It’s practically impossible to overestimate the influence Mark Twain has had.
His words impacted not just American literature but world literature.
Ernest Hemingway was quoted once saying, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing good since.”
Hyperbolic? Perhaps, but if Huckleberry Finn was a one-off, Twain would have etched a significant place in the history of American fiction. When you consider that he also penned Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, The Prince and the Pauper, an endless collection of masterful short stories as well as countless other works, you get some idea of the width and breadth of his genius.
I am providing you with 15 of my favorite quotes, but if time ever weighs heavy on your hands, you may want to go ahead and Google “Mark Twain.” Someone took the time to compile 100 quotes, and, my hand to God, there isn’t a dud in the whole bunch.
He truly was the king of the quip:
1. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
2. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
3. “A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”
4. “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.”
5. “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
6. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
7. “The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.”
8. “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”
9. “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
10. “No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot.”
11. “When I was 17, my father was so stupid, I didn’t want to be seen with him in public. When I was 24, I was amazed at how much the old man had learned in just 7 years.”
12. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.”
13. “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.”
14. “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”
15. “Never miss an opportunity to shut up.”