Open Book Lot Photo

116+ Encouraging Mark Twain Quotes

Mark Twain is one of the most influential writers to ever exist. In fact, he is considered the Father of American Literature. Here are some quotes and sayings by this infamous writer:

Mark Twain Biography

One of America’s greatest influential writers, Samuel Clemens, was born in Florida, Missouri, on November 30th, 1835. By publishing many pieces, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), he later acquired his more famous pseudonym, Mark Twain.

Many of the stories he wrote were inspired by his childhood, growing up in Hannibal, Mississippi, along the Mississippi River. He lived a life full of adventure that always carried over into his writing. In February of 1870, Mark Twain married Olivia Langdon, and together they bore four children: Susy, Clara, Jean, and Langdon. Twain passed away on April 21st, 1910.

He left behind a plethora of great works for readers to adore, speak about, and quote through the following century. Enjoy some of the best Mark Twain quotes below!

Mark Twain Quotes
A.F. Bradley, New York – steamboattimes.com

Mark Twain Quotes on Life and Death

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” -Mark Twain

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” -Mark Twain

“Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.” -Mark Twain

“The older I get, the more clearly I remember things that never happened.” -Mark Twain

“There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside the dullest exterior, there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.” -Mark Twain

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain

“Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts or happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever flowing through one’s head.” -Mark Twain

“Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.” -Mark Twain

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.” -Mark Twain

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear, and life stands explained.” -Mark Twain

“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.” -Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes on Hard Work and Going After Your Dreams

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear– not absence of fear.” -Mark Twain

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” -Mark Twain

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” -Mark Twain

“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.” -Mark Twain

“I do not wish any reward but to know that I have done the right thing.” -Mark Twain

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” -Mark Twain

“Do something every day that you don’t want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.” -Mark Twain

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” -Mark Twain

“Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” -Mark Twain

“The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.” -Mark Twain

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” -Mark Twain

“Put all your eggs in one basket–and watch that basket!” -Mark Twain

“Focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself.” -Mark Twain

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” -Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes on Love, Joy, and Friendship

“It’s easy to make friends, but hard to get rid of them.” -Mark Twain

“No man is a failure who has friends.” -Mark Twain

“Whoever is happy will make others happy too.” -Mark Twain

“The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.” -Mark Twain

“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.” -Mark Twain

“The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” -Mark Twain

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can see.” -Mark Twain

“The trouble is not in dying for a friend, but in finding a friend worth dying for.” -Mark Twain

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.” -Mark Twain

“Comparison is the death of joy.” -Mark Twain

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” -Mark Twain

“The source of all humor is not laughter, but sorrow.” -Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes on Wisdom, Learning, and Reading

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have talked.” -Mark Twain

“The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” -Mark Twain

“I must have a prodigious amount of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up!” -Mark Twain

“An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.” -Mark Twain

“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” -Mark Twain

“The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.” -Mark Twain

“Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.” -Mark Twain

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” -Mark Twain

“Use the right word, not its second cousin.” -Mark Twain

“Never argue with stupid people; they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” -Mark Twain

“Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.” -Mark Twain

“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” -Mark Twain

“If books are not good company, where will I find it?” -Mark Twain

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.” -Mark Twain

“‘Classic.’ A book which people praise and don’t read.” -Mark Twain

“A successful book is not made of what is in it, but of what is left out of it.” -Mark Twain

“Words are only painted fire; a look is a fire itself.” -Mark Twain

“I would rather have my ignorance than another man’s knowledge because I have got so much more of it.” -Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes on Humanity and Character

“To eat is human…to digest, divine.” -Mark Twain

“Character is the architect of achievements.” -Mark Twain

“A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” -Mark Twain

“An uneasy conscience is a hair in the mouth.” -Mark Twain

“It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.” -Mark Twain

“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.” -Mark Twain

“I wonder if God created man because He was disappointed with the monkey.” -Mark Twain

“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.” -Mark Twain

“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” -Mark Twain

“Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them, the rest of us could not succeed. ” -Mark Twain

“What would men be without women? Scarce, sir…mighty scarce.” -Mark Twain

“Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.” -Mark Twain

“Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.” -Mark Twain

“It is higher and nobler to be kind.” -Mark Twain

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” -Mark Twain

“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 man.” -Mark Twain

“Adam was the only man who, when he said a good thing, knew that nobody had said it before him.” -Mark Twain

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” -Mark Twain

“Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.” -Mark Twain

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” -Mark Twain

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” -Mark Twain

“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” -Mark Twain

“Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” -Mark Twain

“If everyone was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes.” -Mark Twain

“We ought never to do wrong when people are looking.” -Mark Twain

“There is no sadder thing than a young pessimist, except an old optimist.” -Mark Twain

“If you wish to inflict a heartless and malignant punishment upon a young person, pledge him to keep a journal a year.” -Mark Twain

“The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding their capacities which the outside didn’t indicate or promise, and which the other kind couldn’t detect.” -Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes on Truth and Lies

“When in doubt, tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.” -Mark Twain

“A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.” -Mark Twain

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” -Mark Twain

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” -Mark Twain

“Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.” -Mark Twain

“An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere.” -Mark Twain

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” -Mark Twain

“There’s one way to find out if a man is honest: ask him; if he says yes, you know he’s crooked.” -Mark Twain

“A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.” -Mark Twain

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” -Mark Twain

“Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain’t so.” -Mark Twain

Other Mark Twain Quotes and Advice

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.” -Mark Twain

“Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.” -Mark Twain

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” -Mark Twain

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” -Mark Twain

“The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.” -Mark Twain

“The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” -Mark Twain

“Explaining humor is a lot like dissecting a frog; you learn a lot in the process, but in the end, you kill it.” -Mark Twain

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” -Mark Twain

“When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.” -Mark Twain

“I don’t like to commit myself about heaven and hell – you see, I have friends in both places.” -Mark Twain

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” -Mark Twain

“Necessity is the mother of taking chances.” -Mark Twain

“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.” -Mark Twain

“The lack of money is the root of all evil.” -Mark Twain

“It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all.” -Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s Most Famous Works for Further Reading

If these Mark Twain quotations sparked interest, then be sure to check out some of his most popular works of literature to enjoy a good book.

More Quotes:

About the author
Katee’s passion for writing and fascination for language has forever guided her path in life. Follow Katee on Instagram or read more articles from Katee on Thought Catalog.

Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.

Related