MARK HAYSOM is the author of the critically acclaimed ‘Love, Love Me Do’ and ‘Imagine’. From time to time, he publishes favourite quotes from great writers, leaders and thinkers.



Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

‘None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm’

‘I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude’

‘I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour’

‘If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment’

‘The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it’

‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see’

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. (Source: Wikipedia)


J.R.R. Tolkien


‘A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities’

 John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high-fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. (Source: Wikipedia)


Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy

‘Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them’

‘If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content’

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (9 September 28 August 1828 – 20 November 7 November 1910), also known as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, philosopher and playwright who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Tolstoy was a master of realistic fiction and is widely considered one of the greatest novelists of all time. He is best known for two long novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).


Mark Twain

Mark Twain 2

‘I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up’

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.’

‘A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs’

‘There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice’

‘The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity’

‘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’

‘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.’

‘Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.’

‘When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained’

‘Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured’

‘A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes’

‘Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen’

‘Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.’

‘If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything’

‘To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence’

‘The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself’

‘Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life’

‘Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect’

‘The secret of getting ahead is getting started’

‘Go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company’

‘Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use’

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885. Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. (Source: Wikipedia)







‘Common sense is not so common’

François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. (Source: Wikipedia)



Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

‘They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself’

Andy Warhol (1928 –1987) was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist. (Source: Wikipedia)


George Washington

George Washington

‘If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.’

‘It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one’

George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the first President of the United States (1789–97), the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and remains the supreme law of the land. (Source: Wikipedia)


H. G. Wells

NPG x13208; Herbert George Wells by George Charles Beresford

‘Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe’

Herbert George Wells (1866 –1946) was a prolific English writer in many genres, including the novel, history, politics, and social commentary, and textbooks and rules for war games. He is now best remembered for his science fiction novels, and Wells is called a father of science fiction. His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). (Source: Wikipedia)


Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

‘Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you’

Walter “Walt” Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. (Source: Wikipedia)


Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

‘Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes’

‘Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing’

‘What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.’

‘My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s.’

‘Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not’

‘It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.’

‘Action is the last resource of those who know not how to dream’

‘To have become a deeper man is the privilege of those who have suffered’

‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go’

‘In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.’

‘I always pass on good advice.  It’s the only thing to do with it.  It is never any use to oneself.’

‘Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about’

‘To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable’

‘You can never be overdressed or overeducated’

‘Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much’

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour. (Source: Wikipedia)


Tennesse Williams

Tennessee Williams

‘In memory everything seems to happen to music’

Thomas LanierTennesseeWilliams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) was an American playwright and author of many stage classics. Along with Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller he is considered among the three foremost playwrights in 20th century American drama. After years of obscurity, he became suddenly famous with The Glass Menagerie (1944), closely reflecting his own unhappy family background. (Source: Wikipedia)


Harold Wilson

Harold Wilson

‘Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death’

‘He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery’

James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was a British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976. He won four general elections. (Source: Wikipedia)


Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

‘You cannot find peace by avoiding life’

Adeline Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), with its famous dictum, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Woolf suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life, thought to have been the result of what is now termed bipolar disorder, and committed suicide by drowning in 1941 at the age of 59. (Source:Wikipedia)





William Butler Yeats


‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’

William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms. Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and, along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn, and others, founded the Abbey Theatre, where he served as its chief during its early years. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as the first Irishman so honoured for what the Nobel Committee described as “inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.” (Source: Wikipedia)





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