Top 10 Highlights
Great quotes evoke emotions that might not otherwise get the exercise they need, and cause us to pause and think about what’s really important. Every person has their own reality and quotes will mean different things to different people. We hope these quotes have a little bit of something for most of us.
15. The Dalai Lama
“A thousand candles can be lit from one candle, however the life of the original candle is not shortened in the least.”
The Dalai Lama on Happiness. Giving costs us nothing.
“I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth. And indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame the Earth, seems to me a sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave oer’hanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, how like an angel in apprehension, how like a GOD. The beauty of the world. Paragon of animals. And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor women neither. Nor women neither.”
This is just a great piece of Shakespearean prose, taken from Hamlet (Prince of Denmark). This rendition is taken from Withnail and I, a film made by George Harrison’s Handmade Films in 1987 starring Richard E. Grant (who does an extraordinary recital) and Paul McGann.
13. Fulton Oursler
“We crucify ourselves between two thieves; regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow.”
Fulton Oursler was an American writer (under the pseudonym Anthony Abbot), journalist and playwright. A String of Blue Beads was a short story written by Oursler and made into a movie for television in 1953. Here’s part one with an introduction from Oursler himself.
12. K. L. Toth
“One of the greatest tragedies in life is to lose your own sense of self and accept the version of you that is expected by everyone else.”
K. L. Toth is an American poet and author who people like us just love to quote. Here’s a fantastic trailer for her latest novella, A Test of Faith:
“There is no greater sorrow than to recall in misery the time when we were happy.”
Dante Alighieri, most often referred to simply as Dante, was an Italian poet born in the 1200’s in Florence. His prominent position in relation to the modern Italian language is similar to that of Shakespeare’s to the English language. His work, Divine Comedy is generally regarded as the greatest literary work written in the Italian language and one of the great pieces of world literature.
This is a great overview of the Divine Comedy for anyone new to Dante:
10. George Harrison
“Some things take so long, But how do I explain
When not too many people, Can see we’re all the same
And because of all their tears, Your eyes can’t hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them, Now, isn’t it a pity.”
Just in case you are a very young reader, George Harrison was in the Beatles, a rock group from the 1960’s. This is a song from the first album he released after the Beatles broke up, All Things Must Pass:
9. Wendy Wasserstein
“The trick is to find the balance between the bright colors of humor and the serious issues of identity, self-loathing, and the possibility for intimacy and love when it seems no longer possible or, sadder yet, no longer necessary.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Wendy Wasserstein was a playwright and screenwriter. She died in 2006 at the young age of 55. Broadway’s lights were dimmed in tribute to her the night after her death.
Here’s an interview with Wasserstein talking about the process of writing:
8. Gautama Buddha
“Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think.”
Buddha was a prophet who lived around 500 BCE in and around the area now known as Nepal. Modern Buddhism is based on his teachings. This video discusses why many people don’t consider Buddhism a religion:
7. Veronica Roth
“But when I do feel all the strength go out of me, and I fall to my knees beside the table and I think I cry, then, or at least I want to, and everything inside me screams for just one more kiss, one more word, one more glance, one more.”
Veronica Roth is a young American writer who, at the age of just 25, has already had two New York Times bestsellers – and given us some fantastic quotes. Here she talks about her latest novel, Allegiant:
6. Pablo Neruda
“Everything carries me to you, as if everything that exists, aromas, lights, metals, were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me.”
Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto was born in Chile in 1904, changed his name to Pablo Neruda in his early 20’s and went on to become one of the great poets of all time. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971 and a host of other awards throughout his career. When he wasn’t writing he was a diplomat for Chile.
Here’s a reading of his Poem 20 set to a moving picture:
5. Jonathan Safran Foer
“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
Jonathan Safran Foer is an American novelist who marches to the beat of his own drum, stirring excitement and praise along with passionate criticism for his unorthodox ways. His first two novels, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close have both been made into Hollywood movies.
In this interview Foer talks about his non-fiction book, Eating Animals:
4. Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
These are the words inscribed on his memorial:
And this is the speech, in full, that he will most be remembered for:
3. Jennifer Donnelly
“It has an L on it. L for love. See? It’s the key to the universe, Dad. You said you were looking for it. You told Mom you were. I found it for you so you don’t have to look anymore. So you can come home at night.”
Jennifer Donnelly is an American novelist, particularly young adult fiction. She has written numerous novels and won multiple awards from across the literary world.
This beautiful quote comes from her book Revolution which came out in 2010. Donnelly talks about the book in this video:
“The hardest things to let go of are the things you never really had.”
Anonymous. (This quote has been attributed to several sources, but none that appear to be the genuine originator. We like the idea of it staying public property).
Coldplay reflect the mood of the quote in a lot of their music. This video gives us a quite unexpected take on it.
“When you lose a parent you lose the past. When you lose a child you lose the future.”
This is the quote that made this list necessary. For any parent, much less a parent who has lost a child, the unthinkable loss explicit in this quote doesn’t need any explanation. Touch wood and God Bless.
This quote didn’t make it onto the list but it probably should have. We just love the depth contained in such a few simple words.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”