George Bernard Shaw Quotes

Most popular George Bernard Shaw Quotes

Life is a flame that is always burning itself out; but it catches fire again every time a child is born.

babies birth children

What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.
— George Bernard Shaw

children education for teachers parenting

Success covers many blunders.
— George Bernard Shaw

success

The Family is a petty despotism.
— George Bernard Shaw

family

Skepticism is the beginning of faith.
— George Bernard Shaw

faith

All great truths begin as blasphemies.

truth

Success covers a multitude of blunders.
— George Bernard Shaw

mistakes success

He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.
— George Bernard Shaw

teaching

He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.
— George Bernard Shaw

teaching

There is only one universal passion: fear.
— George Bernard Shaw

fear

The slave of fear: the worst of slaveries.

fear

The lack of money is the root of all evil.
— George Bernard Shaw
Woman reduces us all to a common denominator.
— George Bernard Shaw
I was a freethinker before I knew how to think.
— George Bernard Shaw
Fashions, after all, are only induced epidemics.

fashion

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.

food

Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.

censorship

Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.

silence

Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius.
— George Bernard Shaw
A perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.

dance

The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.

golden rules

All professions are conspiracies against the laity.
— George Bernard Shaw

the public

Home is the girl's prison and the woman's workhouse.
— George Bernard Shaw

home

The churches must learn humility as well as teach it.
— George Bernard Shaw

church

A man never tells you anything until you contradict him.
— George Bernard Shaw

arguments human nature

It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.
— George Bernard Shaw

sincerity

If parents would only realize how they bore their children.
— George Bernard Shaw

parents

Effectiveness of assertion is the alpha and omega of style.

style

Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it.
— George Bernard Shaw

Christianity

We should have had socialism already but for the socialists.
— George Bernard Shaw

socialism

Liberty means responsibility.  That is why most men dread it.

freedom responsibility

No man fully capable of his own language ever masters another.
— George Bernard Shaw

language

Freedom means responsibility. That is why most people dread it.
— George Bernard Shaw
Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.
— George Bernard Shaw

peace

First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity.
— George Bernard Shaw
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
— George Bernard Shaw
An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable.
— George Bernard Shaw

English people morals

We learn from history that we don't learn anything from history.
— George Bernard Shaw
What really flatters a man is that you think him worth flattering.

flattery

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
— George Bernard Shaw
Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.

alcohol

Virtue consists not in abstaining from vice, but in not desiring it.
— George Bernard Shaw

vice & virtue virtue

Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended.
— George Bernard Shaw

baseball cricket sports

Hell is full of musical amateurs: music is the brandy of the damned.
— George Bernard Shaw

music

England and America are two countries separated by the same language.
— George Bernard Shaw

America England English

Man can climb to the highest summits; but he cannot dwell there long.

achievement aspiration

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.

art

There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.

religion

It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics.
— George Bernard Shaw

intelligence statistics

No man is a pure specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot.
— George Bernard Shaw

consultants experts

The price of ability does not depend on merit, but on supply and demand.
— George Bernard Shaw

thrift

Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.
— George Bernard Shaw

time

There are no secrets better kept than the secrets that everybody guesses.
— George Bernard Shaw
I enjoy convalescence.  It is the part that makes the illness worth while.

illness

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

family

Striving and struggling is the worst way you could set about doing anything.
— George Bernard Shaw
No question is so difficult to answer as one in which the answer is obvious.
— George Bernard Shaw

asking questions

It was from Handel that I learned that style consists in force of assertion.
— George Bernard Shaw

style

If all the economists were laid end to end, they'd never reach a conclusion.
— George Bernard Shaw

economists

The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business.
— George Bernard Shaw
Martyrdom...is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability.

