There are people who possess not so much genius as a certain talent for perceiving the desires of the century, or even of the decade, before it has done so itself.
To make clever people believe we are what we are not is in most instances harder than really to become what we want to seem to be.
What is called an acute knowledge of human nature is mostly nothing but the observer's own weaknesses reflected back from others.
You can make a good living from soothsaying but not from truth-saying.
There are people who think that everything one does with a serious face is sensible.
To read means to borrow; to create out of one's readings is paying off one's debts
What is the good of drawing conclusions from experience? I don’t deny we sometimes draw the right conclusions, but don’t we just as often draw the wrong ones?
You should never have so much to do that, to have no time to think.
There are two ways of extending life: firstly by moving the two points "born" and "died" farther away from one another... The other method is to go more slowly and leave the two points wherever God wills they should be, and this method is for the philosophers.
To receive applause for works which do not demand all our powers hinders our advance towards a perfecting of our spirit. It usually means that thereafter we stand still.
What makes our poetry so contemptible nowadays is its paucity of ideas. If you want to be read, invent. Who the Devil wouldn't like to read something new?
There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.
Too much is unwholesome.
What most clearly characterizes true freedom and its true employment is its misemployment.
There can hardly be stranger wares in the world than books: printed by people who do not understand them; sold by people who do not understand them; bound, reviewed and read by people who do not understand them; and now even written by people who do not understand them.
Virtue by premeditation isn't worth much.
When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book?
There exists a species of transcendental ventriloquism by means of which men can be made to believe that something said on earth comes from Heaven.
We are obliged to regard many of our original minds as crazy — at least until we have become as clever as they are.
When a book and a head collide and there is a hollow sound, is it always from the book?
There is no greater impediment to progress in the sciences than the desire to see it take place too quickly.
We can see nothing whatever of the soul unless it is visible in the expression of the countenance; one might call the faces at a large assembly of people a history of the human soul written in a kind of Chinese ideograms.
When an acquaintance goes by I often step back from my window, not so much to spare him the effort of acknowledging me as to spare myself the embarrassment of seeing that he has not done so.
There is no mistaking a good book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.
We cannot remember too often that when we observe nature, and especially the ordering of nature, it is always ourselves alone we are observing.