Mark Twain Best Quotes

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 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”. Enjoy Mark Twain’s best quotes below.

“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.”
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
“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.”
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
“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.”
“Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”
“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.”
“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
“The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”
“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.”
“The lack of money is the root of all evil.”
“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”
“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.”
“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”
“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”
“The trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.”
“In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.”
“When in doubt tell the truth.”
“Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”
“Honesty is the best policy – when there is money in it.”
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – ’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”
“I don’t like to commit myself about heaven and hell – you see, I have friends in both places.”
“There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.”
“The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.”
“Humor must not professedly teach and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever.”
“All emotion is involuntary when genuine.”
“When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.”
“The educated Southerner has no use for an ‘r’, except at the beginning of a word.”
“If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but deteriorate the cat.”
“George Washington, as a boy, was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie.”
“The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow; there is no humor in Heaven.”
“Words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself.”
“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
“Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”
“Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul. “
“I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough.”
“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
“But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?”
“Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.”
“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”
“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
“It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.”
“Let us not be too particular; it is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all.”
“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”
“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”
“When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old.”
“There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”
“It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it.”
“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.”
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
“All generalizations are false, including this one.”
“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”
“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”
“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
“It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.”
“Man was made at the end of the week’s work, when God was tired.”
“The Christian’s Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same, but the medical practice changes.”
“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.”
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”
“Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written.”
“What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself.”
“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”
“When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.”
“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”
“The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”
“All right, then, I’ll go to hell.”
“The finest clothing made is a person’s own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.”
“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
“I have never taken any exercise, except sleeping and resting, and I never intend to take any.”
“How lucky Adam was. He knew when he said a good thing, nobody had said it before.”
“As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain from smoking when awake.”
“I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’”
“A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.”
“Grief can take care if itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.”
“When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.”
“Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”
“Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.”
“A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape.”
“Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid.”
“Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.”
“If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later.”
“Let us endeavor so to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
“Laws control the lesser man… Right conduct controls the greater one.”
“The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.”
“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”
“There are people who can do all fine and heroic things but one – keep from telling their happiness to the unhappy.”
“Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.”
“Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.”
“Necessity is the mother of taking chances.”
“Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.”
“Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.”
“In ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had.”
“Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.”
“The main difference between a cat and a lie is that a cat only has nine lives.”
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
“God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board.”
“It put our energies to sleep and made visionaries of us – dreamers and indolent… It is good to begin life poor; it is good to begin life rich – these are wholesome; but to begin it prospectively rich! The man who has not experienced it cannot imagine the curse of it.”
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”
“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”
“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”
“It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.”
“When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet in his private heart no man much respects himself.”
“Lord save us all from old age and broken health and a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.”
“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
“Optimist: day dreamer more elegantly spelled.”
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
“We have the best government that money can buy.”
“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”
“Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”
“It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.”
“What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce.”
“The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.”
“Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.”
“Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.”
“Everything has its limit – iron ore cannot be educated into gold.”
“Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.”
“It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
“It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.”
“The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.”
“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
“Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.”
“When red-haired people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn.”
“No sinner is ever saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.”
“It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races.”
“Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins.”
“Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.”
“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.”
“What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.”
“Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which, before their union, were not perceived to have any relation.”
“When a person cannot deceive himself the chances are against his being able to deceive other people.”
“Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.”
“Golf is a good walk spoiled.”
“Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.”
“‘Classic.’ A book which people praise and don’t read.”
“There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.”
“Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.”
“I make it a rule never to smoke while I’m sleeping.”
“Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.”
“The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.”
“I never smoke to excess – that is, I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time.”
“There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.”
“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”
“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”
“She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.”
“The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.”
“Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.”
“Prophesy is a good line of business, but it is full of risks.”
“The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it.”
“Often it does seem such a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.”
“Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.”
“Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.”
“There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race, and finish the farce.”
“There is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress.”
“Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”
“To be good is noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and no trouble.”
“We are all alike, on the inside.”
“I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.”
“To refuse awards is another way of accepting them with more noise than is normal.”
“If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.”
“One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.”
“Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial ‘we.’”
“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”
“I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up.”
“It is easier to stay out than get out.”
“Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own.”
“Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.”
“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.”
“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
“Familiarity breeds contempt – and children.”
“Better a broken promise than none at all.”
“Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.”
“Repartee is something we think of twenty-four hours too late.”
“Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ain’t so.”
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
“The wit knows that his place is at the tail of a procession.”
“I’ve never let my school interfere with my education.”
“I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.”
“The Public is merely a multiplied ‘me.’”
“Few of us can stand prosperity. Another man’s, I mean.”
“Man is the only animal that blushes – or needs to.”
“In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
“My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water.”
“I never let schooling interfere with my education.”
“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
“Prosperity is the best protector of principle.”
“We Americans… bear the ark of liberties of the world.”
“By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man’s, I mean.”
“He is now rising from affluence to poverty.”

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