martyr patriotism

Science is always wrong. It never solves a problem without creating ten more.
— George Bernard Shaw

science

If all the economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.
— George Bernard Shaw

economics

My way of joking is telling the truth; that is the funniest joke in the world.
— George Bernard Shaw

truth

Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman, but believing what he read made him mad.
— George Bernard Shaw

reading

A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth.
— George Bernard Shaw

happiness

Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful.
— George Bernard Shaw
You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.

art

The most tragic thing in the world is a man of genius who is not a man of honor.
— George Bernard Shaw
If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance.
— George Bernard Shaw
It is courage, courage, courage that raises the blood of life to crimson splendor.

courage

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

government taxes

Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them.
— George Bernard Shaw

America

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
— George Bernard Shaw

communication management

You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.

patriotism

You have learnt something.  That always feels at first as if you had lost something.

learning

Gambling promises the poor what Property performs for the rich—something for nothing.

gambling

Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.
— George Bernard Shaw

love

We must be thoroughly democratic and patronise everybody without distinction of class.
— George Bernard Shaw

democracy

We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession.
— George Bernard Shaw
Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
— George Bernard Shaw

democracy

That is what all poets do: they talk to themselves out loud; and the world overhears them.

poets

The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it.
— George Bernard Shaw

cynicism

Why should we take advice on sex from the Pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't.
— George Bernard Shaw

Catholic church

People are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.
— George Bernard Shaw
You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'
— George Bernard Shaw

imagination

Do not do unto others as you would they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

golden rules morals taste

Absolute honesty is as absurd an abstraction as an absolute temperature or an absolute value.
— George Bernard Shaw

honesty

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.

duty

Better keep yourself clean and bright: you are the window through which you must see the world.
— George Bernard Shaw

self-care

Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.

foolishness power

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything.  That points clearly to a political career.

politicians politics

Our home life as we understand it is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo.
— George Bernard Shaw
The whole world is strewn with snares, traps, gins and pitfalls for the capture of men by women.

men and women

Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.
— George Bernard Shaw

marriage

Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love.
— George Bernard Shaw

glory mankind

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.
— George Bernard Shaw

purpose of life

The photographer is like the cod which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.
— George Bernard Shaw

photography

Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force.
— George Bernard Shaw

capitalism

Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny: they have only shifted it to another shoulder.

revolution

The fickleness of the women I love is only equaled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.
— George Bernard Shaw

infidelity women

A man who has no office to go to—I don't care who he is—is a trial of which you can have no conception.

unemployment

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.
— George Bernard Shaw

life

Changeable women are more enduring than monotonous ones. They are sometimes murdered but seldom deserted.
— George Bernard Shaw

women

Give a man health and a course to steer, and he'll never stop to trouble about whether he's happy or not.
— George Bernard Shaw

goals health

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.
— George Bernard Shaw

Bible

Mendoza: I am a brigand: I live by robbing the rich. Tanner: I am a gentleman: I live by robbing the poor.
— George Bernard Shaw
We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.

happiness

It is a woman's business to get married as soon as possible, and a man's to keep unmarried as long as he can.
— George Bernard Shaw
Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization.
— George Bernard Shaw

journalism newspapers

When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport: when the tiger wants to kill him, he calls it ferocity.

hunting

O Lord!  I don't know which is the worst of the country, the walking or the sitting at home with nothing to do.

walking

My method is to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity.
— George Bernard Shaw

communication

Life is a disease; and the only difference between one man and another is the stage of the disease at which he lives.

life

I created nothing; I invented nothing; I imagined nothing; I perverted nothing; I simply discovered drama in real life.
— George Bernard Shaw
Nothing soothes me more after a long and maddening course of pianoforte recitals than to sit and have my teeth drilled.
— George Bernard Shaw

music

My own education operated by a succession of eye-openers each involving the repudiation of some previously held belief.

beliefs education

Parentage is a very important profession; but no test of fitness for it is ever imposed in the interest of the children.

parenting

You don't learn to hold your own in the world by standing on guard, but by attacking, and getting well hammered yourself.
— George Bernard Shaw

action education

Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family.

