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Samuel Clemens 

  • Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes time and annoys the pig.
  • A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
  • What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.
  • There is something worse than ignorance, and that's knowing what ain't so.
  • All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.
  • America is built on a tilt and everything loose slides to California.
  • Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
  • Every generalization is false, including this one.
  • Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
  • France is miserable because it is filled with Frenchmen, and Frenchmen are miserable because they live in France.
  • I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it.
  • I have found solace in profanity unexcelled even by prayer.
  • I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
  • I take my only exercise acting as a at the funerals of my friends who exercise regularly
  • It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.
  • It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
  • It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it.
  • I've never killed a man, but I've read many an obituary with a great deal of satisfaction.
    • Also attributed to.
  • Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
  • Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can read.
  • Love your enemy, it'll scare the hell out of him.
  • The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
  • Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
  • Only presidents, editors and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".
  • Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.
  • Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
  • I admire the serene assurance of those who have religious faith. It is wonderful to observe the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces.
    • Also attributed to
  • The catfish is a plenty good enough fish for anyone.
  • The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.
  • There ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.
  • There are no dialogues, only intersecting monologues.
  • There is nothing lower than the human race except the French.
  • Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.
  • They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!
  • The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.
  • When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
    • Alternate version: When I was sixteen, my father was the most ignorant man in the world. By the time I reached 21, I was surprised at how much he had learned in five years.
  • If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. (Sometimes quoted as newspapers.)
  • You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
  • Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is, I dunno. If the Eiffel Tower were now representing the world's age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man's share of that age; and anybody would perceive that the skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would, I dunno.
    • quoted by Stephen Jay Gould in Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle (1987)
  • When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
  • In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.
  • I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.