45 witty and profound quotes from the master of words Mark Twain

Mark Twain was not just one of the wittiest authors of his time, but a great prankster as well.

In his free time he liked to write disclaimers to newspapers reporting his death. Something like “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.“ In the end he annoyed all newspaper editors so much that they started to add ”Unfortunately” to his messages.

To celebrate the man’s legendary wit and his deep wisdom, we collected some of his brightest, wisest and most ironic quotes for you.

  1. The way to maintain your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.
  2. Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
  3. You can’t depend on your judgement when your imagination is out of focus.
  4. Pessimism is just a word which the week call ’wisdom’.
  5. The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase. If you pursue happiness you’ll never find it. Happy is he who forgets what cannot be changed.
  6. To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make yourself want to go and do that very thing.
  7. Summer is the time when it is too hot to do the job that it was too cold to do last winter.
  8. Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
  9. The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man that can not read them.
  10. Real knowledge means to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
  11. Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
  12. Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered — either by themselves or by others.
  13. The right to stupidity is protected by the constitution. It is part of the guarantee for the free development of one’s personality.
  14. A ’classic’: A book which people praise and don’t read.
  15. What is worse than loneliness is when a person doesn’t feel comfortable with themselves.
  16. It would not be good if we all thought alike; it is difference of opinion that makes a horse race.
  17. Fortune knocks at every man’s door once in a life, but in a good many cases, the man is in a neighbouring saloon and does not hear.
  18. At 50 a man can be an ass without being an optimist but not an optimist without being an ass.
  19. Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
  20. Note that venerable proverb: Children and fools always speak the truth. The deduction is plain: adults and wise persons never speak it.
  21. The first of April is the day when we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year.
  22. Explaining humour is a lot like dissecting a frog, you learn a lot in the process, but in the end you kill it.
  23. Often the surest way to convey misinformation is to tell the strict truth.
  24. It is very tiring to be good!
  25. It is only human to like being praised.
  26. A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
  27. When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
  28. Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.
  29. I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
  30. It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
  31. A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.
  32. Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.
  33. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
  34. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
  35. When angry count four; when very angry, swear!
  36. When in doubt, tell the truth.
  37. The truth must be served like a coat, and not thrown in the face like a wet towel.
  38. It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
  39. Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
  40. Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.
  41. Do not argue with an idiot they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
  42. Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economise on it.
  43. Let us endeavour to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
  44. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
  45. Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.