Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mark Twain's Wit and Wisdom for Personal Strength

Novelists have a way with words, of course, but perhaps the most quotable novelist of all time was Mark Twain (1835-1910). 

His given name was Samuel Longhorne Clemens, and he grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. Famous for the American classics Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), he also wrote dozens of other works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1867), Life on the Mississippi (1876), The Prince and the Pauper (1882), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889). He achieved fame as a novelist, a humorist, and a satirist. He was a literary legend in his own time. William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature."

Here's a dozen of my favorites, all of which contain his special blend of wit and wisdom...

On INTEGRITY - “Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”

On COMPASSION - “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."

On HONESTY - “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”

On EFFORT - “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive. But it is the lightning that does the work.”

On INITIATIVE - “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

On OPEN-MINDEDNESS - “Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”

On SELF-DEVELOPMENT - “Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.”

On FRIENDSHIP - “To get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with."

On RATIONALITY - "For every complex problem, there is a simple answer...and it is wrong." 

On CHARACTER - “Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” 

On SELF-ESTEEM - “When you cannot get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.” 

On HUMOR - “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .


Sean said...

He was truly one of the greatest authors. Few today can come close to matching his spirit.

Unknown said...

Great quotes. He was quite a character as well as a great author.

Tom 2 tall