family

To the person with a toothache, even if the world is tottering, there is nothing more important than a visit to a dentist.
— George Bernard Shaw

pain

No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition than Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus.
— George Bernard Shaw

Christianity Jesus

Do not love your neighbor as yourself. If you are on good terms with yourself, it is an impertinence; if on bad, an injury.
— George Bernard Shaw

neighbors

You cannot have power for good without having power for evil  too. Even mother's milk nourishes murderers as well as heroes.

power

The philosopher is Nature's pilot. And there you have our difference: to be in hell is to drift: to be in heaven is to steer.

philosophers

It is an extremely difficult thing to put on the stage anything which runs contrary to the opinions of a large body of people.
— George Bernard Shaw

theater

The test of a man or woman's breeding is how they behave in a quarrel.  Anybody can behave well when things are going smoothly.

quarrels

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity.

apathy

Let no one suppose that the words doctor and patient can disguise from the parties the fact that they are employer and employee.
— George Bernard Shaw

doctors

There are those who see the world as it is and ask, 'Why?' and there are those who see the world as it could be, and ask, 'Why not?'
— George Bernard Shaw
Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of virtues, is seldom distinguished from neglect, the laziest and commonest of the vices.
There are some experiences in life which should not be demanded twice from any man, and one of them is listening to the Brahms Requiem.
— George Bernard Shaw

music

Imagination is the beginning of creation.  You imagine what you desire; you will what you imagine; and at last you create what you will.

imagination

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

atheist beliefs religion

Women upset everything. When you let them into your life, you find that the woman is driving at one thing and you're driving at another.
— George Bernard Shaw

men and women

When we want to read of the deeds that are done for love, whither do we turn? To the murder column; and there we are rarely disappointed.

love and hate

Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out.  That is what it is for.  Spend all you have before you die; and do not outlive yourself.

health

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.
— George Bernard Shaw

success

Money is indeed the most important thing in the world and all sound and successful personal and national morality should have this fact for its basis.
— George Bernard Shaw

money

Man gives every reason for his conduct save one, every excuse for his crimes save one, every plea for his safety save one; and that one is his cowardice.

cowardice

The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art.
— George Bernard Shaw
The haughty American nation ... makes the Negro clean its boots and then proves the moral and physical inferiority of the Negro by the fact that he is a bootblack.
— George Bernard Shaw

African-Americans America civil rights racism

The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.
— George Bernard Shaw

beliefs

To withhold deserved praise lest it should make its object conceited is as dishonest as to withhold payment of a just debt lest your creditor should spend the money badly.
— George Bernard Shaw

praise

A man's work is a day's work, neither more nor less, and the man who does it needs a day's sustenance, a night's repose, and due leisure, whether he be painter or ploughman.
— George Bernard Shaw
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

progress

When men and women pick one another up for just a bit of fun, they find they've picked up more than they bargained for, because men and women have a top story as well as a ground floor, and you can't have the one without the other.

men and women

Human affection...is the one great curse of mankind, the principal obstruction to its progress.  Take myself, for instance; all my life affection has been showered on me, and everything that I have done I have had to do in spite of it.

affection

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.
— George Bernard Shaw
I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one's business on earth, like the male spider, who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in courtship. I like a state of continual becoming, with a goal in front and not behind.
— George Bernard Shaw

success

When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.
— George Bernard Shaw

marriage weddings

It is a noteworthy fact that kicking and beating have played so considerable a part in the habits which necessity has imposed on mankind in past ages that the only way of preventing civilized men from beating and kicking their wives is to organize games in which they can kick and beat balls.
— George Bernard Shaw

sports

All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions.  All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions.  Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.

censorship

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.  I rejoice in life for its own sake.  Life is no "brief candle" for me.  It is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold of for the moment; and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

life personal credos

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

happiness joy purpose of life selfishness