50+ Legendary Mark Twain Quotes About Life

It should come as no surprise that someone who worked as a riverboat pilot, a miner, a journalist, an entrepreneur, a publisher, and a lecturer would have some remarkable insights on life and how to live it. Mark Twain was all of those things and more, but most of all, he is remembered as perhaps the most famous and influential American writer in history. Below are our favorite Mark Twain quotes about life.

Mark Twain Quotes About Life

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Sometimes called the world’s greatest humorist, Mark Twain’s storytelling and wit not only made him famous around the world, but his writings have had an immeasurable effect on American literature.

If you are looking for inspiration or thought-provoking insights about life, or maybe a student researching a project or assignment or interested in Mark Twain’s philosophy and how it relates to life below are Mark Twain’s most insightful, useful, and humorous quotes about life, love and death.

Mark Twain

Let’s take a look at these Mark Twain quotes on life.

Mark Twain Quotes About Life

Mark Twain Quote about life

1.      It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

2.      If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

3.      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 quote about Truth

4.      Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

5.      Sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails, explore, dream, discover.

6.      When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.

7.      Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

8.      Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

9.      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.

10.  Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.

11.  Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

12.  It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

Mark Twain quote about newspaper

13.  If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.

14.  You can’t reason with your heart; it has its own laws, and thumps about things which the intellect scorns.

15.  The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation.

16.  The trouble is not in dying for a friend, but in finding a friend worth dying for.

17.  Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

18.  Laughter without a tinge of philosophy is but a sneeze of humor. Genuine humor is replete with wisdom.

19.  I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

20.  Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).

21.  Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.

22.  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.

23.  Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.

24.  When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

Mark Twain quote about success

25.  All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, then success is sure.

26.  It is noble to teach oneself, but still nobler to teach others—and less trouble.

27.  To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.

28.  Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.

29.  A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.

Mark Twain Quote about life lesson

30.  The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

31.  Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.

32.  The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

33.  The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Twain quote about life

34.  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.

35.  With courage, you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.

36.  Do the thing you fear most, and the death of fear is certain.

37.  Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

38.  I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.

39.  What is the most rigorous law of our being? Growth.

40.  Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.

41.  A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

42.  A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

43.  Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.

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

45.  Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile.

46.  Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.

47.  Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.

48.  Always obey your parents when they are present.

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

50.  Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.

51.  The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.

52.  It is wiser to find out than suppose.

53.  Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered—either by themselves or by others.

54.  I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.

55.  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.

Twain quote about happiness

56.  The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.

57.  Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.

58.  Let us endeavor so to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

>> Read more of Mark Twains quotes on death with his signature wit and wisdom!

59.  If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

60.  I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.

“Words to live by” is an understatement—these Mark Twain quotes are as relevant today as they were in the 19th and 20th centuries. Although times have changed, the wit and wisdom of the legendary Mark Twain can still be useful in understanding and living life to the fullest in the modern world.

All good things must come to an end, but if you enjoyed these life quotes by Mark Twain, We also have a list of the 66 best funny and inspirational quotes by Mark Twain.

Do you have a favorite Mark Twain quote on life?

More Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain

Good Books On Twain

Mark Twain in Eruption: A good book of assorted writings of Mark Twain, including many observations on his contemporaries and good friends, such as John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Moments With Mark Twain: This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

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About the Author: Alexa Meisler is a travel writer living in Kansas City, Missouri. She specializes in uncovering the hidden gems of Missouri’s big cities and historic towns. Since relocating to Missouri in 2020, she’s shared her adventures and experiences through the Travel in Missouri website, offering a unique perspective on her new home state. Read Alexa’s full bio here.

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