80+ Unforgettable Mark Twain Quotes From His Books About Love & Life

"To some people it is fatal to be recognized by greatness."

mark twain quotes

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, on November 30, 1835, in a town called Florida, Missouri. 

When he was four years old, his family moved to a town called Hannibal, Missouri, a small town on the river that served as the inspiration for the fictional town St. Petersburg in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

But it's his life experiences that gave way to an unending supply of Mark Twain quotes, for every aspect of life

RELATED: 100 Life Quotes From Famous Authors That Prove Everyone Has Bad Days


When Twain turned 18 years old, he began traveling all over the country and joined the International Typography Union. All of this was supposed to lead him to success in his greatest aspiration: to be a steamboat pilot. But in 1953, his brother Henry sustained injuries from an explosion in the boiler room, dying a week later.

After his brother's accident, Twain was filled with guilt and quit piloting all together. He began writing for newspapers before finally getting published. He wrote a few travel pieces, eventually publishing his first novel, "The Guilded Age: A Tale of Today," his only collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner.


Twain's went on to write and publish "The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer," "The Prince and the Pauper," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "Life on the Mississippi," "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court," and many, many more. Before his death in 1910, just one day after Halley's Comet's closest approach to earth, Twain published his own autobiography.

But what Twain said on death might change your perception of him. “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,” he said.

In addition to his words on death and life, Twain also had two famous sayings about truth: "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn't," and, "If you tell the truth then you don’t have to remember anything.” 

Mark Twain was one of America’s greatest novelists, and his humorous wisdom seemed to be limitless. Take a look at some of the most famous inspirational quotes from an author who inspired generations of readers. 


81 Best Mark Twain Quotes About Life, Death, And Everything In Between:

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

Mark Twain Quotes


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

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

4. “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.”

5. “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”

6. "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” 

Mark Twain Quotes


7. “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” 

8. If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”

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

10. “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

11. “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” 

Mark Twain Quotes

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

13. “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.”

14. “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”

15. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that 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.”

16. “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” 

Mark Twain Quotes


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17. "Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored, than anything on which it is poured.” 

18. “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” 

19. “Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”

20. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

21. “Principles have no force except when one is well-fed.” 

22. "Fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” 

23. "Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”

24. “Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.”

25. “Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.” 

26. “If you tell the truth then you don’t have to remember anything.” 

Mark Twain Quotes

27. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” 

28. "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.” 

29. “The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.”

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

31. “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” 

Mark Twain Quotes


32. "Everyone is a moon and has a dark side he which never shows to anybody.” 

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

34. “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”

35. “There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” 

36. “A clear conscience is a sign of a bad memory.” 

Mark Twain Quotes

37. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” 

38. “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” 

39. "If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.”

40. “I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

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

Mark Twain Quotes


RELATED: Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, And Mark Twain All Kept Daily Journals — You Should, Too

42. "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear... not the absence of it.” 

43. “To some people it is fatal to be recognized by greatness.” 

44. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”


45. “Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.”

46. “There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.” 

Mark Twain Quotes

47. “Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.” 

48.“Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.”

49. “It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.”

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

51. “The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up.” 

Mark Twain Quotes


52. “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”

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

54. “Obscurity and a competence — that is the life that is best worth living.”

55. “Worrying is like paying a debt you don't owe.”

56. “Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”

mark twain quotes

57. “The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot.”

58. “Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”

59. “Comparison is the death of joy.”

60. “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”

61. “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

mark twain quotes


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

63. “Good judgment is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgment.”

64. “What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.”

65. “The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow; there is no humor in heaven.”

66. “They did not know it was impossible so they did it.”

mark twain quotes

67. “Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.”

68. “Work like you don't need the money. Dance like no one is watching. And love like you've never been hurt.”

69. “A few fly bites cannot stop a spirited horse.”

70. “Just when I thought I was learning how to live, 'twas then I realized I was learning how to die.”

71. “Humor is tragedy plus time.”

mark twain quotes


72. “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.”

73. “Whoever is happy will make others happy too.”

74. “Some people get an education without going to college. The rest get it after they get out.”

75. “A full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.”

76. “The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation.”

mark twain quotes


77. “Of course, no man is entirely in his right mind at any time.”


78. “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.”


79. "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."


80. "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."


81. “Honesty: The best of all the lost arts.”

mark twain quotes


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Kaitlin Kaiser is a writer who covers quotes, memes, astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.