Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

People

"When people say to me: "How do you do so many things?" I often answer them, without meaning to be cruel: "How to you do so little?" It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever."" - Phillip Adams

"Whoever sets out to persuade men to accept a new idea, or one which seems to be new, not just as an idea, but as a truth that is felt, should know beforehand that the human mind is not a blank sheet, on which one an write with ease, and should not therefore grieve or despair when he finds that people do not pay attention to him." - Ahad HaAm, pen name, born Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg

"If you would know the political and moral condition of a people, ask as to the position of its women." - Louis-Aimé Martin

"The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous." - Shana Alexander, fully Shana Agar Alexander

"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation... can never effect a reform." -

"It is axiomatic that we should all think of ourselves as being more sensitive than other people because, when we are insensitive in our dealings with others, we cannot be aware of it at the time: conscious insensitivity is a self-contradiction." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"The ability to find fault is believed, by some people, to be a sure sign of great wisdom, when, in most cases, it only indicates narrowness of mind and ill nature." - Arthur Aughey

"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." - Walter Bagehot

"A devotion to humanity... is too easily equated with a devotion to a Cause, and Causes, as we know, are notoriously bloodthirsty... Freedom is not something anybody can be given, freedom is something people take." -

"Interest makes some people blind and others quick-sided. We promise according to our hopes, and perform according to our fears. Virtues are lost in interest, as rivers are swallowed up in the sea." - J. Beaumont

"To say that a man is vain simply means that he is pleased with the effect he produces on other people. A conceited man is satisfied with the effect he produces on himself." - Max Beerbohm, fully Sir Henry Maximilian "Max" Beerbohm

"In every community there is a class of people profoundly dangerous to the rest. I don't mean the criminals. For them we have punitive sanctions. I mean the leaders. Invariably the most dangerous people seek the power. While in the parlors of indignation the right-thinking citizen brings his heart to a boil. In here, the human bosom -- mine, yours, everybody's -- there isn't just one soul. There's a lot of souls. But there are two main ones, the real soul and a pretender soul. Now! Every man realizes that he has to love something or somebody. He feels that he must go outward. 'If thou canst not love, what art thou?' Are you with me? " - Saul Bellow

"How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people." -

"There will always be people who criticize the behavior of others, regardless of how great they are or what they do." - Naftali Zvi Horowitz of Ropshitz

"Unintelligent people always look for a scapegoat." - Pierre de Bérulle

"My reason teaches me that land cannot be sold. The Great Spirit gave it to his children to live upon and cultivate as far as necessary for their subsistence, and so long as they occupy and cultivate it they have the right to the soil, but if they voluntarily leave it then any other people have a right to settle on it. Nothing can be sold, except things that can be carried away." - Black Hawk, born Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak NULL

"Law is the embodiment of the moral sentiment of the people." - William Blackstone, fully Sir William Blackstone

"People first abandon reason, and then become obstinate; and the deeper they are in error the more angry they are." - Hugh Blair

"It is a fundamental principle that no person can entirely free himself from taking the people in his environment into consideration. When doing something in the presence of others, it is impossible not to think about how other people will view what you are doing... Any good act you do will be much purer if others are not aware of you." - Yosef Leib Bloch, fully R' Yosef Yehudah Leib Bloch

"Try to become as great as you can. Some people are afraid to accomplish because they might make mistakes and those mistakes will be more serious than if they remained simple. This is not valid reasoning. Each person is obligated to develop himself to the best of his ability. The smallest person has potential for greatness if he utilizes all that is within him." - Yosef Leib Bloch, fully R' Yosef Yehudah Leib Bloch

"Young people imagine there is great value in fame. Those with life experience know that in truth publicity is extremely short-lived. The nature of the world is that every piece of news makes an impression for only a very short time. After those few minutes the impression is erased and quickly forgotten. It is as if it never was." - Yosef Leib Bloch, fully R' Yosef Yehudah Leib Bloch

