Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Josh Billings, pen name for Henry Wheeler Shaw, aka Uncle Esek

American Humorist

"(Silence) ... One of the hardest arguments to refute."

"Experience increases our wisdom, but doesn't reduce our follies."

"Don't mistake pleasure for happiness. They are a different breed of dogs."

"Consider the postage stamp my son: Its usefulness consists in its ability to stick to one thing until it gets there"

"Error will slip through a crack, while truth will stick in a doorway."

"Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one place."

"Experience is a school where a man learns what a big fool he has been."

"Experience is a grindstone and it is lucky for us if we get brigthened by it - not ground."

"Genius ain't anything more that elegant common sense."

"Happiness is where it is found, and seldom where it is sought."

"If men were stubborn just in proportion as they were right, stubbornness would take her seat among the virtues; but men are generally stubborn just in proportion as they are ignorant and wrong."

"I never knew a man who lived on hope but what spent his old age at somebody else's expense."

"If you ever find happiness by hunting for it, you will find it as the old woman did her lost spectacles - on her own nose all the time."

"It is the little things that fret and worry us; we can dodge an elephant, but we can't dodge a fly."

"It is a very delicate job to forgive a man, without lowering him in his estimations, and yours too."

"Money will buy a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail."

"Success does not consist in never making blunders, but in never making the same one the second time."

"Tears are a good alternative, but a poor diet."

"The easiest thing for our friends to discover in us, and the hardest thing for us to discover in ourselves, is that we are growing old."

"Silence is a still noise."

"Show me what a man envies the least in others and I will show you what he has got the most of himself."

"Men who have much to say use the fewest words."

"One of the rarest things that a man ever does is to do the best he can."

"Solitude; A good place to visit, but a poor place to stay."

"Successful writers learn at last what they should learn at first - to be intelligently simple."

"The happiest time in any man's life is when he is in red-hot pursuit of a dollar with a reasonable prospect of overtaking it."

"The less we know the more we suspect."

"The trouble with people is not that they don't know but that they know so much that ain't so."

"The soul has more diseases than the body."

"The truly innocent are those who not only are guiltless themselves, but who think others are."

"There are people who are always anticipating trouble, and in this way they manage to enjoy many sorrows that never really happen to them."

"There are two kinds of fools; those who can't change their opinions and those who won't."

"To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in awhile"

"There is nothing so easy to learn as experience and nothing so hard to apply."

"When a man loses his health, then he first begins to take good care of it."

"There is no limit to the vanity of this world. Each spoke in the wheel thinks the whole strength of the wheel depends upon it."

"Wisdom has never made a bigot, but learning has."

"Words are often seen hunting for an idea, but an idea is never seen hunting for words."

"Love looks through a telescope; envy, through a microscope."

"Trusting to luck is only another name for trusting to laziness."

"Every man has his follies and often they are the most interesting thing he had got."

"Human happiness consists in having what you want, and wanting what you have."

"It isn’t so astonishing, the number of things that I can remember, as the number of things I can remember that aren’t so."

"There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness."

"He whom prosperity humbles, and adversity strengthens, is the true hero."

"Ambition is like hunger; it obeys no law but its appetite. "

"Advice may be wrong, but examples prove themselves. "

"As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of demand. "

"A slander is like a hornet; if you cannot kill it dad the first blow, better not strike at it. "

"Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of. "