Love quotes, life quotes, marriage quotes, ambition quotes, etiquette quotes…I love quotes.

I search for them all the time, and I’ve built a nice collection over the years.
If you’ve stalked me on Goodreads, you’ve already seen some of my favorites.
Now, you have ALL of them.
They are brilliant. And since YOU are brilliant, I’m sharing them with you.

Take them all and rule the world!



Multi-authored quotes:

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
-Friedrich Nietzche


“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” -Jack Kerouac


“They…who await
No gifts from Chance, have conquered Fate.” -Matthew Arnold


“Don’t let them tame you.” -Isadora Duncan


“The number of those who undergo the fatigue of judging for themselves is very small indeed.” -Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Critic


“The optimist claims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” -James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion


“All honor’s wounds are self-inflicted.” -Andrew Carnegie


“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” -Khalil Gibran


“A kind soul knows impoliteness is just preoccupied with distraction.” -Mike Dolan



Ghandi quotes:

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.


We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.


Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.


The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.


The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.


A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.


In a gentle way, you can shake the world.


You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.



Robert Brault quotes:

I love Brault’s quotes (obviously). I’ve categorized them for easy navigation.



To truly know someone is to know the silence that stands for the thing they never speak of.

In the end, there doesn’t have to be anyone who understands you. There just has to be someone who wants to.

There are times in a relationship when we say things we regret, and discover they needed to be said, and regretted.

No relationship becomes as good as it can be until it has survived the thing most likely to break it.

The beauty of forgiveness is this — that it requires only a forgiving party.  It does not require a party worthy of forgiveness.

You can accept a falling-out that changes your plans, but it’s hard to accept a betrayal that changes your memories.

Is there a greater blessing than to have a friendship you don’t have to lose to appreciate?

So often we deny an apology to the person who most deserves it, and then one day they are gone, and we apologize to anyone who will listen.

The first step toward telling the truth is to tell the whole lie.



A family is a group of people who keep confusing you with someone you were as a kid.

Conscience is less an inner voice than the memory of a mother’s glance.



Having perfected our disguise, we spend our lives searching for someone we don’t fool.

What we find in a soul mate is not something wild to tame, but something wild to run with.

When I am gone, my love, do not look for me in the places we used to go to together.  Look for me in the places we always planned to go to together.

The greatest gift we give to someone who loves us is simply to be happy.

To commit to someone in life is to give up a thousand amusements for a single happiness.

The wedding is where two people become one.  The marriage is where they decide which one.

The hardest thing to learn in the game of love is when to fold a winning hand.

Occasionally it’s good to tell someone you love exactly what you would tell them if they had just died in your arms.



Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.

The most basic courtesy is to accept people for what they pretend to be, even when they pretend badly.

There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.

It’s a safe bet that someone who tells you you need to calm down has never actually seen you when you needed to calm down.

The willingness to share does not make one charitable; it makes one free.

You don’t take over a room by making everyone in it feel small.  You take over a room by making everyone in it feel noticed.

It’s not about getting people to like you.  It’s about getting people to like themselves when they’re with you.



Wisdom is not what you know but how quickly you adjust when the opposite proves true.

Sometimes we can’t find the thing that will make us happy, because we can’t let go of the thing that was supposed to.

Nothing in life means anything unless someone cares, and the whole trick is to keep being that someone.

We accept the weakness in others that makes them just like us, but we despise the weakness in ourselves that makes us just like them.

People aren’t ignoring you. They are busy with their lives, and the way to stop feeling ignored is to get busy with yours.

The danger of thinking you’re 100% right is that it’s the only way you can be 100% wrong.

It’s annoying to be disapproved of by people who know only half the story, especially when you’re not sure which half they know.

Sometimes you need to be calm, though raging underneath, and sometimes you need to rage, though calm underneath.

There is in every truth a wise saying, and in every contradiction, two wise sayings.



There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate.

A paranoid thinks that sinister forces are out to get him, not realizing that they are out to get everybody.

People are defined by the hardships they have endured or the hardships they have been spared, and you can always tell which.

It is so hard to realize that a good thing will never be a better thing and still let it be a good thing.

We are never paid for our time and effort.  We are paid to produce something, and occasionally it’s good to remember what it is.

I don’t deny reality, but I don’t exactly go looking for it, either.



Better you don’t search for who you are until you know who it is you want to find.

I enjoy both company and solitude, and in the company of my solitude, I find both.

Life is too short to wait for answers, especially when the answer nearly always is, “It’s up to you.”

Do things while you can, and while they matter to you, because neither is a permanent state of affairs.

If you will plant the seed and nourish the soil, the flower will shape itself.

