Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Genius

"Gentleness in the gait is what simplicity is in the dress. Violent gesture or quick movement inspires involuntary disrespect. One looks for a moment at a cascade; but one sits for hours, lost in thought, and gazing upon the still water of a lake. A deliberate gait, gentle manners, and a gracious tone of voice - all of which may be acquired - give a mediocre man an immense advantage over those vastly superior to him. To be bodily tranquil, to speak little, and to digest without effort are absolutely necessary to grandeur of mind or of presence, or to proper development of genius." - Honoré de Balzac

"Necessity is often the spur to genius." - Honoré de Balzac

"As diamond cuts diamond, and one hone smoothes a second, all the parts of intellect are whetstones to each other; and genius, which is but the result of their mutual sharpening, is character, too." -

"Action, so to speak, is the genius of nature." - Hugh Blair

"True great genius is always accompanied with good sense." - James Boswell

"I have observed that vulgar readers almost always lose their veneration for the writings of the genius with whom they have had personal intercourse." - Samuel Egerton Brydges

"Genius is but a greater aptitude for patience." - Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

"Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity, and truth accomplishes not victories without it." -

"Every man who observes vigilantly and resolves steadfastly grows unconsciously into genius." -

"Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm; it moves stones, it charms brutes. Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity and truth accomplishes no victories without it." -

"Fiction is no longer a mere amusement; but transcendent genius, accommodating itself to the character of the age, has seized upon this province of literature, and turned fiction from a toy into a mighty engine." - William Ellery Channing

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." - Calvin Coolidge, fully John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

"Enthusiasm is that secret and harmonious spirit which hovers over the production of genius." -

"There is but one book for genius - nature." - Madame Deluzy, Luzy Dorothee

"Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." -

"He who seldom speaks, and with one calm well-timed word can strike dumb the loquacious, is a genius or a hero." -

"The first virtue of all really great men is that they are sincere. They eradicate hypocrisy from their hearts. They bravely unveil their weaknesses, their doubts, their defects. They are courageous. They boldly ride a-tilt against prejudices. They love their fellow-men profoundly. They are generous. They allow their hearts to expand. They have compassion for all forms of suffering. Pity is the very foundation-stone of Genius." - Anatole France, pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault

"Genius is nothing but a greater aptitude for patience." - Benjamin Franklin

"Heroism is active genius; genius, contemplative heroism. Heroism is the self-devotion of genius manifesting itself in action." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"Heroism is the self-devotion of genius manifesting itself in action." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"Genius is nothing but continued attention." - Claude-Adrien Helvétius

"Inspiration and genius - one and the same." - Victor Hugo

"Curiosity, or the love of knowledge, has a very limited influence, and requires youth, leisure, education, genius and example to make it govern any person." - David Hume

"The spirit of the people must frequently be roused, in order to curb the ambition of the court; and the dread of rousing this spirit must be employed to prevent that ambition. Nothing so effectual to this purpose as the liberty of the press; by which all the learning, wit, and genius of the nation, may be employed on the side of freedom, and every one be animated to its defense." - David Hume

"In ethical, psychological and aesthetic matters, to give a clear reason for one’s judgment is universally recognized as a mark of rare genius. The helplessness of uneducated people account for their likes and dislikes is often ludicrous." - William James

"There is an everlasting struggle in every mind between the tendency to keep unchanged, and the tendency to renovate, its ideas. Our education is a ceaseless compromise between the conservative and the progressive factors... Most of us grow more and more enslaved to the stock conceptions with which we have once become familiar, and less and less capable of assimilating impressions in any but the old ways... Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way." - William James

"The true genius is a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction." -

"Those who, in the confidence of superior capacities or attainments, neglect the common maxims of life, should be reminded that nothing will supply the want of prudence; but that negligence and irregularity, long continued will make knowledge useless, with ridiculous, and genius contemptible." -

"The greatness of a popular character is less according to the ratio of his genius than the sympathy he shows with the prejudices and even the absurdities of his time. Fanatics do not select the cleverest, but the most fanatical leaders." -

"Genius always gives its best at first; prudence, at last." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"He alone is a man who can resist the genius of the age, the tone of fashion, with vigorous simplicity and modest courage." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"A strong determination to get the best out of life; a keen desire to enjoy what one has, and no regrets if one fails; this is the secret of the Chinese genius for contentment." -

"Genius is eternal patience." -

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - W. H. Murray, fully William Hutchinson Murray

"The genius - in his works, in his deeds - is necessarily a prodigal: his greatness lies in the fact that he expends himself." -

"Success in business does not depend upon genius. Any young man of ordinary intelligence who is normally sound and not afraid to work should succeed in spite of obstacles and handicaps if he plays the game fairly and keeps everlastingly at it." - J. C. Penney, formally James Cash Penney

"Every positive value has its price in negative terms, and you never see anything very great which is not, at the same time, horrible in some respect... the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima. " - Pablo Picasso, fully Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso

"If there be anything that can be called genius, it consists chiefly in ability to give that attention to a subject which keeps it steadily in the mind, till we have surveyed it accurately on all sides." - Thomas Reid

"True education makes for inequality; the inequality of individuality the inequality of success; the glorious inequality of talent, of genius, for inequality, not mediocrity, individual superiority, not standardization, is the measure of the progress of the world." - Felix Schelling, fully Felix Emmanuel Schelling

"No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness." -

"Although genius always commands admiration, character most secures respect. The former is more the product of the brain, the latter of heart-power; and in the long run it is the heart that rules in life." - Samuel Smiles

"Genius seems to be the faculty of having faith in everything, and especially in one's self." - Arthur Stringer, fully Arthur John Arbuthnott Stringer

"Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius." -

"Talent repeats; Genius creates. Talent is a cistern; Genius a fountain... Talent jogs to conclusions to which Genius takes giant leaps... Talent is full of thoughts, Genius of thought." - Edwin Percy Whipple

"There seem to be some persons, the favorites of fortune and darlings of nature, who are born cheerful. “A star danced” at their birth. It is no superficial visibility, but a bountiful and beneficent soul that sparkles in their eyes and smiles on their lips. Their inborn geniality amounts to genius, the rare and difficult genius which creates sweet and wholesome character, and radiates cheer." - Edwin Percy Whipple

"Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin, and then the work will be completed." - John Anster, fully John Martin Anster

"A time will come when the science of destruction shall bend before the arts of peace; when the genius which multiplies our powers, which creates new products, which diffuses comfort and happiness among the great mass of the people, shall occupy in the general estimation of mankind that rank which reason and common sense now assign to it." - François Arago, fully François Jean Dominique Arago

"Genius is intensity." - Honoré de Balzac

"What is genius? It is the power to be a boy again at will." - J.M. Barrie, fully Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet