Michel De Montaigne
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"Michel Eyquem de Montaigne" was one of the most influential philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual exercises with casual anecdotes and autobiography—and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as "Attempts" or "Trials") contains, to this day, some of the most influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct influence on writers all over the world, including René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Albert Hirschman, William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer, Isaac Asimov, and possibly on the later works of William Shakespeare.

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The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.

Wise men have more to learn of fools than fools of wise men.

There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.

I will follow the right side even to the fire, but excluding the fire if I can.

I believe it to be true that dreams are the true interpreters of our inclinations; but there is art required to sort and understand them.

He who has not a good memory should never take upon himself the trade of lying.

He who fears will suffer, he already suffers from his fear.

Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.

No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately.

Poverty of goods is easily cured; poverty of soul, impossible.

Fashion is the science of appearances, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be.

He who establishes his argument by noise and command, shows that his reason is weak.

The value of life is not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet very little.

Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a flea, yet he makes gods by the dozens.

A man of understanding has lost nothing, if he has himself.

The thing in the world I am most of afraid of is fear, and with good reason,that passion alone in the trouble of it exceeding other accidents.

Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.

I speak the truth not so much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older.

It is easier to write an indifferent poem than to understand a good one.

In the education of children there is nothing like alluring the interest and affection, otherwise you only make so many asses laden with books.

It is good to rub and polish our brain against that of others.

I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself.

The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure.

There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.

We can be knowledgeable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom.

Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our own bottom.

Each man calls barbarism what is not his own practice for indeed it seems we have no other test of truth and reason that the example and pattern of the opinions and customs of the country we live in.

When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind.

He who is not very strong in memory should not meddle with lying.

There is as much difference between us and ourselves as there is between us and others.

There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.

When all is summed up, a man never speaks of himself without loss; his accusations of himself are always believed; his praises never.

When I play with my cat, who knows whether she is not amusing herself with me more than I with her.

Malice sucks up the greater part of her own venom, and poisons herself.

Ambition is not a vice of little people.

Since we cannot match it let us take our revenge by abusing it.

So it is with minds. Unless you keep them busy with some definite subject that will bridle and control them, they throw themselves in disorder hither and yon in the vague field of imagination... And there is no mad or idle fancy that they do not bring forth in the agitation.

Don't discuss yourself, for you are bound to lose; if you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved.

To philosophize is to doubt.

Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.

I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.

If there is such a thing as a good marriage, it is because it resembles friendship rather than love.

I have never seen a greater monster or miracle in the world than myself.

I quote others only in order the better to express myself.

Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.

The most profound joy has more of gravity than of gaiety in it.

Even on the highest throne in the world, we are still sitting on our ass.

A wise man sees as much as he ought, not as much as he can.