The Best Henry David Thoreau Quotes

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What Are Your Favorite Henry David Thoreau Quotes?

Henry David Thoreau | By Benjamin D. Maxham active 1848 - 1858 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Henry David Thoreau | By Benjamin D. Maxham active 1848 – 1858 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Henry David Thoreau (12 July 1817 – 6 May 1862) was a Harvard graduate and leader of the transcendentalist movement. He was a writer, naturalist, poet, abolitionist, scientist, and historian who wrote on topics such as natural history, philosophy, politics, and environmentalism. Thoreau was a wise man and people will find his words forever inspiring.

Below you’ll find a selection of the best Henry David Thoreau quotes:

  • How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
  • All good things are wild and free.
  • I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
  • Not till we are completely lost or turned around…do we begin to find ourselves.
  • Things do not change; we change.
  • The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
  • The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
  • An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
  • The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
  • Thank God men cannot fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earth
  • Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.
  • The only people who ever get anyplace interesting are the people who get lost.
  • I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…
  • Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
  • Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.
  • When it’s time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.
  • The world is but a canvas to our imagination.
  • What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
  • Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
  • Men have become the tools of their tools.
  • The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
  • Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
  • Live the life you’ve dreamed.
  • It’s a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
  • None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
  • Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
  • The universe is wider than our views of it.
  • Be not simply good – be good for something.
  • In wilderness is the preservation of the world.
  • It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
  • To be awake is to be alive.
  • Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
  • Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
  • Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.
  • The greatest tragedy in life is to spend your whole life fishing only to discover it was never fish that you were after.
  • Simplify your life. Don’t waste the years struggling for things that are unimportant. Don’t burden yourself with possessions. Keep your needs and wants simple and enjoy what you have. Don’t destroy your peace of mind by looking back, worrying about the past. Live in the present. Simplify!
  • I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
  • You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.

Which of these Thoreaud quotes is your favorite? Did we miss any quotes that we should add to the list? Tell us in the comments below.

To read more about Henry David Thoreau, pick up one of many books on Amazon.com. Learn more about Thoreau on Wikipedia.org and Walden.org.

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