Mark Twain
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"Samuel Langhorne Clemens", better known by his pen name "Mark Twain", was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "the Great American Novel".

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

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Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

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

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

All generalizations are false, including this one.

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

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.

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

We all have thoughts that would shame the devil.

You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it.

I have spent most of my time worrying about things that have never happened.

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.

The report of my death was an exaggeration.

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

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

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

In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.

It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

When you cannot get a compliment any other way pay yourself one.

[He was] a solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg who looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity.

Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.

There is nothing so annoying as to have two people talking when you're busy interrupting.

I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can't find anybody who can tell me what they want.

Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.

It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.

Let us not be too particular; it is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all.

Principles have no real force except when one is well fed.

Man is the only animal that blushes -- or needs to.

Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of.

When I think of the number of disagreeable people that I know who have gone to a better world, I am sure hell won't be so bad at all.

There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist, except an old optimist.

There ought to be a room in every house to swear in.

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

You can't pray a lie.

Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made.

We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read.

Quitting smoking is easy, I've done it thousands of times.

The best coffee in Europe is Vienna coffee, compared to which all other coffee is fluid poverty.

What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.

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

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

I was born modest. Not all over, but in spots.

Sane and intelligent human beings are like all other human beings, and carefully and cautiously and diligently conceal their private real opinions from the world and give out fictitious ones in their stead for general consumption.

To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know, I've done it a thousand times.

At the beginning of a great national change, the patriot is a scarce man: scorned, ridiculed and forgotten. When his cause succeeds, however, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.

Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others.

Fleas can be taught nearly anything a congressman can.

The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.

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

I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.

Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.

In this world one must be like everybody else if he doesn't want to provoke scorn or envy or jealousy.

To create man was a fine and original idea; but to add sheep was a tautology.

So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: 'Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor's religion is.' Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code.

The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.

Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.

Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

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.

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

I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.

I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.

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

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don't know.

It is easier to stay out than get out.

Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

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

It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it.

I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.

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.

Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.

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

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

Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

When in doubt, tell the truth.

The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.

Never tell the truth to those unworthy of it....

The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

I am prepared to meet anyone, but whether anyone is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said, 'I don't know.'

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

Get your facts first and then you can distort them as much as you wish.

Of the delights of this world man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.

I believe I have no prejudices whatsoever. All I need to know is that a man is a member of the human race. That's bad enough for me.

Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.

The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit.

When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet deep down in his private heart no man much respects himself.

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

Sacred cows make the best hamburger.

How come we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.

'All say, 'How hard it is to die' - a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.

'Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.

'One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.

'When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.

Golf is a good walk spoiled.

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

Virtue has never been as respectable as money.

Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.

In Marseilles they make half the toilet soap we consume in America, but the Marseillaise only have a vague theoretical idea of its use, which they have obtained from books of travel.

It could probably be show by facts and figures that there is no distinctively native American criminal class except Congress.

If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be - a Christian.

A man never reaches that dizzy height of wisdom that he can no longer be led by the nose.

I admire the serene assurance of those who have religious faith. It is wonderful to observe the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces.

The holy passion of Friendship is so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

There are times when one would like to end the whole human race, and finish the farce.

If you take a dog which is starving and feed him and make him prosperous, that dog will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a dog and a man.

I did not attend his funeral, but I wrote a nice letter saying I approved it.

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre but they are more deadly in the long run.

If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill always came together, who would escape hanging?

This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.

Carlyle said, 'A lie cannot live'; it shows he did not know how to tell them.

It's a good idea to obey all the rules when you're young just so you'll have the strength to break them when you're old.

In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.

Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than on all other days of the year put together. This proves, by the numbers left in stock, that one Fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so.

Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

We all live in the protection of certain cowardices which we call our principles.

Barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.

One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that the cat has only nine lives.

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. (Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.)

I never could tell a lie that anybody would doubt, nor a truth that anybody would believe.

A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.

I never write Metropolis for seven cents because I can get the same price for city. I never write policeman because I can get the same money for cop.

Of the delights of this world, man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Adam, the first great benefactor of the human race: he brought death into the world.

Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.

If we had less statemanship we could get along with fewer battleships.

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.

He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it - namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.

The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible.

By trying, we can endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.

Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principle one was that they escaped teething.

Providence protects children and idiots. I know because I have tested it.

Great people are those who make others feel that they, too, can become great.

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.

In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.

There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.

There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.

By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.

I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time.

Somewhere between the Angels and the French lies the rest of humanity.

If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas.

I did it partly because it was worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again.

I can live two months on a good compliment.

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

An enemy can partly ruin a man, but it takes a good-natured injudicious friend to complete the thing and make it perfect.

A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.

The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people.

Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment escaped but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment.

I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.

Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.

When a person cannot deceive himself the chances are against his being able to deceive other people.

We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.

Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds upon the heel that crushes it.

The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that 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.

Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.

So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.

[Mankind] is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong, but no matter, the crowd follows it.

It is noble to teach oneself, it is still nobler to teach others.

[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.

When I was fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

October is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. Others are July, January, April, September, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.

There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angelship.

Golf is a good walk, ruined.

Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.

Of all the creatures that were made, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood he is the only one--the solitary one--that possesses malice. That is the basest of all instincts, passions, vices--the most hateful. He is the only creature that has pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. Also--in all the list he is the only creature that has a nasty mind.

I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed.

New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.

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

A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

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 a man.

Just the omission of Jane Austen's books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it.

Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.

Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.

In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.

Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.

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

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.

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

Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.

We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly.

If a person offend you and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures. Simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick.

Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion.

It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain when awake.

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.

George Washington as a boy was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth - he could not even lie.

It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to bring the news to you.

Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him until he emerges on the other side of his atlantic with his verb in his mouth.

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it--and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit on a hot stove lid again--and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.

I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.

It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race.

The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.

An Englishman is a person who does things because they have been done before. An American is a person who does things because they haven't been done before.

The history of our race, and each individual's experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.

The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession, what there is of it.

Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.

I have never examined the subject of humor until now. I am surprised to find how much ground it covers. I have got its divisions and frontiers down on a piece of paper. I find it defined as a production of the brain, as the power of the brain to produce something humorous, and the capacity of percieving humor.

Those who say truth is stranger than fiction have wasted their time on poorly written fiction.

The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong; he can swear and still be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way.

All say, 'How hard it is that we have to die'--a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.

I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won't.

When a disciple from the wildcat religious asylum comes marching forth, get under the bed. It doesn't matter whether he's a Christian, Hindu, Jew or Muslim.

If there is a God, He is a malign thug.

The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.

I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.

By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity -- another man's I mean.

Are you so unobservant that you do not yet realize that sanity and hapiness are an impossible combination?

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