There can be heroism in the moment, but courage is always in the day-to-day.

Two things are needed to succeed — a sensible plan and a willingness to stick to it when any sensible person would give up.

Let it be said of you that you had your shortcomings but being stopped by your shortcomings wasn’t one of them.

There is always a good excuse, always a reason not to.  The hardest freedom to win is freedom from our excuses.

The trouble with always leaving yourself a way out is that you always take it.The first requirement of success is to show up.  The second is to make it clear you’re not leaving.



Know thyself, especially thyself after a couple of drinks.

There are memories I choose not to live with, but we hang out at the same bar.



What you must realize about a hopeless situation is that it’s just a situation — you are the one supplying the hopelessness.

You know you’re an optimist when you find yourself saying things like, “Okay, I know the situation is temporarily hopeless.”

The trouble with spending your life acquiring wealth is that you never get wealthy enough to buy back your life.

May it be said of you that you relished the dance of life and went out applauding the band.

It’s all about attitude. If you could trade lives with a happy person, they would be just as happy with yours.



Now, for some headier stuff…

Favorite quotes from two chapters in Corey Anton’s phenomenal book, Communication Uncovered.

Buy his book. It’s brilliant. Anton was a professor of mine at GVSU. Coolest, smartest person I know. I still reference many of his works because he’s a genius.

Anton has graciously granted me permission to share these quotes from his book. If you wish to use them for your own purposes, please request permission from Anton. You can learn more about/contact Anton (and read some of his works) here and here.

I’ll group his Communication Uncovered quotes according to which page they’re found on. All quotes are taken direct, and all citations are Anton’s.



Favorite quotes from Chapter 11: “Words to Live By: Scholarly Quotations as Proverbial Theory,” pp. 129-145.

p. 133

Jacob Bohme: “Whatever the self describes, describes the self.”


p. 134

Cioran: “To exist is to plagiarize.”


Collingwood: “Understanding what someone says to you is thus attributing to him the idea which his words arouse in yourself.”
(In The Principles of Art. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1938, p. 250).


Baba Ram Das, formerly Richard Alpert: “Only that in you which is me can hear what I am saying.”


p. 135

Paul Fussell: “Your social class is still most clearly visible when you say things… ‘One’s speech is an unceasingly repeated public announcement about background and social standing,’ says John Brooks, translating into modern American Ben Johnson’s observation ‘Language most shows a man. Speak, that I may see thee.'”
(In Class. New York: Ballantine Books, 1983, p. 175).


Hans-Georg Gadamer: “Every understanding of the intelligible that helps others to understanding has the character of language. To that extent, the entire experience of the world is linguistically mediated.”
(In Philosophical Hermeneutics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1976, p. 99).


p. 136

William H. Gass: “We fall upon cliche as if it were a sofa and not a sword…it is true that prefab conversation frees the mind, yet rarely does the mind have a mind left after these interconnected cliches have conquered it.”
(In Habitations of the Word. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1985, p. 211).


Theodor Geiger: “Being confirmed by others frees me from being responsible for the absurdity of my belief.”
(as cited in Lee Thayer, On Communication. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1987, p. 9).


Kahlil Gibran–The Prophet–tells us,
“And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings, but cannot fly.”
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923, p. 60).


p. 137

Abraham Heschel: “The image of man affects the nature of man. We become what we think of ourselves.”
(In Who is man? Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1965, p. 10).


Werner Heisenberg: “What we see in nature is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”
(In The Physicists Conception of Nature. Trans. A.J. Pomerans. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1958).


William James: “Properly speaking, a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him and carry an image of him in their mind.”
(In Principles of Psychology, Vol. I. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1890, p. 179).


p. 137-138

Susanne K. Langer writes, “Peaches are too good to act as words; we are too much interested in peaches themselves. But little noises are the ideal conveyers of concepts, for they give us nothing but their meaning…Vocables in themselves are so worthless than we can cease to be aware of their physical presence at all, and become conscious only of their connotations, denotations, or other meanings. Our conceptual activity seems to flow through them, rather than merely accompany them, as it accompanies other experiences that we endow with significance.”
(In Philosophy in a New Key. New York: Mentor Books, 1948, pp. 61-62).


p. 140

Maurice Merleau-Ponty: “The wonderful thing about language is that it promotes its own oblivion; my eyes follow the lines on the paper, and from the moment I am caught up in their meaning, I lose sight of them.”
(In Phenomenology of Perception. Tans. Colin Smith Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. 1962, p. 401).


