Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Books

"The best books are those which best teach men how to live." - Israel Abrahams

"I am not collecting my knowledge from letters and books, but I have it within my own Self; because heaven and earth with all their inhabitants, and moreover God himself, is in man." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"Books are the beehives of thought; laconics the honey taken from them." -

"There is a sort of knowledge beyond the power of learning to bestow, and this is to be had in conversation; so necessary is this to the understanding the characters of men, that none are more ignorant of them than those learned pedants whose lives have been entirely consumed in colleges and among books; for however exquisitely human nature may have been described by writers the true practical system can be learned only in the world." - Henry Fielding

"It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds; and these invaluable communication are within the reach of all." - Stéphanie Félicité, Comtesse de Genlis, born Stéphanie Félicité Ducrest de Saint-Aubin

"The silent influence of books, is a mighty power in the world; and there is a joy in reading them known only to those who read them with desire and enthusiasm. Silent, passive, and noiseless though they be, they yet set in action countless multitudes and change the order of nations." - Henry Giles

"Be as careful of the books you read as the company you keep. Your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter." - Edwin Paxton Hood

"Everything was possessed of personality, only different from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty... Observation was certain to have its rewards. Interest, wonder, admiration grew, and the fact was appreciated that life was more than mere human manifestation; it was expressed in a multitude of forms. This appreciation enriched Lakota existence. Life was vivid and pulsating; nothing was casual and commonplace. The Indian lived - lived in every sense of the word - from his first to his last breath." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"The attempted transformation of the Indian by the white man and the chaos that has resulted are but the fruits of the white man’s disobedience of a fundamental and spiritual law. “Civilization” has been thrust upon me since the days of reservations, and it has not added one whit to my sense of justice, to my reverence for the rights of life, to my love of truth, honesty, and generosity, or to my faith in Wakan Tanka, God of the Lakotas. For after all the great religions have been preached and expounded, or have been revealed by brilliant scholars, or have been written in fine books and embellished in fine language with finer covers, man - all man - is still confronted with the Great Mystery." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and province, but order and tranquillity in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, to rule, to lay up treasure, to build, are at most but little appendices and props." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The great and good do not die even in this world. Embalmed in books, their spirits walk abroad. The book is a living voice. It is an intellect to which one still listens." - Samuel Smiles

"It is taught that willing and voluntary service to others is the highest duty and glory in human life... The men of talent are constantly forced to serve the rest. They make the discoveries and inventions, order the battles, write the books, and produce the works of art. The benefit and enjoyment go to the whole. There are those who joyfully order their own lives so that they may serve the welfare of mankind." - William Graham Sumner

"This is man: a writer of books, a putter-down of words, a painter of pictures, a maker of ten thousand philosophies. He grows passionate over ideas, he hurls scorn and mockery at another's work, he finds the one way, the true way, for himself, and calls all others false--yet in the billion books upon the shelves there is not one that can tell him how to draw a single fleeting breath in peace and comfort. He makes histories of the universe, he directs the destiny of the nations, but he does not know his own history, and he cannot direct his own destiny with dignity or wisdom for ten consecutive minutes. " - Thomas Wolfe, fully Thomas Clayton Wolfe

"You are the greatest investment. The more you store in that mind of yours, the more you enrich your experience, the more people you meet, the more books you read, and the more places you visit, the greater is that investment in all that you are. Everything that you add to your peace of mind, and to your outlook upon life, is added capital that no one but yourself can dissipate." - George Matthew Adams

"Old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, old books to read." - Alonzo of Arragon NULL

"There is nothing that solidifies and strengthens a nation like reading of the nation’s own history, whether that history is recorded in books, or embodied in customs, institutions, and monuments." - Joseph Anderson, fully Joseph Inslee Anderson

"Books are no substitute for living, but they can add immeasurably to its richness. When life is absorbing, books can enhance our sense of its significance. When life is difficult, they can give us momentary release from trouble or a new insight into our problems, or provide the hours of refreshment we need." - May Hill Arbuthnot

"The reason so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know something." - Walter Bagehot

"The lively and mercurial are as open books, with the leaves turned down at the notable passages. Their souls sit at the windows of their eyes, seen and to be seen." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Books are embalmed minds." - John Christian Bovee

