Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Reading

"If those about him will talk to him often about the Stories he has read and hear him tell them, it will, besides other Advantages, add Encouragement and Delight to his Reading, when he finds there is some Use and Pleasure in it." - John Locke

"Read every day something no one else is reading. Think every day something no one else is thinking. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity." - J. P. Morgan, fully John Pierpont Morgan

"One hundred years after its invention, film art still occupies a marginal place in academic circles. The very activity of watching television is routinely dismissed as inherently inferior to the activity of reading, regardless of content. But narrative beauty is independent of medium. Oral tales, pictorial stories, plays, novels, movies, and television shows can all range from the lame and sensationalist to the heartbreaking and illuminating. We need every available form of expression and all the new ones we can muster to help us understand who we are and what we are doing." - Janet H. Murray

"Idleness is the enemy of the soul. And therefore, at fixed times, the brothers ought to be occupied in manual labour; and again, at fixed times, in sacred reading." -

"People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading." - Logan Pearsall Smith

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking." - Albert Einstein

"To see what students learn in school, look at how they leave school. If they leave thinking that reading and writing are difficult and pointless, that mathematics is confusing, that history is irrelevant, and that art is a bore, then that is what they have been taught. People learn what is demonstrated to them, and this reality will not change to suit the convenience of politicians and educations administrators." - Frank Smith

"Education has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading." - G. M. Trevelyan, fully George Macaulay Trevelyan

"It is not wide reading but useful reading that tends to excellence." - Aristippus NULL

"Insist on reading the great books, on marking the great events of the world. Then the little books can take care of themselves, and the trivial incidents of passing politics and diplomacy may perish with the using." - Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, known as Dean Stanley

"We are always doing something, talking, reading, listening to the radio, planning what next. The mind is kept naggingly busy on some easy, unimportant external thing all day." - Brenda Ueland

"By reading, we enjoy the dead; by conversation, the living; and by contemplation, ourselves. Reading enriches the memory, conversation polishes the wit; and contemplation improves the judgment. Of these, reading is the most important, as it furnishes both the others." - Charles Caleb Colton

"When in reading we meet with any maxim that may be of use, we should take it for our own, and make an immediate application of it, as we would of the advice of a friend whom we have purposely consulted." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not." - Francis Bacon

"Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral philosophy, grace; logic and rhetoric, able to contend." - Francis Bacon

"Reading serves for delight, for ornament, for ability. The crafty condemn it; the simple admire it; the wise use it." - Francis Bacon

"Education has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading, and easy pray to sensations and cheap appeals." -

"Education... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading." -

"Education begins by teaching children to read and ends by making most of them hate reading." - Holbrook Jackson, fully George Holbrook Jackson

"It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom." - Horace Greeley

"A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them. It is a wrong to his family. Children learn to read by being in the presence of books. The love of knowledge comes with reading and grows upon it. And the love of knowledge, in a young mind, is almost a warrant against the inferior excitement of passions and vices." - Horace Mann

"Reading and conversation may furnish us with many ideas of men and things, yet it is our own meditation that must form our judgment." - Isaac Watts

"Few are sufficiently sensible of the importance of that economy in reading which selects, almost exclusively, the very first order of books. Why should a man, except for some special reason, read an inferior book at the very time he might be reading one of the highest order." - John Foster, fully John Watson Foster

"Why should a man, except for some special reason, read an inferior book at the very time he might be reading one of the highest order?" - John Foster, fully John Watson Foster

"Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books." - John Ruskin

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened, and invigorated; by the other, virtue (which is the health of the mind) is kept alive, cherished, and confirmed." - Joseph Addison

"One of the commonest mistakes and one of the costliest thinking that success is due to some genius, some magic - something or other which we do not possess. Success is generally due to holding one, and failure to letting go. You decide to learn a language, study music, take a course of reading, train yourself physically. Will it be success or failure? It depends upon how much pluck and perseverance that word “decide” contains. The decision that nothing can overrule, the grip that nothing can detach will bring success." - Maltbie Babcock, fully Maltbie Davenport Babcock

"Being selective about the media we consume, reading between the lines, and opening our hearts while we feed our minds will enable us to act more in balance." - Michael Toms

"Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life." - Mortimer J. Adler, fully Mortimer Jerome Adler

"Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius the stern friend, the cold, obscure shelter where moult the wings which will bear it farther than suns and stars. He who would inspire and lead his race must be defended from traveling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily time-worn yoke of their opinions." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"One must be an inventor to read well... There is creative reading as well as creative writing. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion. Every sentence is doubly significant, and the sense of our author is as broad as the world." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius the stern friend, the cold, obscure shelter where molt the wings which bear it farther than suns and stars. He who would inspire and lead his race must be defended from traveling with the souls of their men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time worn yoke of their opinions." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Reading good books is like having a conversation with the highly worthy persons of the past who wrote them; indeed, it is like having a prepared conversation in which those persons disclose to us only their best thinking." - René Descartes