"Most people are dissatisfied, because too few know that the distance between one and nothing is greater than that between one and a thousand." - Ludwig Börne, fully Karl Ludwig Börne

"The moral life of any people rises or falls with the vitality or decay of its religious life." - Abel Bonnard

"You should have education enough so that you won't have to look up to people; and then more education so that you will be wise enough not to look down on people." - M. L. Boren

"A child asked a man to pick a flower for her. that was simple enough. But when she said, "Now put it back," the man experienced a baffling helplessness he never knew before. "How can you explain that it cannot be done?" he asked. "How can one make clear to young people that there are some things which, once broken, once mutilated, can never be replaced or mended?"" - Marcia Borowsky

"To guard the mind against the temptation of thinking that there are no good people, say to them: “Be such as you would like to see others, and you will find those who resemble you.”" -

"Only by his action can a man make (himself/his life) whole... You are responsible for what you have done and the people whom you have influenced. In the end it is only the work that counts." - Margaret Bourke-White

"All we can ever do in the way of good to people is to encourage them to do good to themselves." -

"Some people are molded by their admirations, others by their hostilities." - Elizabeth Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen

"In the government you called civilized, the happiness of the people is constantly sacrificed to the splendor of the empire. Hence the origin of your codes of criminal and civil laws; hence your dungeons and prisons. We have no prisons; we have no written laws; and yet judges are as highly revered among us as they are among you, and their decisions are as much regarded. We have among us no exalted villains above the control of our laws. Daring wickedness is here never allowed to triumph over helpless innocence. The estates of widows and orphans are never devoured by enterprising swindlers. We have no robbery under the pretext of law." - Joseph Brant, aka Thayendanegea

"Most people spend most of their days doing what they do not want to do in order to earn the right, at times, to do what they may desire." -

"Every day, people are straying away from the church and going back to God." - Lenny Bruce, born Leonard Alfred Schneider

"Beware so long as you live, of judging people by appearances." - Jean de La Bruyère

"If one wishes to be esteemed, one must live with estimable people." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Never judge people by their appearance." - Jean de La Bruyère

"The most amiable people are those who least wound the self-love of others." - Jean de La Bruyère

"The slave has but one master; the ambitious man has as many as there are people useful to his fortune." - Jean de La Bruyère

"To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"Nobody loves heartily unless people take pains to prevent it." -

"Many people are liberal in principle, reluctant in practice." - John M. Burgess

"In addition to the inflation, we have stagnating productivity. People don’t work the way they used to." - Arthur Burns, fully Arthur Frank Burns

"People care more about being thought to have taste than about being thought either good, clever, or amiable." - Samuel Butler

"The world will always be governed by self-interest: we should not try to stop this: we should try and make the self-interest of cads a little more coincident with that of decent people." - Samuel Butler

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." - Hugh C. Cameron

"You who are so wise must know that different nations have different conceptions of things. You will not therefore take it amiss if our ideas of the white man’s kind of education happens not to be the same as yours. We have had some experience with it. Several of our young people were brought up in your colleges. They were instructed in all your sciences; but, when they came back to us, they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger. They didn’t know how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy. They spoke our language imperfectly. They were therefore unfit to be hunters, warriors, or counselors; they were good for nothing. We are, however, not less obliged for your kind offer, though we decline accepting it. To show our gratefulness, if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we will take great care with their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them." - Canassatego Treaty of Lancaster NULL

"God creates. People rearrange." -

"The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives enlargement to a people’s energy, intellect and virtues." - William Ellery Channing

"The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives enlargement to a people's energy, intellect and virtues... Progress, the growth of intelligence and power, is the end and boon of liberty; and, without this, a people may have the name, but want the substance and spirit of freedom." - William Ellery Channing

"Some people habitually wear sadness, like a garment, and think it a becoming grace. God loves a cheerful worshipper." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin