Top 50+George Bernard Shaw Quotes

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Who is George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, socialist, and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama. Over the course of his life he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his plays address prevailing social problems, but each also includes a vein of comedy that makes their stark themes more palatable. In these works Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.

An ardent socialist, Shaw was angered by what he perceived to be the exploitation of the working class. He wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society. He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles. For a short time he was active in local politics, serving on the London County Council.

George Bernard Shaw Quotes

1. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

2. Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.

3. A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

4. You see things; you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?

5. If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.

6. 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.

7. Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends.

8. Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

9. Youth is wasted on the young.

10. There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.

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

12. There is no love sincerer than the love of food.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

16. The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

17. The liar’s punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.

18. Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn’t!

19. I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend … if you have one.

20. Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second, if there is one.

21. Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.

22. A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.

23. Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it.

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

25. You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.

26. A pessimist is a man who thinks everybody is as nasty as himself, and hates them for it.

27. Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.

28. My way of joking is to tell the truth. It’s the funniest joke in the world.

29. If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

30. After all, the wrong road always leads somewhere.

31. The play was a great success, but audience was a dismal failure.

32. Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.

33. I’m an atheist and I thank God for it.

34. Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.

35. You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.

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

37. My religious convictions and scientific views cannot at present be more specifically defined than as those of a believer in creative evolution. I desire that no public monument or work of art or inscription or sermon or ritual service commemorating me shall suggest that I accepted the tenets peculiar to any established church or denomination nor take the form of a cross or any other instrument of torture or symbol of blood sacrifice.

38. The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.

39. When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.

40. Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.

41. The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time.

42. When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth.

43. 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. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality of happiness, and by no means a necessity of life.

44. All great truths begin as blasphemies.

45. There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

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

47. I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.

48. 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.

49. The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.

50. Liquor is the chloroform which enables the poor man to endure the painful operation of living.

51. What you are to do without me I cannot imagine.

52. Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

53. The most tragic thing in the world is a man of genius who is not a man of honor.

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

55. Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.

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

57. We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.

58. The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

59. A photographer is like a cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.

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

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