Mark Twain (pocketbook) - Wit & Wisecracks:
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.
It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.
Adam was human -- this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.
History is better than prophecy. In fact history says that whenever a weak and ignorant people possess a thing which a strong and enlightened people want, it must be yielded up peaceably.
I never could tell a lie that anybody would doubt, nor a truth that anybody would believe.
The way it is now, the asylums can hold the sane people, but if we tried to shut up the insane we should run out of building materials.
Emotions are among the toughest things in the world to manufacture out of whole cloth: it is easier to manufacture seven facts than one emotion.
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's I mean.
When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.
Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is knows how deep a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great benefactor of our race. He brought death into the world.
Classic: A book which people praise and don't read.
Happiness ain't a thing in itself-- it's only a contrast with something that ain't pleasant.
Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.
Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
A sin takes on new and real terrors when there seems a chance that it is going to be found out.
Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist but you have ceased to live.
Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
When whole races and peoples conspire to propagate gigantic mute lies in the interest of tyrannies and shams, why should we care anything about the trifling lies told by individuals?
Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered-- either by themselves or by others.
Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.
To succeed in the other trades, capacity must be shown; in the law, concealment of it will do.
Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
When a person cannot deceive himself the chances are against his being able to deceive other people.
It takes some little time to accept and realize the fact that while you have been growing old, your friends have not been standing still.
Against a diseased imagination demonstration goes for nothing.
Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.
We despise all reverences and all the objects of reverence which are outside the pale of our own list of sacred things. And yet, with strange inconsistency, we are shocked when other people despise and defile the things which are holy to us.
It isn't what sum you get, it's how much you can buy with it, that's the important thing; and it's that that tells whether your wages are high in fact or only high in name.
I thoroughly disapprove of duels. I consider them unwise and I know they are dangerous. Also, sinful. If a man should challenge me now I would go to that man and take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet retired spot and kill him.
I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.
There are several good protections against temptation: but the surest is cowardice.
We have not the reverent feeling for the rainbow that the savage has, because we know how it is made. We have lost as much as we gained by prying into that matter.
It was ever thus, all through my life: whenever I had diverged from custom and principle and uttered a truth, the rule has been that the hearer hadn't strength of mind enough to believe it.
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. How strange it is!
It is sound judgment to put on a bold face and play your hand for a hundred times what it is worth; forty-nine times out of fifty nobody dares to "call," and you roll in the chips.
Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
It is not worth while to strain one's self to tell the truth to people who habitually discount everything you tell them, whether it is true or isn't.
He had no principles and was delightful company.
Often it does seem such a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.
Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
Truth is stranger than Fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
Carlyle said "a lie cannot live." It shows that he did not know hot to tell them.
The timid man yearns for full value, and asks a tenth; the bold man strikes for double value, and compromises at par.
No brute ever does a cruel thing-- that is the monopoly of those with the moral sense. When a brute inflicts pain he does it innocently; it is not wrong; for him there is no such thing as wrong. And he does not inflict pain for the pleasure of inflicting it-- only man does that.
There is an old-time toast which is golden for its beauty: "When you ascend the hill of prosperity may you not meet a friend."
My mother had a great deal of trouble with me but I think she enjoyed it.
What are the proper proportions of a maxim? A minimum of sound to a maximum of sense.
Why is it that we rejoice at birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Let us not be too particular. It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all.
I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn't know.
Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.
In these latter days it seems hard to realize that there was ever a time when the robbing of our government was a novelty.
Each boy has one or two sensitive spots and if you can find out where they are located you have only to touch them and you can scorch him as with fire.
Forget and forgive. This is not difficult, when properly understood. It means that you are to forget inconvenient duties, and forgive yourself for forgetting. In time, by rigid practice and stern determination, it comes easy.
The proverb says that Providence protects children and idiots. This is really true. I know it because I have tested it.
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.
There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race and finish the farce.
Consider well the proportion of things. It is better to be a young June-bug than and old bird of paradise.
There are people who think that honesty is always the best policy. This is a superstition; there are times when the appearance of it is worth six of it.
No people in the world ever did achieve their freedom by goody-goody talk and moral suasion: it being immutable law that all revolutions that will succeed must begin in blood, whatever may answer afterward.
There are those who scoff at the schoolboy, calling him frivolous and shallow. Yet it was the schoolboy who said, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.
Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.
Custom is a petrifaction; nothing but dynamite can dislodge it for a century.
Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.
When I reflect upon the number of disagreeable people who I know have gone to a better world, I am moved to lead a different life.
Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God.
If a man doesn't believe as we do, we say he is a crank, and that settles it. I mean it does nowadays, because we can't burn him.
We ought to never do wrong when people are looking.