it. So when we guilt businessmen into giving, it’s not in their self-interest.
-Yaron Brook

“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
-Alexis de Tocqueville

“If freedom led to wider inequality, I would prefer that to a world in which I got artificial equality at the expense of freedom. My objective, my god… is freedom of individuals to pursue their own values.”
-Milton Friedman
Free to Choose, 1980 PBS television series

“All people, however fanatical they may be in their zeal to disparage and to fight capitalism, implicitly pay homage to it by passionately clamoring for the products it turns out.”
-Ludwig von Mises

“[W]hich category of crimes does the State pursue and punish most intensely? [T]hose against private citizens or those against itself? The gravest crimes in the State’s lexicon are almost invariably not invasions of private person or property, but dangers to its own contentment, for example, treason, desertion of a soldier to the enemy, failure to register for the draft, subversion and subversive conspiracy, assassination of rulers and such economic crimes against the State as counterfeiting its money or evasion of its income tax.”
-Murray Rothbard
Anatomy of the State (1974)

“And he who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it, for in rebellion it has always the watch-word of liberty and its ancient privileges as a rallying point, which neither time nor benefits will ever cause it to forget.”
-Niccolò Machiavelli
The Prince (16th Century)

“I cannot fiddle, but I can make a great state from a little city.”

“Aqaba is over there. It’s only a matter of going.”
-Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence in the film ‘Lawrence of Arabia’

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was in vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
-T.E. Lawrence

“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”
-John Maynard Keynes
The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, ch. 24 (1936)

“The best business in the world is a well run oil company. The second best business in the world is a badly run oil company.”
-Attributed to John D. Rockefeller

“…the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.”
-Sun Tzu

“There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.”
-Sun Tzu

“Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and what isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.”
-Mark Twain

“I am sure, from the tenor of books I have read, that many who have visited this land in years gone by, were Presbyterians, and came seeking evidences in support of their particular creed; they found a Presbyterian Palestine, and they had already made up their minds to find no other, though possibly they did not know it, being blinded by their zeal. Others were Baptists, seeking Baptist evidences and a Baptist Palestine. Others were Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians, seeking evidences indorsing their several creeds, and a Catholic, a Methodist, an Episcopalian Palestine. Honest as these men’s intentions may have been, they were full of partialities and prejudices, they entered the country with their verdicts already prepared, and they could no more write dispassionately and impartially about it than they could about their own wives and children. Our pilgrims have brought their verdicts with them.”
-Mark Twain
The Innocents Abroad

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
-Upton Sinclair

“I love America more than any other country in this world; and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
-James Baldwin

“Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.”
-Henry Kissinger

“He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.”
-George Orwell

“Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”
-Josef Stalin

“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”
-Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi, An Autobiography, p. 446 (Beacon Press paperback edition)

“There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.”
-Henry David Thoreau
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
-Attributed to Isaac Newton, originated elsewhere

“The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
-Justice Louis Brandeis,
Olmstead v. United States

“Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”
-Daniel Webster

“Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.”
-Iago, Shakespeare’s Othello

“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart…”
-Antonio, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way, you are right.”
-Henry Ford

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’.”
-Henry Ford

“Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction. But be prepared for a lot of folks to wave you down and tell you you’re headed the wrong way. I guess in all my years, what I heard more often than anything was: a town of less than 50,000 population cannot support a discount store for very long.”
-Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart

“Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?”
-Steve Jobs, CEO, Chairman and Co-founder of Apple

“It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission.”
-Author Unknown

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
-Charles R. Swindoll

“There is but ONE thing in this world that I am determined to have… I will burn all bridges behind me, and stake my ENTIRE FUTURE on my ability to get what I want… Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success.”
-Napoleon Hill

“…‘new ideas’ are often old ideas repackaged and reinterpreted.”
-Jeff Hawkins, inventor of the Palm Pilot
On Intelligence

“Life without knowledge is death in disguise.”
-Mos Def