Quotes by George Bernard Shaw

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George Bernard Shaw (July 26, 1856 November 2, 1950) was an Irish playwright and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. more

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We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.

Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.
It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.
A nap, my friend, is a brief period of sleep which overtakes superannuated persons when they endeavor to entertain unwelcome visitors or to listen to scientific lectures.
When Satan makes impure verses, Allah sends a divine tune to cleanse them.
We know now that the soul is the body, and the body the soul. They tell us they are different because they want to persuade us that we can keep our souls if we let them make slaves of our bodies.
I don't want to talk grammar. I want to talk like a lady.
I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one's business on earth, like the male spider, who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in his courtship. I like a state of continual becoming, with a goal in front and not behind.
A man of great common sense and good taste -- meaning thereby a man without originality or moral courage.
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
Leisure may be defined as free activity, labor as compulsory activity. Leisure does what it likes, labor does what it must, the compulsion being that of Nature, which in these latitudes leaves men no choice between labor and starvation.
Whenever you wish to do anything against the law, Cicely, always consult a good solicitor first.
If the announcer can produce the impression that he is a gentlemen, he may pronounce as he pleases.
The joy in life is to be used for a purpose. I want to be used up when I die.
Never waste jealousy on a real man: it is the imaginary man that supplants us all in the long run.
A man's interest in the world is only an overflow from his interest in himself.
As long as I can conceive something better than myself I cannot be easy unless I am striving to bring it into existence or clearing the way for it.
The savage bows down to idols of wood and stone: the civilized man to idols of flesh and blood.
I tell you that as long as I can conceive something better than myself I cannot be easy unless I am striving to bring it into existence or clearing the way for it.
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.
Physically there is nothing to distinguish human society from the farm-yard except that children are more troublesome and costly than chickens and calves and that men and women are not so completely enslaved as farm stock.
Human beings are the only animals of which I am thoroughly and cravenly afraid.
There is nothing that can be changed more completely than human nature when the job is taken in hand early enough.
Go anywhere in England where there are natural, wholesome, contented, and really nice English people; and what do you always find? That the stables are the real center of the household.
We must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy.
A broken heart is a very pleasant complaint for a man in London if he has a comfortable income.
Of all the anti-social vested interests the worst is the vested interest in ill-health.
Give a man health and a course to steer; and he'll never stop to trouble about whether he's happy or not.
A lifetime of happiness? No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth.
The art of government is the organization of idolatry. The bureaucracy consists of functionaries; the aristocracy, of idols; the democracy, of idolaters. The populace cannot understand the bureaucracy: it can only worship the national idols.
The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business.
It's all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date.
Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich, something for nothing.
We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
But a lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it: it would be hell on earth.
Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it.
My father must have had some elementary education for he could read and write and keep accounts inaccurately
Fashions, after all, are only induced epidemics.
When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them. But when they are away, we console ourselves for their absence by dwelling on their vices.
He didn't dare to, because his father had a weak heart and habitually threatened to drop dead if anybody hurt his feelings. You may have noticed that people with weak hearts are the tyrants of English married life.
We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession.
No man can be a pure specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot.
If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience!
Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.
I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.
Between persons of equal income there is no social distinction except the distinction of merit. Money is nothing: character, conduct, and capacity are everything. There would be great people and ordinary people and little people, but the great would always be those who had done great things, and never the idiots whose mothers had spoiled them and whose fathers had left them a hundred thousand a year; and the little would be persons of small minds and mean characters, and not poor persons who had never had a chance. That is why idiots are always in favor of inequality of income (their only chance of eminence), and the really great in favor of equality.
Clever and attractive women do not want to vote; they are willing to let men govern as long as they govern men.
An election is a moral horror, as bad as a battle except for the blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned in it.
Every doctor will allow a colleague to decimate a whole countryside sooner than violate the bond of professional etiquette by giving him away.
The doctor learns that if he gets ahead of the superstitions of his patients he is a ruined man; and the result is that he instinctively takes care not to get ahead of them.
I talk democracy to these men and women. I tell them that they have the vote, and that theirs is the kingdom and the power and the glory. I say to them You are supreme: exercise your power. They say, That's right: tell us what to do; and I tell them. I say Exercise our vote intelligently by voting for me. And they do. That's democracy; and a splendid thing it is too for putting the right men in the right place.
The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier.
No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect.
Man gives every reason for his conduct save one, every excuse for his crimes save one, every plea for his safety save one; and that one is his cowardice.
We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.
The great danger of conversion in all ages has been that when the religion of the high mind is offered to the lower mind, the lower mind, feeling its fascination without understanding it, and being incapable of rising to it, drags it down to its level by degrading it.
She has lost the art of conversation, but not, unfortunately, the power of speech.
I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes the illness worth while.
How can what an Englishman believes be hearsay? It is a contradiction in terms.
The American Constitution, one of the few modern political documents drawn up by men who were forced by the sternest circumstances to think out what they really had to face, instead of chopping logic in a university classroom.