"The reading of all good books is indeed like a conversation with the noblest men of past centuries who were the authors of them, nay a carefully studied conversation, in why they revel to us none but the best of their thoughts." - René Descartes

"There are four kinds of readers. The first is like the hour-glass; and their reading being as the sand, it runs in and runs out, and leave not a vestige behind. A second is like the sponge, which imbibes everything, and returns it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtier. A third is like a jelly-bag, allowing all that is pure to pass away, and retaining only the refuse and dregs. And the fourth is like the slaves in the diamond mines of Golconda, who casting aside all that is worthless, retain only pure gems." -

"Reading is sometimes an ingenious device for avoiding thought." - Arthur Helps, fully Sir Arthur Helps

"It is manifest that all government of action is to be gotten by knowledge, and knowledge, best, by gathering many knowledges, which is reading." - Philip Sidney, fully Sir Philip Sidney

"Chopping wood is meditation. Carrying water is meditation. Be mindful 24 hours a day, not just during the one hour you may allot for formal meditation or reading scripture and reciting prayers. Each act must be carried out in mindfulness. Each act is a rite, a ceremony. Raising your cup of tea to your mouth is a rite. does the word “rite” seem too solemn? I use the word in order to jolt you into the realization of the life-and-death matter of awareness." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"That learning which thou gettest by thy own observation and experience, is far beyond that which thou gettest by precept; as the knowledge of a traveler exceeds that which is got by reading." - Thomas Kempis, aka Thomas à Kempis, Thomas von Kempen, Thomas Haemerkken or Hammerlein or Hemerken or Hämerken

"Thou mayest as well expect to grow stronger by always eating as wiser by always reading. To much overcharges nature, and turns more into disease than nourishment. It is thought, and digestion which makes books serviceable, and give health and vigor to the mind." - Thomas Fuller

"I have no patience with the stupidity of the average teacher of grammar who wastes precious years in hammering rules into children's heads. For it is not by learning rules that we acquire the powers of speaking a language, but by daily intercourse with those accustomed to express themselves with exactness and refinement and by copious reading of the best authors. " - Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, sometimes known as Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam

" Nothing, in truth, has such a tendency to weaken not only the powers of invention, but the intellectual powers in general, as a habit of extensive and various reading without reflection. The activity and force of mind are gradually impaired in consequence of disuse; and, not infrequently, all our principles and opinions come to be lost in the infinite multiplicity and discordancy of our acquired ideas." - Dugald Stewart

"If the substance of the spiritual experience is always and everywhere the same, differences in its expression and interpretation are secondary and not a valid cause for conflict and intolerance. The world to which our quantum brain connects us is fundamentally one, whether its oneness is due to an information field within the natural world or the work of a divine transcendent intelligence. To enter into communion with this oneness has been the quest of all the great teachers and spiritual masters. And to understand the nature of this oneness has been, and is, the ultimate quest of all great scientists. Still today, physicists seek the one equation that would anchor their famous "Theory of Everything," the theory that would account for all the laws of nature and explain everything that ever happened in our integrally whole universe. Einstein said that knowing this equation would be reading the mind of God." - Ervin László

"The words of the Constitution ... are so unrestricted by their intrinsic meaning or by their history or by tradition or by prior decisions that they leave the individual Justice free, if indeed they do not compel him, to gather meaning not from reading the Constitution but from reading life." - Felix Frankfurter

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?" - Franz Kafka

"There's an aspect of things which I find amusing: the flow back and forth between science and science fiction, which has been an important part of my life. I started out reading science fiction and then became a scientist, and that set the slant on my scientific work. I like to make connections between life and cosmology and astronomy. Science fiction raises all these interesting possibilities and has had some influence on science in the last 25 years – not only in the area of SETI, but also in other ways." - Freeman John Dyson

"In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first. " - Harry S. Truman

"To be lonely, that is to feel oneself isolated, having no relationship with anything; in that sense of loneliness there is despair - there are moods, one is familiar with that sense of loneliness - and one runs away from it by turning on the radio, by reading a book, by sex and ten different activities. That loneliness is the very essence of self-consciousness. And when one goes beyond that, there is this state of attention in which there is complete aloneness, which is not isolation, which is not separation, which is not a withdrawal. Because it is only this aloneness, when the mind is no longer a plaything of thought, when thought has been understood totally - then out of that comes this sense of aloneness. it is that which is innocence, and it is that innocence which is beyond all mortality." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"The one thing necessary is always to be found by the soul in the present moment. There is no need to choose between prayer and silence, privacy or conversation, reading or writing, reflection or the abandonment of thought, the frequentation or avoidance of spiritual people, abundance or famine, illness or health, life or death; the one thing necessary is what each moment produces by God’s design." - John-Pierre de Cassaude

"If your book doesn't keep you up nights when you are writing it, it won't keep anyone up nights reading it." - James A. Michener, fully James Albert Michener