Maurice Merleau-Ponty: “One of the effects of language is to efface itself to the extent that its expression comes across…As I become engrossed in a book, I no longer see the letters on the page…all that remains is meaning. The perfection of language lies in its capacity to pass unnoticed…In the way it works, language hides itself from us.”
(In The Prose of the World, Trans. John O’Neil. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973, pp. 9-10).


p. 140-141

Dennis Mumby: “The most successful theories are judged not on their ability to reflect an objective reality, but on the extent to which they challenge us to engage in self-reflection and hence emancipation from conditions of discursive closure.”
(In Communication and Power in Organizations: discourse, ideology and domination. 1988. Norwood, NJ: Ablex publishers., p. XV).


p. 141

Friedrich Nietzsche: “He is a thinker; that means, he knows how to make things simpler than they are.”
(In The Gay Science. Trans. Kauffmann. Random House. Section 189, 1974, p. 205).


“We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are.”
(In Teaching as a Subversive Activity. Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, Dell Publishing Co., 1969).


p. 143

George Sefler: “Language and the world are two sides of one and the same reality. The world I know is known inseparably from the language I use.”
(In Language and the world: a methodological synthesis of the writings of Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1974, p. 188).


p. 144

Lee Thayer: “Is a theory of communication to be a theory of ideals, or of living?
Or a theory of the difference?
Or the difference itself?”
(In On Communication. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1987, p. 224).


p. 145

Paul Watzlawick: “If as he {Vico} says, the world that we experience and get to know is necessarily constructed by ourselves, it should not surprise us that it keeps relatively stable.”
(In The Invented Reality, New York: Norton & Company, 1984, p. 29).


Benjamin Whorf: “The world is presented to us in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds…We cut nature up, organize it in concepts, ascribe significance to it, largely because we are parties to an agreement to do it in that way.”
(“Science and Linguistics,” The Technology Review, 1940, 42, p. 231).



Favorite quotes from Chapter 12: “Aphorisms, Insights, and Other Cosmic Resources for Modern Intellectuals,” pp. 147-161.

Where no citation is included, the quote comes directly from Anton. Where it is included, the source has been parenthetically duplicated from Anton’s endnote/citation list.


p. 148

Capitalist anonymity: The more that people do no know who they are, the more time, energy, and money they spend on performing themselves.”


Interpersonal DialecticsIf you cannot be a different person with different people, then all of those people will be the same person. What makes people who they are is who you are when you’re with them.”
(From class notes in Lee Thayer’s course Communication and Human Condition.)


DialogueIf the bulk of everyday conversation is disguised persuasion or simply self-confirmation, then genuine dialogue is when two people risk not knowing who they’ll be at the end of their encounter.”


p. 148-149

Enviable Justice: Often the cry for justice is merely the howl of a green-eyed pain. If it were pruned of all envy, what would justice look like?”
(Cf. Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil.)


p. 149

Love and FreedomImagine a love potion where anyone who drinks it falls forever in love with the next person they see. Who would use such a concoction? Would love be love if it could not be withdrawn?”
(Cf. Julian Barnes’s “Parenthesis” from his A History of the World in 10½ Chapters.)


Gatherings: What must the nature of humanity be if, despite the fact that we had ‘forgotten all about it,’ we can unexpectedly feel remorse over a deed done long ago?”


The Taste of Soul Groves: Humans are the only kind of tree that can weep in the anguish of having failed to ripen its fruit. We are the only fruit that, ripe or not, must taste what it has become.”
(Cf. Walter Ong’s work on Gerard Manley Hopkins; also The Wisdom of the Sands by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.)


How to Have No Friends: A friend is someone who likes you more than you like yourself. This means that some people have no friends not because nobody likes them but because they like themselves more than anyone else possibly could.”


Not Having an Alibi: The most important words that you need to hear, only you can say. Too many things are left unsaid by those who forget that they themselves need to say them.”
(Cf. Mikhail Bakhtin’s Toward a Philosophy of the Act, and Michel Foucault later work, “About the Beginning of the Hermeneutics of the Self.”)


p. 150

The Community of the Silently Speaking SelfSolitude is a refuge for those who already contain multitudes.”
(Cf. William Gass’s Habitations of the Word.)


The Hypocrisy of Aspirations: We commonly think of people as either genuine or not. We thus forget the truth of moral history. We are the animal who can be a hypocrite, that is, the animal who can aspire.”
(Cf. Friedrich Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, also Kenneth Burke’s various writings on the “comic corrective.”)


Useless Recycling: Contemporary psychology has infected people with personal pasts in unprecedented ways. We learn from Nietzsche that most people today do not need any more self-understanding; they need to learn the arts of forgetting.”