"How willingly I would as a poet exchange some of this lumbering, ponderous, helpless knowledge of books for some experience of life and man. But all this grumbling is a vile thing." - Elizabeth Browning, fully Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"Books are but waste paper unless we spend in action the wisdom we get from thought." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"In science, read, by preference, the newest works; in literature, the oldest. The classic literature is always modern. New books revive and redecorate old ideas; old books suggest and invigorate new ideas." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"The oldest books are still only just out to those who have not read them." - Samuel Butler

"Religion is not a perpetual moping over good books. Religion is not even prayer, praise, holy ordinances, these are necessary to religion - no man can be religious without them. But religion is mainly and chiefly the glorifying of god amid the duties and trials of the world; the guiding of our course amid adverse winds and currents of temptation by the sunlight of duty and the compass of Divine truth, the bearing up manfully, wisely, courageously, for the honor of Christ, our great Leader in the conflict of life." - John Caird

"God be thanked for books; they are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages." - William Ellery Channing

"It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours." - William Ellery Channing

"It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds." - William Ellery Channing

"The best books for a man are not always those which the wise recommend, but often those which meet the peculiar wants, the natural thirst of his mind, and therefore awaken interest and rivet thought." - William Ellery Channing

"It is a good thing to read books of quotations. The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more." -

"Books are a guide in youth, and an entertainment for age. They support us under solitude, and keep us from becoming a burden to ourselves. They help us to forget the crossness of men and things, composed our cares and our passions, and lay our disappointments asleep. When we are weary of living, we may repair to the dead, who have nothing of peevishness, pride or design in their conversation." - Jeremy Collier

"Half the gossip of society would perish if the books that are truly worth reading are read." - George Dawson

"When I want to discover something, I begin by reading up everything that has been done along that line in the past, that's is what all these books in the library are for. I see what has been accomplished at great labor and expense in the past. I gather the data of many thousands of experiments as a starting point, and then I make thousands of more." -

"Bad books are like intoxicating drinks; they furnish neither nourishment, nor medicine. Both improperly excite; the one the mind; the other by body. The desire for each increases by being fed. Both ruin; one the intellect; the other the health; and together, the soul. The safeguard against each is the same - total abstinence from all that intoxicates either body or mind." - Tyron Edwards

"Nature and revelation are alike God's books; each may have mysteries, but in each there are plain practical lessons for everyday duty." - Tyron Edwards

"Think as well as read, and when you read. Yield not your minds to the passive impressions which others may make upon them. Hear what they have to say; but examine it, weight it, and judge for yourselves. This will enable you to make a right use of books - to use them as helpers, not as guides to your understanding; as counselors, not as dictators of what you are to think and believe." - Tyron Edwards

"We should be as careful of the books we read, as of the company we keep. The dead very often have more power than the living." - Tyron Edwards

"In the first place, the human mind, no matter how highly trained, is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many tongues. The little child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books - a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind to God. And because I believe this, I am not an atheist." - Albert Einstein

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends and the most patient of teachers." - Charles W. Eliot

"A man's life is made by the hours when great ideas lay hold upon him. And, except by way of living persons, there is no channel down which great ideas come oftener into human lives than by way of books." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"We live too much in books and not enough in nature, and we are very much like the simpleton of a Pliny the Younger, who went on studying a Greek author while before his eyes Vesuvius was overwhelming five cities beneath the ashes." - Anatole France, pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault

"Reading is a joy, but not an unalloyed joy. Books do not make life easier or more simple, but harder and more interesting." - Harry Golden, born Herschel Goldhirsch

"What a convenient and delightful world is this world of books! - if you bring to it not the obligation of the student, or look upon it as an opiate for idleness, but enter it rather with the enthusiasm of the adventurer!" -

"I have ever gained the most profit, and the most pleasure also, from the books which have made me think the most: and, when the difficulties have once been overcome, these are the books which have struck the deepest root, not only in my memory and understanding, but likewise in my affections." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"There is one type of feeling which is above all important to foster in childhood. Children have naturally an abundant faculty for wonder and reverence. There are so many books, so many radio and television hours, so many encyclopedias and, alas, so many teachers whose aim is to import knowledge quickly and easily without any element of that faculty which the Greeks said was the beginning of philosophy – Wonder. It is strange that an age which has discovered so many marvels in the universe should be so conspicuously lacking in the sense of wonder." - A. C. Harwood

"Wherever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn people." - Heinrich Heine

"To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves." - Claude-Adrien Helvétius

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal." - Lenore Hershey

"The advice of the elders to young men is very apt to be as unreal as a list of the hundred best books." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.