Quotes by Eric Hoffer

Share Your Quotes Join Us Inspire & Move Your Friends

How do you feel today?    I feel ...

Eric Hoffer (July 25, 1902 May 21, 1983) was an American social writer. He produced ten books and won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February 1983 from Ronald Reagan. His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, ... more

Add to my favourites Get these quotes on a PDF
Though dissenters seem to question everything in sight, they are actually bundles of dusty answers and never conceived a new question. What offends us most in the literature of dissent is the lack of hesitation and wonder.

The chemistry of dissatisfaction is as the chemistry of some marvelously potent tar. In it are the building stones of explosives, stimulants, poisons, opiates, perfumes and stenches.
Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy -- the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.
It is a sign of a creeping inner death when we no longer can praise the living.
Our credulity is greatest concerning the things we know least about. And since we know least about ourselves, we are ready to believe all that is said about us. Hence the mysterious power of both flattery and calumny.
When cowardice is made respectable, its followers are without number both from among the weak and the strong; it easily becomes a fashion.
What greater reassurance can the weak have than that they are like anyone else?
There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.
Capitalism is at its liberating best in a noncapitalist environment. The crypto-businessman is the true revolutionary in a Communist country.
There is always a chance that he who sets himself up as his brother's keeper will end up by being his jail-keeper.
When we believe ourselves in possession of the only truth, we are likely to be indifferent to common everyday truths.
We are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about.
Animals often strike us as passionate machines.
To grow old is to grow common. Old age equalizes -- we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
Old age equalizes -- we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
Action is at bottom a swinging and flailing of the arms to regain one's balance and keep afloat.
The link between ideas and action is rarely direct. There is almost always an intermediate step in which the idea is overcome. De Tocqueville points out that it is at times when passions start to govern human affairs that ideas are most obviously translated into political action. The translation of ideas into action is usually in the hands of people least likely to follow rational motives. Hence, it is that action is often the nemesis of ideas, and sometimes of the men who formulate them. One of the marks of the truly vigorous society is the ability to dispense with passion as a midwife of action the ability to pass directly from thought to action.
It is a talent of the weak to persuade themselves that they suffer for something when they suffer from something; that they are showing the way when they are running away; that they see the light when they feel the heat; that they are chosen when they are shunned.
The wisdom of others remains dull till it is writ over with our own blood. We are essentially apart from the world; it bursts into our consciousness only when it sinks its teeth and nails into us.
Every new adjustment is a crisis in self-esteem. Hoffer, Eric
The control of our being is not unlike the combination of a safe. One turn of the knob rarely unlocks the safe. Each advance and retreat is a step toward one’s goal.
Youth itself is a talent -- a perishable talent.
It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise. This is as true of men as of dogs.
We can remember minutely and precisely only the things which never really happened to us.
There is probably an element of malice in the readiness to overestimate people; we are laying up for ourselves the pleasure of later cutting them down to size.
There are similarities between absolute power and absolute faith: a demand for absolute obedience, a readiness to attempt the impossible, a bias for simple solutionsto cut the knot rather than unravel it, the viewing of compromise as surrender. Both absolute power and absolute faith are instruments of dehumanization. Hence, absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
It is probably true that business corrupts everything it touches. It corrupts politics, sports, literature, art, labor unions and so on. But business also corrupts and undermines monolithic totalitarianism. Capitalism is at its liberating best in a noncapitalist environment.
Retribution often means that we eventually do to ourselves what we have done unto others.
How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization!
The compulsion to take ourselves seriously is in inverse proportion to our creative capacity. When the creative flow dries up, all we have left is our importance.
The nature of a society is largely determined by the direction in which talent and ambition flowby the tilt of the social landscape.