Time for Distinction: Memory never feels much like thought until you can’t remember something. But the thought that we can’t remember we forgot is not even a thought temporarily forgotten. Who could say what it is?”


From the Other Shore: I wake up in the morning and start singing a song to myself, then I think, ‘I hate that song; why is it stuck in my head?’ The next thought to follow: ‘Well, someone must like it.'”
(Cf. Octavio Paz, The Bow and the Lyre.)


p. 151

For the Beautiful, Talented, Brilliant, or Well Dressed: The works of Erving Goffman advise against openly claiming for yourself attributes that others would willingly grant. You only need to state what can’t be taken for granted.”
(Cf. Erving Goffman’s “On-Face Work” from his book Interaction Ritual.)


p. 152

No Pity in Stupidity: When we learn a new word we often notice it used around us. This also means that we never hear all of the different words that we don’t know; all unknown words can seem the same, and so we easily pretend they are only a few.”


p. 153

Where and When: A dog never barks about the stranger who didn’t stop by yesterday.”


Mirrors and Windows: Speech is no mere mirror of reality: it opens the window through which we may escape.”


p. 154

Ode to Epictetus: There is one and only one freedom: the freedom to interpret.”


Who Needs Not Remember?: Too many students have failed to learn that the critical issue is who we become by way of study, not merely what we remember afterward.”


The Difference Between Books and Doorstops At first pass, a book can seem to be little more than a physical object present in a room. From that vantage, it’s easy to pretend that books and minds are basically separate. But, the ‘inside’ of a book is more like the drunken stupor that can be found in a bottle of alcohol. As books make their way inside us, we fall under their influence.”
(Cf. Richard Rorty’s essay in the Umberto Eco collection Interpretation and Overinterpretation, & Heidegger’s account of “in-being,” The History of the Concept of Time.)


p. 155

Non-Sense is No Constraint: Which option makes less sense: the universe arose out of nothing or it always was? Neither makes much sense and yet this does not preclude either option. Being is not limited by our ability to make sense.”


p. 156

The Twofold Attitude: The proper attitude toward our parents is the same as to the Gods. We should thank them and forgive them in the same gesture.”
(Cf. David K. Reynolds The Handbook for Constructive Living.)


Life StrategiesGet a group of people together and ask each person to write in good detail what they would do if they knew for certain that they had only 1 month left to live. Collect the responses. Now, repeat the exercise but this time on the condition that in one month, the world itself would cease to be. Why are the two sets of responses so different?”
(Cf. Zygmut Bauman’s Mortality, Immortality and Other Life-Strategies.)


p. 157

Wake UpDeath is not simply a future event that will one day come to pass, as if our only possible relation to it is anticipation. Death is right here right now, life’s picture frame. Not knowing that you are going to die would be like being in a dream but remaining unable to realize that you’re dreaming. All living things die, but awareness of death is the pre-condition for life’s meaningfulness.”
(Cf. Gregory Bateson’s, “A Theory of Plan and Fantasy,” from Steps to an Ecology of Mind.)


What’s on the Menu?If we must be food for worms, then let us hope to taste best to the bookworms.”


p. 158

You Were There!: We think back over our lives and say, ‘When I chose to do X, I just as well could have chosen to do Y or Z.’ Could there be a clearer case of pretending that we weren’t there? It is only your imagination that makes it possible for you to think you could have not been. Make no mistake, the only world that you could have not been in is the fictional one.”
(Cf. Mikhail Bakhtin’s Toward a Philosophy of the Act.)


Worry About it After You’ve Started: So many people want to fix their lives but don’t know where to start, so they don’t.”
(Class notes from Lee Thayer’s course “Language, Thought and Communication.”)


A Primer for Stoicism: Not everything that happens is good but it is always good to begin by accepting what already happened.”
(Cf. The Discourse of Epictetus.)


The Wherein of Decisions: Many decisions are made only in reference to our habits. Some people can decide to have a drink while others must decide to not have one.”


Recipe for PowerAccess only that information that you can and do act upon.”
(Cf. Lee Thayer’s Pieces.)


Contemporary Dostoevsky Agonizer: Unable to talk their parents out of sending them off, some college students have their revenge by dragging their feet, doing just enough to barely graduate, and then, as they move back home, jobless, they can have the last laugh: ‘I told you ‘it’ wouldn’t work.'”
(I remember Anton asking us in class: to whom is this type of student really “sticking it”? Who suffers?)



If all of these quotes haven’t blown your cortex to smithereens, then read Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer. Extremely quotable, that Hoffer.



So, which quote is your favorite? Any of these resonate with you? Do you have a favorite that isn’t listed here?  Please share your thoughts and favorites in the comments!



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